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Mary Roberts Rinehart

Full Name: Mary Roberts Rinehart
Gender: Female
Hometown: Pittsburgh
Born: 1876-08-12
Died: 1958-09-22
Number of Works: 113
Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) was a prolific author often called the American Agatha Christie. She is considered the source of the phrase "The butler did it", although she did not actually use the phrase herself, and also considered to have invented the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing.

Rinehart wrote hundreds of short stories, poems, travelogues and special articles. Many of her books and plays were adapted for movies, such as The Bat (1926), The Bat Whispers (1930), and The Bat (1959). While many of her books were best-sellers, critics were most appreciative of her murder mysteries.

Rinehart, in The Circular Staircase (1908), is credited with inventing the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing. The Circular Staircase is a novel in which "a middle-aged spinster is persuaded by her niece and nephew to rent a country house for the summer. The house they choose belonged to a bank defaulter who had hidden stolen securities in the walls. The gentle, peace-loving trio is plunged into a series of crimes solved with the help of the aunt. This novel is credited with being the first in the "Had-I-But-Known" school." The Had-I-But-Known mystery novel is one where the principal character (frequently female) does less than sensible things in connection with a crime which have the effect of prolonging the action of the novel. Ogden Nash parodied the school in his poem Don't Guess Let Me Tell You: "Sometimes the Had I But Known then what I know now I could have saved at least three lives by revealing to the Inspector the conversation I heard through that fortuitous hole in the floor."

The phrase "The butler did it", which has become a cliché, came from Rinehart's novel The Door, in which the butler actually did do it, although that exact phrase does not actually appear in the work. Tim Kelly adapted Rinehart's play into a musical "The Butler Did It, Singing." This play includes five lead female roles and five lead male roles.



ISBN: 0809593475, 9780809593477
Keywords: staircase, circular
Pages: 208
Published: 1908
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 0758204647, 9780758204646
Keywords: room, yellow
Pages: 352
Published: 1945
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 1594565023, 9781594565021
Keywords: bat
Pages: 286
Published: 1920
  • Rating: 80%

Someone--or something--is trying to frighten Cornelia Van Gorder to death. But the plucky patrician doesn't scare easily. In fact, she's always longed to play detective. Until she stumbles on a corpse one storm-swept night, and realizes she's involved in a deadly game with an elusive killer known as The Bat.
ISBN: 0758202695, 9780758202697
Keywords: lower, man
Pages: 256
Published: 1906
  • Rating: 80%

Lawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. His ride will be eventful. Along the way he'll encounter romance, treachery, a train wreck, even a murder in which he'll be implicated. Who's after Blakely and his papers -- why? The first detective novel to appear on national bestseller lists, THE MAN IN LOWER TEN is still a great read almost ninety years after its publication. It has all the thrills of a contemporary whodunit and a satiric edge that gently mocks the conventions of male detective fiction.
ISBN: 1575662558, 9781575662558
Keywords: pinkerton, miss
Pages: 272
Published: 1932
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 1582876533, 9781582876535
Keywords: brice, jennie, case
Pages: Unknown
Published: 1907
  • Rating: 60%
ISBN: 0821728210, 9780821728215
Keywords: house
Pages: Unknown
Published: 1914
  • Rating: 60%
ISBN: 1575663899, 9781575663890
Keywords: cat, window
Pages: 256
Published: 1961
  • Rating: 60%
ISBN: 0758205376, 9780758205377
Keywords: pool, swimming
Pages: 336
Published: 1952
  • Rating: 80%
ISBN: 1592243568, 9781592243563
Keywords: interlude, amazing
Pages: 232
Published: 1918
  • Rating: 80%