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The Yellow Room

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  379 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
When a charred corpse is discovered in the linen closet of her family's Maine retreat, a woman must do some fast sleuthing of her own--before a dangerous killer burns, her, too!
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 1st 1996 by Kensington (first published 1945)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 676)
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Richard Derus
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: Poor Carol Spencer. She has a tiresome semi-invalid mama, a married older sister in love with her own comfort, a war hero brother who, despite being 10 years her elder acts like a schoolboy, and a dead body. Of her brother's previous unknown trollop. Oh, also wife. Plus she's a mother. (Not Carol, the dead trollop/wife.)

Who killed the trollop...errr, lady? Why? And importantly, why in the Spencer family summer home when no Spencers were there? Why did the kil
Nov 30, 2015 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is truly vintage. The location is in Maine during the latter years of WWII.

Nearly every man in the story is soldier, air squadron pilot, or some aspect of the service. Few phones, few surpluses of anything but trouble and suspense. Lots going on in this house, and especially re the Yellow Room. And don't go in the linen closet!

At one of the most dramatic moments of life and death action, I actually laughed out loud. Because our hero, Dane, was said to swear and use words that Carol had
Ryan G
Aug 21, 2012 Ryan G rated it liked it
So this makes my eighth Mary Roberts Rinehart review for the year, with two more books finished and waiting their turn. Add in the eight from last year, and this will be the sixteenth review. So that makes eighteen of her books I've read in a very short period of time. This is the first time I've stopped to think about how many of her books I've read. I guess the obvious point is that I really like her writing.

Nothing changes with The Yellow Room, actually I think my fondness for her has only gr
Book Concierge
Carol Spencer has just arrived at the family’s summer estate with two servants in tow. They are to open the house for the arrival of Carol’s brother Greg, a war hero who is on leave to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Of course rationing means that gasoline, sugar, electricity and phones are all in short supply, but their mother insists Greg would want to spend time at the Maine retreat. But before they can unpack they make a gristly discovery – the charred corpse of a young woman is fo ...more
Mar 16, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it
I read this book, along with everything else by Rinehart I could get my hands on, several times in the 70s. As I was selecting books to get rid of, I pulled the yellowed paperback off the shelf and decided to read it again. Now I know why it survived years of purges. Her plots are fairly complex, and the writing moves along, making for a quick read. There's no gratuitous sex or violence (well, yes, there's murder, but it takes place offstage). This book was written in 1945, and it still holds up ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Rivka rated it it was amazing
The Circular Staircase was the first of Ms. Rinehart's books that I read and I liked it enough to run out and pick up a second. I'm so glad I happened on this one next! I finished it in one evening, hair standing on end, nails bitten clean off and with every light in my bedroom on! I ordered it online the next day.

I am such a sucker for a good clean suspenseful murder mystery. I've just discovered Ms. Rinehart's books (mentioned in Amory Blaine's reading list)and though no one will ever write m
Mary Roberts Rinehart does it again in The Yellow Room. Billed on my edition as a more Gothic, Had-I-But-Known story, it's really more of a twisty-turny mystery (and she delivers on the twisty-turny solution!). Shoot, if you read the blurb on the book I have here beside me, you'd think that some evil terror hangs out in the Yellow Room of Carol Spencer's family home in the country and that she goes in mortal fear of her elder brother.


As a child, Carol Spencer had always thought of Crestview
Oct 11, 2015 Judith rated it liked it

I found this book dated, and the plot confusing. By the time I finished it, I didn't really care who did it.
Libbie Counselman
Feb 19, 2016 Libbie Counselman rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I rated this book highly because I was looking for escape, and this and another Rinehart's mystery filled that void for me. It's a bit dated, about a well-to-do family with a summer house in Maine, and that's where the mystery takes place. But if you're looking for escape, it's a good one.
Jul 08, 2014 pearl_seeker rated it it was ok
An extremely convoluted plot. Everybody spends the entire book lying (usually by omission, occasionally by commission) which makes it difficult to ascertain the truth (and, thus, the plot).

