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The Bat (Dodo Press)

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  451 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) was a prolific author often called the American Agatha Christie. "Dorothy B. Hughes, crime critic and novelist, says she 'has been and continues to be' the most important American woman mystery writer. " She was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, which has been a part of the city of Pittsburgh since 1907. She attended public schools and ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 30th 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1920)
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Oct 09, 2015 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Mary Roberts Rinehart's The Bat, Cornelia Van Gorder, a spinster who has longed for adventure, takes herself, her Irish maid Lizzie, and her neice Dale off to the country to escape the city's summer heat. She rents a country home that has recently become available when Courtleigh Fleming, a local bank manager, died. She's bemoaning her quiet, unadventurous existence when suddenly the countryside becomes the center for some very mysterious activity.

Cornelia begins receiving anonymous notes mea
Ryan G
Apr 21, 2011 Ryan G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't remember what my first mystery book was or even what age I was when I first opened one. More than likely it was a Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown book. It wasn't until I read my first Agatha Christie book that I truly became a fan for life. I was such a fan of her that I tended to ignore other well known authors and even moved onto Fantasy for a while. Now as an adult I'm having a great time discovery authors that have made names for themselves in the mystery genre. One author th ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after reading Rinehart's earlier book The Circular Staircase. The Circular Staircase was made into a play that was then written back into novel form by Rinehart as this book. It is very much a product of its time in terms of racial stereotypes, views on gender, etc. The story in this book was less developed than the one in The Circular Staircase. This felt more like you were reading a play made into a book, which is in fact what it is. The plot was compressed and the characters ...more
Ann Sloan
After the last book, I did promise that I would cleanse my palate with something truly classic and well-written. Well, one out of two isn’t bad. When I saw a Mary Roberts Rinehart’s novel on Net Galley, I couldn’t believe my luck. My mother introduced me to her books back in my pre-teen days – that is what passed as YA literature back then. I read a couple of her books in the past few years and enjoyed them for what they are – old-fashioned, demure, cozy mysteries with a likeable heroine narrati ...more
Feb 12, 2010 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A friend who knows that I am interested in mysteries and in books published between the world wars, loaned me an anthology of three Mary Roberts Rinehart novels, so you will be seeing the other two in a week or two. Mary Roberts Rinehart has often been called the "American Agatha Christie". This is a comparison with which I would argue. She is also the author most identified with the phrase "the butler did it" (although she never said that phrase)and the "Had I But Known" school of mysteries. Th ...more
Wow, mystery novels were different in 1920. For example, if you published a mystery novel then, and one of your characters was Japanese, you might mention that Japaneseness 50 or 60 times throughout the course of the book. You might also have the other characters impute certain moods or character traits to this character simply because he is Japanese. Also, you might create characters so stereotypical that most of the time you would use labels to refer to them: "the doctor," "the detective," and ...more
Ruth Sophia
A duplication of her own work

This is my second experience with Rinehart & was very disappointing...but only because I read it immediately following The Circular Staircase (which I highly recommend). This is important because not only are MANY plot features the same, some of the lines are lifted verbatim from The Circular Staircase & included here.

There still was a surprise or two & it was pleasant to read, though given its historical context, some comments about the "Jap" butler are
Mar 12, 2014 Bernadette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Agatha Christie fans
I was completely unfamiliar with the author when I found this audiobook from my library. What really captivated me was hearing in the introduction that M.R. Rinehart used "The Bat" as inspiration for her most famous work, "The Circular Staircase." So I listened to that audiobook next for a comparison. While it is clear to see the shared inspiration in the plots of both books, the main portion of "The Bat" takes place over several days and in some ways is more complicated than Staircase, which ta ...more
Tom Schulte
Jan 12, 2016 Tom Schulte rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this because I heard it may have had something to do with the genesis of Batman. Comic-book creator Bob Kane said in his 1989 autobiography Batman and Me that the villain of the 1930 film "The Bat Whispers" was an inspiration for his character Batman. If there is a thread of connection to this book, it is frail and gossamer indeed. this bat is inept and gun-slinging while being a criminal and not crime fighter. still an amusing read of a plucky and aged socialite cum crime fighter if you ...more
Matt Kelland
Somewhat disappointing. It was an interesting curio from the point of view of the origin of the Batman character, but not what I'd call a good read.

