Naïve secretary Susan Fisher, working overtime, tries to help her boss' employer who comes to town to check the books but digs herself deeper into trouble. She is charged with murder when another company employee is found dead.
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Susan Fisher is working alone, on a Saturday, when her employer's little boy, Carlton, leaves a shoe box with her. Susan looks inside and finds $200,000 in $100 bills. She puts the box in the company safe but soon after gets a call from Los Angeles airport from the company owner, the elderly and wheelchair bound Amelia Corning, who Susan picks up at the airport and returns to the office. The old woman is particularly interested in checking the books, which she takes with her, for the the Mojave Monarch mine. Susan contacts her boss, Endicott Campbell, to tell him about the owner's unexpected arrival and also about his son's shoe box full of money. Susan contacts Perry Mason who asks Paul Drake to look into the Mojave Monarch mine. He learns, from site manager Ken Lowry, that the mine has been closed for some time even though he was ordered to send in salary sheets. A second Amelia Corning arrives the next day further confusing things when she disappears along with the first Amelia ... Written by
The second half of Season 5 has some real gems and "The Case of the Mystified Miner" is certainly one of them. This episode is based on the Gardner novel "The Case of the Spurious Spinster." The only misleading thing about that title is the implication that there is only one spinster.
"Mystified Miner" centers on Susan Fisher, a secretary for the Corning Company - owned by Amelia Corning. She works directly for Mr. Campbell, whose job is not particularly well described. Nonetheless, Campbell's son runs into the office on a Saturday and hands a shoe box to Susan (he says it's treasure that he needs to hide from the pirates, how cute). She discovers that it's filled with genuine treasure indeed - $200 thousand dollars! Before she can notify Mr Campbell, Mrs. Corning calls and tells Susan she's just arrived from South America and to pick her up at the airport right away. This sets off a chain of events that cause Susan Fisher to look awfully bad. Fisher (played by Kathie Browne, who was in 4 episodes of Perry Mason and 3 episodes of Ironside) does a good job playing the trusting but naive good girl. Every time she does something stupid, it's only a little annoying to watch.
The basic idea is that somebody is embezzling from the company, and the murder that takes place is undoubtedly tied into the embezzlement. Simple enough, but the relationships between the characters are unclear which can make the story rather confusing. On the other hand, the episode has excellent pace. From the moment the kid runs into the office with his "treasure," something interesting is always happening and it isn't until the very end that it actually makes sense. Like a lot of Perry Mason epilogues, there's a lot of explaining to do.
Della mentions her age to a mechanic (I can't tell if it's supposed to be a joke or not) and Tragg has a funny scene in Mason's office. There's also a clever tactic employed by Mason to tamper with evidence in a circuitous manner, which winds up being completely irrelevant. Overall, there are a lot of good reasons to watch this one.
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