Perry Mason (1957–1966)
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The Case of the Wayward Wife 

While walking down the street, Korean war veteran Arthur Poe is shocked to see a book about the war displayed written by Ben Sutton who was with him in the war. The book is a bestseller but is actually based on a diary Poe kept in the war.


Walter Grauman


Erle Stanley Gardner (characters created by), William O'Farrell

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason
Barbara Hale ... Della Street
William Hopper ... Paul Drake
William Talman ... Hamilton Burger
Ray Collins ... Police Lt. Arthur Tragg
Marshall Thompson ... Arthur Poe
Bethel Leslie ... Sylvia Sutton
Frank Maxwell ... Harry Scott Wilson
Madlyn Rhue ... Marian Ames
Alexander Davion ... Gilbert Ames (as Alex Davion)
Richard Shannon Richard Shannon ... Ben Sutton
I. Stanford Jolley ... Alan Kirby
Kenneth MacDonald ... Judge (as Kenneth R. MacDonald)
Kathleen Mulqueen Kathleen Mulqueen ... Miss Croft
Lawrence Green Lawrence Green ... Autopsy Surgeon (as Law Green)


Arthur Poe, Ben Sutton and Harry Wilson were comrades in a North Korean prison camp in the Korean War. Poe, Sutton and Wilson escaped, thinking Poe was killed during the escape, but he survived and spent several years in POW camps. Returning home, Poe finds that Sutton had stolen his war diary and published it as a best seller. Poe presses Sutton for money, but the writer is broke from paying blackmail. Gilbert Ames or his wife Marian ran over Alan Kirby's wife, leaving her permanently paralyzed. The Ameses have paid thousands of dollars to the Kirbys, mostly extorted from Ben Sutton. Sylvia Sutton, Ben's wife, contacts Perry Mason about dealing with blackmail. Marian tells Sylvia that Gilbert has killed Ben with a fireplace poker, at which Sylvia runs home and finds her husband dead, and the room a shambles. She dashes out of the house, runs into Poe and flees. Sylvia is arrested later and calls on Perry to defend her. Written by richardann

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

23 January 1960 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The plot centers around a diary written by one of three men who escaped from a North Korean prison camp. In fact, no American POWs successfully escaped captivity in the Korean War. See more »


An exterior shot in front of the Sutton house is supposed to be at ten o'clock in the evening, but it is full daylight outside. See more »


[first lines]
Clerk - Bookstore: Help you, sir? Oh, 'Ordeal.' It's phenomenal, isn't it?
Arthur Poe: Phenomenal?
Arthur Poe: Yes. Staying number one on the bestseller list for so long now. I understand they've sold it for pictures, and they're going to adapt it for a play. It's a story about three American prisoners in a Korean prison camp.
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User Reviews

Three Vets from Korea
23 May 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Marshall Thompson, Frank Maxwell, and Richard Sutton were three veterans from the Korean War who were POWs and escaped with Marshall Thompson supposedly killed. Sutton wrote a book about the experience and has been living pretty good with Broadway play and movie deal in place. So imagine his chagrin in finding Marshall Thompson still alive and claiming Sutton's book was based on his diaries.

The plot gets a bit too complex because it turns out that Maxwell has been blackmailing Sutton and Sutton has been blackmailing others for a totally unrelated incident. It all falls on his widow Bethel Lesilie who is arrested for her husband's murder and gets Perry Mason to defend her.

Perry is once again defending an innocent client, but the paradigm shifts as the killer is discovered in an unusual venue and will face a different kind of justice. Check this one out even if the plot gets a bit hard to follow.

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