”This is the story of how a middle-aged spinster lost her mind, deserted her domestic gods in the city, took a furnished house for the summer out of town, and found herself involved in one of those mysterious crimes that keep our newspapers and detective agencies happy and prosperous.” So begins The Circular Staircase, a book which has been hailed as the best novel by the most important American woman mystery writer of our time.
Rachel Innes was relieved when Gertrude and Halsey arrived to keep their dear old aunt company and allow her the courtesy of a decent night’s sleep. Unfortunately, the explosive sound of a revolver shot the next night shattered Rachel’s hopes. And the body at the foot of the circular staircase ensured many sleepless nights to follow.
Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Maybe it just was not what I was expecting, but I found the story tedious and decided not to finish listening. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Lorna Raver's narration and will look for her reading other books.
I loved her voices and characterizations.
This is an alright mystery story, but I could just not get past the portrayal of the black guy, and the language used to describe him. When reading old books I do try to understand that things used to be different, and I guess it didn't raise any eyebrows for the author to call one of her characters "that darky" or whatever, but it was too jarring for me, and I think it's because the narrator made those passages worse. There is also the simpering woman, who did nothing but cry and say "you will hate me". I thought this was a classic, but it annoyed me greatly. Oh well, the story itself is a bit interesting.
Mary Roberts Rinehart is one of the classic mystery witers, along with Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham. this book is one of the ones that made her reputaton. It has all the classic elements: an isolated coutry house, noises in the night, an nkonwn person dead in a locked huse....
Mary Roberts Rinehart is one of my favorite American writers of the light or 'cozy' mystery story, as well as a master of the sardonic style of journal-telling format.
I have read this book a few times; it is somewhat convoluted and maybe not MRR's best.
The Roberts Rinehart heroines deserve MUCH better! A narrator who is as familiar with MRR's style as many of her admirers and readers. Also, one who does not think a middle-aged woman has the vocality of a septua- or even octogenarian.
It should have been; however, I hope it will not be the first try by many readers of MRR's books.
I had been almost angry in the past at Flo Gibson's aging of MRR's middleaged characters- these are strong women, full of wit and sarcasm, daring, and even romance. Yet Flo gave the 80 year-old's quaver to every one of them. In the case of Tish, perhaps, this was acceptable--but not for ALL. Some of these women end up in a romance by story's end with the detective, investigator, etc., of the story--and, incidentally, these same-aged male characters are given a sound normal to a middle aged man. Therefore, I was pleased to see a new name for narration when I found MRR's offerings on Audible.com. Alas, this narrator apparently learned at the knee of Flo!
The storyline is good, but the author is incredibly racist. Sign of the times it was written. As an African American I found her comments about blacks to be intolerable. Also, I hated the protagonist - what a witch!
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