However, it was fun to encounter the bit where the villain shines a searchlight onto a house, with the silhouette of a bat on it. Definitely inspiration for Gotham's famous Caped Crusader.
Kamas Kirian
I like the idea behind the story. I liked Cornelia Van Gorder. I found most of the other characters annoying, especially Lizzie and Dale. Some of the writing wasn't to my taste as well. I think part of the problem I had with the writing is that it comes off very much as a play.

The vast majority of the story takes place in a single room in a house, and the final act takes place in another room in the same house. With all the comings and goings in this one room it made me feel just a little bit c
Christine Howard
Enjoyed it even though the writing is old style and there are lots of adverbs. I liked Rinehart when I was young and can still enjoy her.
Jul 31, 2014 Miklos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Roberts Rhinehart, the American Agatha Christie (or you can consider Agatha Christie to be the English Mary Roberts Rhinehart, however you prefer) writes similarly to her English counterpart, by means of cozy mysteries and minimal actual violence and gore.
The Bat is about a robber villain who strikes terror in the heart of a country village and Miss Cornelia van Gorner, a shrewd older woman, isn't having any of it. The book takes place in her house, along with several friends (and enemies),
Jan 22, 2016 PennsyLady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book group chose this 1920 work.

It was a good little mystery with the feeling of masterpiece theater
No need for multiple settings.
I marveled at some of the word choices....such as sepulchrally and terrorization
and sauvitity...

The butler (Japanese) was addressed frequently in a manner with which I was uncomfortable.

Smoking was rampant throughout.
It was a "drug the doctor (Wells) forbade his patients but prescribes for himself"
I can't see that flying today.

And........It was a story with
Susan Jo Grassi
Dec 28, 2010 Susan Jo Grassi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. They made a movie out of it with Agnes Moorhead and Vincent Price. It was good but a different timeline.
What can you say about a mystery that introduced the idea of a bat signal? Mary Roberts Rinehart clearly deserves to be better known than she is. This novel apparently started out as a play and I definitely felt that dramatic quality coming through. People would disappear "offstage" for a while (while I wondered what they were doing) and it was clear that the maid, Lizzie, was meant to be comic relief (not all that comic, really). But I loved the twist at the end of this story, which I only part ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Marci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an original story, but the first chapter made me think of the author's first novel, The Circular Staircase (1908), and I found from looking at reviews that The Bat is the same story, updated and adapted as a stage play for the 1920 season, and then rewritten as a novel that was published about 1925.

Its differences from the original are improvements in my opinion, and I liked this treatment a lot better. The plot is full of twists and turns; the heroine is 25 years older in thi
Jenn Ravey
Sep 29, 2013 Jenn Ravey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*I received this galley from the publisher Open Road Media* through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Master criminals. Dead bats as calling cards. A young couple in distress. The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart has it all and then some.

Courtleigh Fleming has recently passed away, shortly before his bank closes its doors after money and a cashier go missing. Mr. Fleming's nephew rents out his uncle's country house to Cornelia Van Gorder. But The Bat, a master criminal who continually defie
THE BAT. (1926). Mary Roberts Rinehart. **.
This was Rinehart’s second most popular book, and was adapted for the stage and twice for films. It was also, according to Wikipedia, the inspiration for Bob Kane’s “Batman” series – although there is no resemblence between his character and the character in the book. If you are like me, I usually turn a novel into a movie in my head while I am reading it. This novel became a cross between a Marx Brothers film and a Three Stoges farce. It had no relati
After reading Rinehart's The Amazing Interlude, which I thought was excellent, this was a come-down. She trotted out every cliche in the book (see? It's even affecting my writing about the book), both of style and of character. There's an inscrutable Japanese butler who knows jiu-jitsu, a "comically" superstitious Irish maid, etc.; and if somebody stalks out of a room, you can bet that they do it "in high dudgeon."

