Rachel Innes rents a summer house that is full of hidden rooms and sinister happenings. Chilling horror, romance, and rollicking humor permeate this suspenseful mystery novel.
“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.
This mystery is part of the famous "Had-I-But-Known School" of mysteries founded by Mary Roberts Rinehart with the 1908 publication of her first work, The Circular Staircase. The story deals with civic corruption, a popular theme of early American mysteries. Stories like this anticipate the hard-boiled school to come. So does Rinehart's realistic style, which does not gloss over life's problems.
"Story was good - the narrator was terrible!"
Rinehart's The Man in Lower Ten, the first American detective novel to make the best seller list, follows the investigation of the murder of a man in a sleeping car on a train. In this fast-paced thriller, the investigating detective builds up a network of clues that absolutely incriminate three entirely different people---only one of whom can be guilty.
New York socialite Kit McNair decides to host an impromptu dinner party at the home of her friend, Jimmy Wilson, to cheer him up following his divorce. What could possibly go wrong?
"Thanks be for public domain & excellent narrator!"
Hilda Adams' life as a nurse has become a bit dull. As she approaches 30, she sees long, monotonous years of trained obedience to orders ahead of her. But a rascally patient, a police detective, sees in her the intelligence and discretion of a born criminal investigator. People confide in a private nurse; she could unearth clues that can crack a case. Her first case is the disappearance of Clare March, a wealthy debutante who has been missing without a trace for a month.
Lawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. Along the way he encounters romance, treachery, a murder in which he is implicated and, finally, a train wreck.
"Worth the price"
The intrepid private nurse/investigator is charged with the care of two young boys in a home full of conundrums. Both parents are fearful but refuse to leave their home and won't say why. The rugs have been rolled up and the furniture piled into the middle of each room. Their anxiety is catching, as Miss Adams too furtively watches for danger as she searches for clues. Why, she wonders, do they lock every door in the house? And who or what is the menace that terrifies them?
For years, the five families on exclusive Crescent Place lived in peaceful seclusion. But that changed when old Mrs. Lancaster was found brutally murdered with an ax. Suddenly, motives and suspects are developing at a rapid pace, and when the killer strikes again - and again - Louisa Hall knows it's up to her to discover the clues that will develop a picture of murder.
"A great production of a wonderful mystery!"
A beautiful girl seeks the help of an attorney when her father vanishes. Soon, her aunt also disappears from a locked house in the dead of the night. The search leads to the infamous White Cat, a nightclub frequented by crooked politicians and now, murder.
"Good story, bad narration"
Sarah Gittings, Elizabeth Bell's family nurse, has just been brutally murdered. But all thoughts of a homicidal maniac running amok are banished when the evidence reveals that Sarah actually knew and trusted her murderer. Now, Elizabeth Bell is about to discover that her staid and orderly household harbors more than one suspect with a motive - and unfortunately, more than one victim.
Love was the furthest thing from Patricia Abbott's mind when she met Tony Wainwright. Though he was heir to the Wainwright fortune and the magnificent family mansion known as the Cloisters, the rumors of his private revels hinted at a dark and sinister decadence. And there was something else - a woman Tony never spoke about, hidden away in the shadows... a woman who was his wife. But it was already too late. As Tony drew her into a dangerous liaison, Patricia became enmeshed in an inescapable web of lies, secrets, and cold-blooded murder.
Dazzling and devious Juliette was anything but popular with the upper class set she'd married in to. Her husband, Arthur, bought her off with a ruinously expensive divorce. But a few years later, Juliette turned up again - and days later she was dead. Almost everyone in the exclusive town had a motive for wanting Juliette dead. Now, it's up to skeptical Sheriff Russell Shand to pierce the wall of aristocratic silence, and find the ruthless killer.
"Could not finish"
Miss Cornelia Van Gorder has left her New York City home for a vacation in an isolated country mansion with her beautiful young niece, neurotic maid, pompous butler and a mysterious but genteel young man, only to find herself the victim of a elusive master criminal, the Bat.
"Good radio drama"
The Circular Staircase has been hailed as the best novel by the most important American woman mystery writer. Rachel Innes is relieved when Gertrude and Halsey arrive 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 shatters Rachel's hopes. And the body at the foot of the circular staircase insures many sleepless nights to follow.
"Narration is Awful"
The blood-stained rope and towel, the stray slipper, the broken knife - and the disappearance of the lovely Jennie Brice - were enough to convince Mrs. Pittman that murder had been committed in her boarding house. The police, however, were another matter. Without a tangible body, there could be no official murder charge.
As far as Carol Spencer is concerned, the war has spoiled everything. She and Don had been engaged for years and were on the verge of marriage when he was shot down in the South Pacific, leaving Carol on the verge of spinsterhood at 24. She wants to take some kind of job in the war effort, but her invalid mother demands that Carol accompany her to the family’s summer home in Maine. But when they arrive at the faded mansion, they find it completely locked up. The servants are gone, the lights are dark - and there is a body in the closet.
"If you knew Mary like I know Mary"
Just as Lois Maynard is about to sell the family's summer home, her domineering and troubled older sister, Judith, returns and a mysterious murder disrupts the household.
"A cast of unusually appealing characters"
Driven by a sense of duty and fear of monotony, Sara Lee leaves her comfortable life and fiance in Philadelphia to serve the Red Cross in Belgium during WWI. The spirited heroine finds a niche for herself helping the wounded soldiers. She meets a mysterious gentleman and falls into a haunting romance.
William Porter has just inherited Twin Hollows, an isolated lakeside estate shrouded in mystery and doom. But William and his wife aren't easily swayed by ghost stories and whispered rumors. Until a shadowy apparition beckons to them from the undying glow of a red lamp. Is a stranger with a deadly purpose trying to frighten them away? Or are they being haunted by a chilling warning from the grave?
"Classic murder mystery novel about Spiritualism"