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The Case of Jennie Brice

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  508 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
A blood-stained rope and towel, and a missing tenant, convince Mrs. Pittman that a murder has been committed in her boarding house. But without a body, the police say there is no case. Now, it's up to Mrs. Pittman to ferret out the killer. For as the landlady, she has the perfect excuse to do a little snooping--and the key to Jennie's apartment.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1913)
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Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Enjoyable, quick whodunnit (approximately 90 pages in the edition I have). The setting was one of the more unique ones: (a flooded out house in 1907 Pittsburgh), with boats coming in through the doorways to ferry people trapped inside on upper floods.

Good plot, likable heroine (a pleasure to read about fiesty, 40+ women) and an ingenious murder...or was it a murder? Rinehart crafts a short but puzzling tale for mystery lovers.
Jan 26, 2015 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars when written. 3.5 stars now.

So continues my tour of Golden Age mystery writers in an attempt to see whether any of them hold a candle to Christie. To date, I've found Patricia Wentworth and Josephine Tey to be disappointments, though I will give the latter a second go. Dorothy Sayers had a very rocky first book but improved considerably in her sophomore effort, even if she was too concerned with literary showmanship to tell a tale as concisely as Christie did.

And here I am making a bit o
Mar 12, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a rule I love MRR's books. When compared with some current writers, I find her books to be incredibly well-written, and if somewhat convoluted due to the back-and-forth of the plots, at least it keeps you on your toes!

This book was by far the easiest one to follow and ready - I think my copy had 140 and at least 10 of those pages had some delightful drawings. The main character Mrs. Pittman was well written. The plot had a nice little love story, a nice mystery that wasn't too hard to break,
I read this in elementary school (or maybe junior high) when I went through a Rinehart-phase. Most of the plot details escape me now, but the intriguing setting has always stuck with me. It takes place during a flood, and the characters have to move their possessions to the upper floor and commute by row boat!
Feb 21, 2010 Kalen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
Nice cozy mystery with a good dose of humor. The plot was a bit thin, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Mary Roberts Rinehart's mysteries.

(Oh, and the name in the title is Jennie Brice, not Jenny....)
Marts  (Thinker)
Another great old-fashioned mystery by Rinehart, completed with that small town setting, unhappy young wife, suspicious husband, overly friendly visitor, and who could by-pass the single, mature, 'I need a mystery' in my latter years protagonist...

Trust me, you will enjoy this...
Oct 27, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is on old-fashioned mystery taking place during a flood. I was intrigued to read that Mrs. Pitman tied a boat to the stairs in her boarding house for transportation. The whole reading experience reminded me of playing the game Clue or reading Nancy Drew books If you like concise writing, you will enjoy Mary Roberts Rinehart's writing style. It's straight to the point with small bits of humor and all the while you want to be the one to solve the mystery first.
Ryan G
Jun 01, 2011 Ryan G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think where this book sucked me in was the setting. Much like the last Mary Roberts Rinehart book I read, The After House, the setting is what dictates the story. Pittsburgh in the early part of the last century tended to flood every Spring. The problem was all the water, the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers meet in Pittsburgh and form the Ohio river. Every year when the ice starts to melt the rivers start to rise and take over most of the city, especially the poorer areas.

One of those poo
May 10, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Mary Roberts Rinehart is a fascinating writer. This story was originally published in 1913. The version I read was re-edited by her in 1948, as was the other story I finished a week ago.

This story is set in Allegheny, Pa., which I think may now be a part of Pittsburgh. The narrator is a struggling widow who is alienated from her wealthy family because of her marital choice. Now she runs a boarding house to pay the bills on the house she is renting. Apparenly living with Spring floods is a yearly
Pat Beard
Sep 12, 2016 Pat Beard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early 20th century work that doesn't show nearly as much sign of being dated as many I've read. This one has a lovely unique, unanticipated twist to the plot. The characters are of their day and offer insight into a different way of life. I'll try additional titles by this author. Recommended.
Karla Goforth Abreu
I read this in snippets when I had time. It was an interesting mystery, a classic who-dun-it. It is very readable and ends in a cute fashion.
Bill Wehrmacher
As I was to lead my mystery book club meeting for another of Mary Robert Rinehart's books, which I didn't really like very much, I decided to read another. I looked around for a book that followed The Circular Staircase and I settled on The Case of Jennie Brice. I liked it much better.

I believe that it is the language that makes it a little hard to read. The Circular Staircase was published in 1908, only 43 years after the end of the civil war and I found some of the references to African Ameri
Randee Baty
A very interesting little book! Interesting setting, interesting plot twists.

Mrs. Pittman keeps in a boarding house in the section of Pittsburg that floods regularly every year. This was one of the most interesting settings for a mystery that I've read. Imagine know that every year your bottom story would flood so you would just plan to move everything and everyone upstairs until the water recedes! Hard to imagine in this day and age. You would just keep a boat on the first floor and use it for
Ivonne Rovira
The Case of Jennie Brice isn't as good as Mary Roberts Rinehart's best books: The Circular Staircase, The Window At The White Cat, or The Man in Lower Ten. However, at barely 100 pages, The Case of Jennie Brice is definitely worth a read, especially if you're getting the free Kindle version.

