Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Skeleton's Closet 

Margaret Layton is deeply worried that ex-husband and author Richard Harris will publish a trashy novel because of its affect on their daughters. When she visits him, she is overheard threatening to kill him and fires a gun in his desk.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Wesley Lau ...
Dave Weaver
Margaret Layton
Harry Collins
Richard Harris
Albert McCann
Jack Tabor
Grace Kingman
John Heath ...
George Layton
Second Reporter


Author Richard Harris has created something of a firestorm with his tell-all book about life in a Los Angeles suburb. Billed as an entirely true story, he has told the world about affairs, drunkenness and the residents other peccadilloes. Perry Mason has been hired by a group of those affected to either stop publication of the book or have the publisher change the marketing campaign but Harris for one won't hear of it even after the publisher settles with Perry. Particularly concerned is Margaret Layton who was once married to Harris who is the father of her children. She's afraid they will learn of their past and pleads with Perry to do something about it. She visits Harris at his home to plead with him. She is overheard by Harry Collins threatening to kill Harris. When she sees a gun in the desk drawer, she grabs it and pulls the trigger shooting in to the desk. When Harris is found shot dead however, Margaret is charged with murder. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

2 May 1963 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The judge in this episode had no speaking lines, meaning there was not one objection lodged by either attorney during the courtroom scenes. See more »

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User Reviews

Since no one is sadden by the murder- many suspects in this show
5 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode is properly titled since nearly everyone in the small community of Cliffside has some sort of skeleton in their closet they want hidden from the public eye.

Harry Collins is the writer of a book that is a tell-all of people in Cliffside. Some of the big wigs hire Perry Mason to force the publisher to change the concept of the book from true stories to fiction. This change is much to the dislike of Harry Collins. Mr Collins is so upset that he claims to have another manuscript that tells all and names people that he will publish himself.

Margaret Layton, who use to be married to Harry Collins, hears about the book. She has interest in the book since her two children's father was Harry Collins. She had their named changed and did not want them to know that they came from such a wicked man. Ms Layton goes over to see Harry and tries to pay him for not publishing the book. When Harry refuses Ms Layton pulls a gun out of a drawer and points at Harry. Harry grabs her wrist and the gun fires into a desk. Ms Layton then flees the house.

Later Harry Collins is found shot and the manuscript missing. All evidence point toward Ms Layton and Perry will defend her in court on charges of murder.

Since many people did not want to see the book published, there are many suspects to choose from in this story. Not too many people are sadden by Harry's death. But the missing manuscript may prove to be the key into getting Perry's client released of the charges.

Good script, good acting makes for a nice episode.

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