At the same time, it's a lively story; it's the novelization of a play that appar
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
A classic melodrama; I was so surprised to read that this was originally published in the 1920’s, to me it reads like a deliberately written piece of historical crime fiction – with all the mores, stereotypes, language and manners relevant to the time (but of course this is how it reads as it was actually written back in the 1920’s!) I loved its grace; the manners and the formal language and style of this book. Ms Rinehart creates a wonderful setting of time and place mixed with humour, a little ...more
Jul 13, 2012 Venessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Miss Van Gorder, I confess-I'm very anxious for you," he continued. "This letter is-ominous. Have you any enemies?"
"Don't insult me! Of course I have. Enemies are an indication of character."

Miss Van Gorder's smile was obdurate. "I have a great deal of mind," she said. "It takes a long time to change it."

I just found out today by talking to a patron at work (yes, totally weird he brought this book up the day I finished it, I know) Rinehart pioneered
Oct 27, 2013 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review
ARC for review.

"Two old women, a young girl, and a Japanese butler to face the most dangerous criminal in America" (359).

Although I had heard of Mary Roberts Rinehart, I believe this is the first book by her I've read - very Agatha Christie-esque. Cornelia Van Gorder is a spunky, elderly, wealthy spinster (though maybe not as elderly nowadays as she would have been when the book was originally published) and she gets some great lines, In response to the question, "Have you any enemies?" she res
Oct 11, 2015 Judith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this book, and appreciated that it was written many decades ago, it was a bit overly dramatic and many of the incidents strained credulity. Too many people popping in and out of rooms, stairs, windows, doors, secret spaces, etc. and just missing the previous occupant. I found the racial stereotyping of the Japanese and Irish servants objectionable. I realize it was language of the time, but I still didn't like it.
Linda Jacobs
Feb 26, 2015 Linda Jacobs rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I could see the Murder by Death crowd acting out this farce. It had every cliche in the book. In fact, this probably WAS the book that all the cliches came from. Locked rooms, Japanese inscrutable butlers, mysterious murders, an old lady sleuth, a forbidden love affair, a bank robbery, a faked death, a country house, and lots of lights going on and off with thunder and rain. And that was in the first three chapters.
Mar 05, 2015 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, mystery
A supervillain stalks the countryside, and it will take a spinster to bring him to heel

For months, the city has lived in fear of the Bat. A master criminal hindered by neither scruple nor fear, he has stolen over one million dollars and left at least six men dead. The police are helpless, the newspapers know nothing—even the key figures of the city’s underworld have no clu
Jun 17, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
Rinehart's The Bat was a pick for my mystery book club. It is the first book that I have read by Rinehart, and I must say that I did enjoy it. Rinehart delivered a fun mystery with some colorful characters, many twists and turns, and a fun, fast paced read. The book begins with dire warnings of a elusive criminal dubbed "The Bat" that keeps eluding not just the authorities but the criminal element as well. The book's lead character, Cornelia, decides to move her household to the country for the ...more
Ellen Dark
Oct 30, 2014 Ellen Dark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Bat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart was originally written as a play, but was later lengthened into a novel. The Bat is a master criminal, even the criminals are in awe of him. No one can capture him and no one knows who he is. Miss Cornelia Van Gorder is a sixty-five year old spinster who longs for adventure, and has rented the home of the recently deceased Courtleigh Fleming for the summer. She's read about the Bat, and knows that he is in the neighbourhood, but she refuses to go back to the saf ...more
Red Heaven
This is my kind of story - spooky mansion, dead bodies, creepy villain on the loose. It was certainly entertaining, even though I correctly guessed the twist. However, even for a short book it kind of dragged a bit. The Bat was promised/threatened long before making an appearance (in his masked state). I also found the maid character, thrown in for comic relief, to be somewhat tiring. But all in all, this was a decent yarn of the time period.
Irish Gal
Jan 12, 2016 Irish Gal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book is more of a thriller than a standard mystery. I liked how the solution to the multiple mysteries that popped up took several twists and turns as the story progressed - more like real mysteries are solved, unlike the neat little packages that are sometimes offered in novels.
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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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