Matilda Benson is an elderly cigar-smoking widow who has kicked over the traces somewhat late in life and decided to march to the beat of her own drummer. She appears in Perry Mason's office and asks Mason to get possession of some I.O.U.s that her granddaughter has foolishly given the owners of a gambling ship that sails just beyond the twelve-mile limit where law enforcement can't reach them.
The task seems simple enough, but as everyone who reads this series understands, complications are bound to ensue. Sure enough, Perry's initial attempt to get the notes, while very clever, goes astray. Soon after that, someone is shot to death and Perry's client is the prime suspect. Even worse, Perry winds up a fugitive from justice himself as he attempts to untangle what would appear to be an impossible locked room mystery. Perry's ability to pull yet another rabbit out of the hat will be sorely tested as he encounters one problem after another.
All in all, it's a lot of fun and this is one of the better of the early entries in this series.