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The Case of Jennie Brice

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  472 Ratings  ·  66 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.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 1st 1997 by Kensington (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.
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
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,
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
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
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....)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Marilyn Groves
Apr 18, 2014 Marilyn Groves rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, free
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
Jul 29, 2014 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing plot twist, some romance(minimal) and very interesting setting. Who knew that people lived with annual flooding inside their homes! Enjoyable quick read. I usually don't care much for short stories, but this novelette had the depth of a full novel.
Z Coonen
Aug 01, 2015 Z Coonen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunits
Good story, not particularly devious or twisting, but an enjoyable read. Certainly outstanding in its time and much credit should be given to the author who was also wife and mother in a time where that was rare.
Sep 18, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging mystery. Nice, short, interesting story of a disappearance that might be a murder--- or perhaps it's a frame-up? Lots of twists to keep you engaged, with a touch of romance to help balance the suspense.
Dec 30, 2015 Ashley marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Own on Nook. Part of 50 Classic Mystery Books.

FS: "We have just had another flood, bad enough, but only a foot or two of water on the first floor."

LS: "I think I shall do it."
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.
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
Jul 06, 2015 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is always fun to return to the classics and she did play fair.
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
May 22, 2015 NancyS rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not one of the author's best.
Susan Wallace
Good, written in 1913, quick listen.
Aug 05, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable mystery from the early 1900s.
read some time in 1985
Maryann Fox
i enjoyed this book
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.
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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
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