Writing wasn't bad, it's fairly interesting in its descriptions, but the characters are SO incredibly annoying! And shallow. More like caricatures than characters: the bossy, domineering, PITA mother with the 'bad heart'; the 'golden girl' sister so beautiful she can marry a gazillionaire - and who is as vapid
Feb 14, 2014 Marj rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery, classic
This is the first mystery I've read by Mary Roberts Rinehart, but I will be looking for more. This was published in 1945, and takes place during WWII. The main character, Carol Spencer, is asked by her mother to open their summer house in Maine, when her maid discovers the charred remains of a woman in the upstairs linen closet. A former federal agent, Greg, is staying nearby while recuperating from injuries suffered in the war, and involves himself in solving the crime, with a lot of help from ...more
I often believe that the older mysteries romanticize life but this book from 1945 certainly changed my view. Set during WWII, main character Carol Spencer's fiance is missing, presumed dead (though his father refuses to acknowledge that and continually traps Carol for long talks about his son), her alcoholic brother is a decorated hero but at war, her self-involved sister is no help with their invalid mother, and now said-mother wants to open up their summer home without even half of their norma ...more
May 26, 2013 Katherine rated it really liked it
This was a good murder mystery. 4.5 stars.
Jun 15, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
WWII is winding own and Carol Spencer heads to Maine to open the family's summer home in hopes that her brother, Greg, home on furlough after a heroic campaign, might want to visit there.
Carol is almost immediately wrapped in a mystery involving a secret visitor to the house, mysterious accident to the housekeeper, and the yellow room in the old summer home. Jerry Dane, a soldier on medical leave staying in the area helps Carol out.
The usual kind of May Roberts Rinehart mystery and I love them
Aug 21, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
Having never read any MRR before I was pleasantly surprised to find I really enjoyed this. Quite a convoluted mystery, I had trouble following the characters and who did what (especially at the ending) but I kept reading and all was explained. I am not familiar with the thought processes of the war-time years nor of being very wealthy but I was able to understand their motivations if you will as I read through the book. Never did figure out exactly what Captain Dane does or did, wondering if the ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
The Yellow Room was another fun, quick read by Rinehart. The story begins with Carol Spencer going to her family's summer home to get it ready for the family when she finds a body in the linen closet. No one knows who this mystery woman is or why anyone would want to do her harm. The Yellow Room was full of many twists and turns making it hard to guess who the murderer really was. There were a lot of colorful characters, but the one that interested me the most was Dane. Dane is a wounded officer ...more
Sep 22, 2013 Marci rated it liked it
The Yellow Room is set mostly in Maine in the last year of World War II. The war does not enter in to the mystery except that it has brought about a change in society that makes it hard to know a man's background and reliability--which gives the author a chance to throw in more red herrings. The protagonists include a young lady from a formerly wealthy family who has a horrible mother, a not-much-better elder sister, and a brother who has just won the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions in ...more
Marla Knaack
May 01, 2015 Marla Knaack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A murder mystery as twisty as any Agatha Christie. I was gasping and saying "Oh, no!" throughout. To start in a pretty small town, with everything completely laid out, until you get your first surprise, and then one after the other. I can't wait to read it again.
Jan 18, 2014 Kay rated it liked it
Written in 1945, the lead character that I though would be a plucky amateur sleuth takes to her bed (or the chaise) a lot and leaves the mystery solving to a man who really just happens to be in the area. He has some vague military experience that is helpful and a network of people to do his legwork and the police just let him. The murderer is eventually revealed after a lot of complicated explanations about who did what and when and why. Not a very satisfying read.
Kettle Macaulay
Meh. Other than the kow-towing to 50's patriarchy, this book was okay as a mystery-suspense novel until the end which was complex-icated, and didn't provide a pay off that surpassed the reader's expectations.
May 24, 2015 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Intricate, complex, great likable characters. A bit old fashioned, written in 1945 after all, but a terrific story. Perhaps a bit too complicated a few times but always reexplained again for the reader.
Feb 03, 2011 Karyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a disappointing book. I haven't read Mary Roberts Rinehart before, and so I have nothing with which to compare it. The description on the back cover of this Penguin edition suggests that she was one of the most popular mystery writers of her day, having taken up writing when her husband's finances were affected by the stock market crash of 1903. But having read 253 pages, I couldn't find a single line which I felt to be worth quoting. And I read the last chapter of the book without inte ...more
Here's something that I picked up for a quarter at a local antique store, on a random whim, some time ago. I wish I'd been aware at the time that it was, apparently, the worst thing that Rinehart ever wrote! Or at least close. It's not a good motivator to further pursue her work, anyway. At any rate, it's rarely a good sign when I'm reading a mystery novel and everyone is just so damned insufferable that I wish they'd all get killed, or at least put into a coma, or something that would keep them ...more
Carole Moran
May 06, 2013 Carole Moran rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Much better than I thought it would be. I tend to read mostly historical fiction, but this mystery which takes place during WW2 is definitely a good read. REcommended by a friend, I found this book to be a real page-turner. The story stayed with me and I didn't want to put it down. A weak spot was the "romance" between the main characters, which I found to be lacklustre and indifferent. The author relegates any since of burgeoning attraction between the main characters strictly to the immaginati ...more
Bill Pruitt
May 17, 2015 Bill Pruitt rated it it was amazing
Rivals Christie in plotting and construction. Probably exceeds Christie in character development. I was hooked from the beginning.
Apr 08, 2015 Brett rated it it was amazing
Exactly the kind of escapist entertainment I needed on a rainy spring afternoon.
read some time in 1986
Susana Samborsky
Feb 07, 2016 Susana Samborsky marked it as to-read
I know her books are great,
Jon Wilson
Apr 23, 2011 Jon Wilson rated it it was ok
Rinehart is something like comfort food for me, but this was perhaps my least favorite of her novels. She is well-known as the queen of "If only I had known then..." mysteries, and this one played that card again and again. So many times the action was prolonged because people refused to tell one another what they knew for the most incomprehensible reasons. Ugh. It was quite a slog to actually reach the end.
Mar 23, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Kind of a not-so-good Agatha Christie novel.
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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
More about Mary Roberts Rinehart...

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