Some of the events are a tad unbelievable, but the ending will really surprise you. And, unlike some of Rinehart's books, where she doesn't play fair with the reader, she actually gives you enough clues that
I download so many public domain books that I wasn't at all sure what to expect from The Case of Jennie Brice. Having read it, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. The case itself is convoluted, silly, and difficult to follow. The narration, however, makes this book worth the high rating that I gave it. The middle-aged boardinghouse mistress telling the story is smart, suprisingly snarky, and has unrevealed mysteries far more interesting than the central case. She isn't always aware of the ...more
Apr 24, 2011 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, fast read. Mrs. Pittman, who runs a boarding house, notices that one of her roomers, actress Jenny Brice, is missing during a flood. Perhaps jumping to conclusions, Pittman suspects Mr. Ladley, Jenny's unlikable husband, of murder. She begins to search for clues to prove his guilt and is aided by Mr. Holcombe, an eccentric elderly amateur detective. The only thing missing is a body!

This is a tightly-written little novella. The flood waters add to the atmosphere of the mystery with Mrs.
Carolyn C.
May 21, 2016 Carolyn C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rinehart is often called the American Agatha Christie, says Wiki. I think I like her more. This was her first book that I have read, as far as I remember.

Some of her language is quaint and fun and the author has a good sense of humor. Much of the book has the main character trying to figure out whether or not there actually was a murder.

It wasn't really the kind of mystery where you could figure out the conclusion because too much information is withheld. But I especially appreciated how there
May 23, 2012 Rene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This is a vey fine mystery story. It is the first book I read by Mary Roberts Rineheart, and certainly not the last. The writer keeps us in tension until the last chapter and then still surprises us with the real course of events. The book is written in a light and pleasant style, with the "I" person being a simple woman who sees the events from nearby, but hardly understands them. A murder has been comitted, but at first there is not even a body and only some circumstantial evidence. As the sto ...more
Although the mystery that propels this book is not very interesting, the setting is. I loved the author's description of life on the Allegheny river, just on the fringes of Pittsburgh. The idea that those living in this area would stoically suffer through "flood-time" every year, had a routine for dealing with it, and even unofficial rules about things floating from one house to another, was fascinating to me. I also loved the background story of the narrator and how it figured into the story. B ...more
Julie Davis
I remember enjoying The Bat by this author when I heard it on LibriVox. Rinehart writes with a sly humor as she weaves interesting mysteries, usually with female protagonists. In this one, the story is told by a boarding house keeper as one of her boarders has disappeared, the landlady suspects the husband of foul play, and flood covers Pittsburgh in 1907.

A quick read and one that I found entertaining more for the personalities and the description of Pittsburgh during the flood than for the deta
Elaine Cramer
Jun 21, 2016 Elaine Cramer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cozy mystery lovers, classic mystery lovers
I quite liked this tale. It was read well, and I could see no flaws in logic. The setting was interesting, taking place in the early 1900s in an area of Pennsylvania that flooded houses on a regular basis. Just that is intriguing. It takes place in a boarding house in that area, with the lady running it as a main character. She is well fleshed out, and supporting characters are adequately drawn. I think it says a lot about a story if it still holds up as intriguing a good century after its publi ...more
First sentence: "We have just had another flood, bad enough, but only a foot or two of water on the first floor."

Last sentence: "I think I shall do it."

I needed something light and short to read, and this short story was ideal. A nice, short and relaxing read. Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) has written other short stories, and I will definitely read some more of them when I am in the mood.
Eileen E Cartwright

Part of the reason I enjoyed this book is that the story took place in Pittsburgh located around 30 miles from Beaver, PA where I grew up. Beaver was even mentioned as a place where the body of a woman was washed up from the Ohio river. I loved the twists and turns of the plot and all the interesting characters. The problem of the missing paragraphs mentioned by other reviews seemed to have been corrected in my version.
Bought this book on Cabbage Key Florida which is owned by the decendents of the author. A fun to read book especially if you enjoy the reading the stiff language of the upper class at turn of the century. I found it interesting that the author was known as the American Agatha Christie even though she published 14 years before Chrisie!!
Marilyn Groves
classic 1913 mystery - loved the view of Pittsburgh during that time with periodic flooding and the acceptance of the people who lived there. The writing is excellent, explaining why the author is considered one of the masters of early mystery. Certainly dated, but very interesting and a good read. Download for computer, Kindle or other free at
Sep 19, 2013 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this author's style and her main character, the narrator, who was both believable and interesting. The plot itself was a little far-fetched, which made the setting and characters stand out even more. Worth reading just to figure out what I'm talking about. I'd be interested in hearing others' reactions.
Cristina Rivera
Jun 07, 2012 Cristina Rivera rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books-read
It was good, not great, but good enough. The murder mystery was intriguing to the end. Some of the writing was a little 'Ok, and the point of that being said was?', moreso about the main character's dead husband. I only gave it 3 stars, but if you like murder mysteries or whodunnits, don't put my rating past you. You might still like it, maybe more than me.
Mar 31, 2013 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the book that introduced me to Rinehart and boy am I glad it did. The book was very short but a very fun gothic mystery to read. Satisfying ending as well. Highly recommend this to fellow golden age mystery readers. Christie may have been the reigning queen but Rinehart and others also wrote some nifty mysteries back in the day.
Vicki Seldon
Nov 24, 2012 Vicki Seldon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have learned that there is a bit more variety and subtlety to Ms. Rinehart's choices of plot and settings than I thought when I read 'The Bat' two decades ago. Locating the story in Pittsburgh during the winter floods is unusual and adds interest to the boarding house(rather than drawing room) setting.
Julie Johnson
LIke the other reviewers, I found this book to have a very 'modern day' feel in spite of its age. I also, like many others, was looking for a 'free read' from a free book, it was better then expected. On par with modern day mysteries. I had a feeling I knew 'the solution' but wasn't certain, so it held my interest. A very intriguing mystery and well worth looking into.
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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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