Reviews for Trials & Tribulations The Appellate Years
allysonbirch chapter 2 . 2/16/2013
I came to this in a rather haphazard manner so I hope I am in enough possession of the sequence of parts to make sensical comments.

To explain, earlier I was basically clicking and sampling the site, having only a bit of time on my hands. I landed on a chapter of "Quid Pro Quo." I made a mental note to go back to the author who wrote it as I liked very much the writing I had happened upon. Now, having a bit more time to go back to that author, I clicked on your name and saw the list of your "Perry Mason" stories. At that point, I decided that I should not go first to chapter one of "OPQ" but rather to "Trials and Tribulations." I am glad I did.

May I say my first impression has been validated by my second look, this time more than a peek, at your work. You understand the evocative importance of detail whether you're describing characters or settings. Wonderful! These details give credence to everything and shape and mold mood as well.

The characters you have created in Valentina and the others of the Court are intriguing, and I look forward to learning more about them and their relationship with our Justice Mason. ( That reminds me. I could be really off here so ignore me if I am. I recall having taken a class in which my professor referred to the lead justice of our district California Appellate Court as the "Presiding Justice," as in "Presiding Justice Burrows." Could be he was wrong or could be I simply misunderstood proper usage, but for that reason I wasn't aware that we called them "Chief Justices" as we do the head of a Supreme Court.)

You've done a marvelous job conveying Perry's misery, his emptiness, and it seems he will not be able to resist the siren's call because of that emptiness. In the same way, Valentina, at least so far, is a sympathetic character as well. I'm interested in finding out if I will continue to like or wind up hating her. I'm thinking you find her a sympathetic character and that you won't want the audience to dislike her, but I'll keep reading to find out.

Now, having been effusive in my praise, I do have to tell you that I have not as yet (and likely never will) find a premise that I actually "buy" that explains the eight years apart, especially if that separation involves behavior I don't think is in character for our Mr. Mason and Miss Street. I realize that fan fiction writers see the separation as an invitation to write something, anything that tries to supply some sense, some order to the situation, but frankly, I don't think anything short of Mason being either very old or non-ambulatory would have led him to the bench, and I believe even less that Mason and Della would have separated as a team as long as both could work at all and that they'd let allow hundreds of miles of distance between themselves. "But," you and others might say, "He DID go to the bench, and she and he DID separate, so it must be explained."

Yes and yes. He did and they did. Therefore, if one wishes to, if one feels the need to explain instead of ignoring the silly plot line the movie makers constructed, then it seems to me the only believable way(s) of handling it is the most undramatic way(s) and, of course, those are ways writers don't like. Perry and Della were not dramatic people. They were reasoned, logical people. Yes, we can assume they had their share of conflict in their lives because all people do, but every story I've read of their separation assumes the separation must have been the effect or the cause of some tumultuous conflict, but every story's premise in so doing turns Perry and Della into people I don't recognize.

You are, from what I have read so far, an excellent storyteller with fluent writing skills, yet your premise is that Perry Mason, wanting to spare Della the pain of his being ripped away from her as Paul was from them, doesn't share with Della Street the reason he accepts the appointment to the bench nor does it appear he has even discussed it with her. (I presume the doctor has told him he must slow down or else he is likely to die as Paul has.)

To me the premise fails in two ways: 1) while trying to protect her from his literal death by leaving her, he doesn't protect her (or himself)) from an emotional death by leaving, and Perry Mason is smart enough to know they are the same; 2) I don't buy that Paul Drake's death would have affected the Perry-Della dynamic. I never got the impression that any intimate relationship between him and her or professional relationship between him and her was dependent upon Paul Drake. That is, in watching the series, reading some books, as much as Paul was an attractive figure, a swell guy, I never saw them as the Three Muskateers. They weren't in business together. Paul didn't live in their office 8-16 hours a day. He had his own practice, his own life. To me, it's rather incestuous or overly dramatic or both to think that Paul Drake's death would have affected them in that way. The only death I can think of that, in reality, might affect a couple that way to the point that it drives a wedge between them, separates them either physically, emotionally, or both... is the death of a child, as statistics point out.

Now that I have ranted on and on, let me say that just because I don't buy your premise-that Paul's death drove a wedge between Perry and Della, that Perry was so pained and tired that he grew testy with her, that she chose to go chasing mysteries and trying to involve Perry in order to run away from the pain of Paul's death-doesn't mean that I haven't been, that I can't be further drawn into your story. I just have to tuck away the "that's why they're separated" explanation, forget about it, and enjoy the rest of the story. I felt I had to tell you I have problems with the explanation although you have indeed been very inventive with the explanation. The Perry and Della I know wouldn't have behaved this way. Perry's emotionalism in his hurried and private decision is not the behavior of an adult, even an adult in some pain.

However, since there IS a phase in their lives where one lives in LA, the other in SF as a judge, they are there, and you have done a marvelous job creating an inviting story.

One day, I'd like a good writer such as you to attempt a story in which Della and Perry reach a reasoned, unhistrionic, adult decision to close the law practice, no drama about it necessary. After all, if we use the ages of the actors, Mason would have been about 61 or so when he became a judge. That's a reasonable age for people to retire or to make a change.

Enough of that. Sorry for the detour about the plot premise. I accept that one can still enjoy a story, as long as it's interesting and well-written in other ways, without buying what leads to the other threads of the plot.

Again, I compliment you on your story-telling. Let me repeat that I love the details -the description of Valentina's painting paraphernalia, the signature of the crossed keys on her paintings are such examples although, I must say, that I remember reading a long piece of Perry fiction years ago in which the author wrote a chapter devoted to the "believe in circles" theme with Perry the believer in circles. I liked it so much I remember it well.

I look forward to more.
murphycat chapter 2 . 1/16/2013
OH, no! YOU need another chapter! I need another chapter.
likes-it-bubbly chapter 2 . 11/13/2011
Oh dear, these two chapters break my heart. I just hate to see them apart, still or again, whatever. I cannot stand seeing them apart, there's so much hurt and I wish I could say I hate this story but in spite of all the pain and the sorrow I don't. :) Call me a hopeless romantic but I never give up on a happy end, and even if it only includes the events of "PM Returns" and Della's beautiful "It's good to see you again." Great build-up, you are really torturing me with this. :) And I hope you'll keep updating so I can suffer some more. ;)
EastEnder chapter 2 . 11/12/2011
Perry's 'will he wont he' and Della's 'does she doesn't she' - what a lot to speculate on, my mind is in a whirl. Interesting set of legal characters and wonderful descriptions. Best line - "you've only called me Della 30 times today". Hope there's more! EE
GraceBe chapter 1 . 11/9/2011
I usually don't read other stories while writing my own, bc I have a tendency to get distracted, but when I saw you posted something new, I couldn't resist. Good start so far! I would like to see more of it!
EastEnder chapter 1 . 11/8/2011
That was a great start. One can feel Perry's grief at the death of his friend and frustration with his job. I love your descriptive work. I have never been to San Fransico but I can see the views across the bay in my head. Cant wait for the next chapter.