The Yellow Room
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The Yellow Room

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  241 ratings  ·  28 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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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Diana Ruddick
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
Ryan G
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...more
Rivka
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...more
Bev Hankins
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.

See?:

As a child, Carol Spencer had always thought of Crestview...more
pearl_seeker
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...more
Marj
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
Katherine
This was a good murder mystery. 4.5 stars.
Susan
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
Marci
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
Kay
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.
Karyn
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
Jessica
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
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
Jon Wilson
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.
Mary
After children's mysteries, I started reading Rinehart, loved her sometimes complicated stories and strong women characters. Read anything that I could get my hands on by her and always a good read. I think I started reading Agatha Christie when I ran out of Rinehart. I would recommend to younger readers especially. (Age 10 and up)
Sarah Shaber
Rinehart was one of the foremost mystery writers of her day. Her stories had a Gothic quality, with a woman protagonist up against unknown forces who didn't know her friends from her enemies. I enjoy them all, but this is my favorite. It's set at the end of World War II, and has lots of period references.
Susan
Another good, quick read by Mary Roberts Rinehart! She is rather addicting! I returned "The Great Mistake" to the library as I can't get started on another while trying to get through Les Miserables, and The Chosen for the second time. The Yellow Room is a good mystery!
Laura Beasley
Good mystery. Lots of twists and turns and I never figured out who did what. At the end when all was revealed it did get a little confusing . Lots of action in the book and characters. Will read more books by this author.
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
This is a decent whodunit, but I found all of the characters to be shallow and annoying, so I almost didn't finish the book. The other Mary Roberts Rinehart mysteries that I've read are much more engaging.
Julie
Many characters to keep track of...especially a problem if you have to stop reading for awhile b/c of classes! Overall, a 4/5.
Emily
May 10, 2010 Emily rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Emily by: Mom
This is not the edition I read. But what does it matter? Yawn. Yawn. Yawn. Oh, and did I say I was completely bored by this one?
Kristina
I read this about once a year. Love this book. Good mystery. Rinehart was a master of the thrillers/mysteries, even in the 1920s.
Debbie
corpse is found burned in linen closet, evidence of someone staying in the yellow room, of a Maine retreat
Jennifer
This was interesting because of the background of World War 11, but not stellar.
Celia
loved the book-haven't be able to find others of hers that are as good.
Cyril
vintage Mary Roberts Rinehart. A good re-read
Ben Loory
is no agatha christie.
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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
More about Mary Roberts Rinehart...
The Circular Staircase The Man in Lower Ten The Bat The Case of Jennie Brice The Window At The White Cat

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