Mary Roberts Rinehart

in Pittsburgh, The United States
August 12, 1876

September 22, 1958


Mary Roberts Rinehart 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 articles. Many of her books and plays were adapted for movies, such as The Bat (1926), The Bat Whispers (1930), and The Bat (1959). While many of her books were best-sellers, critics were most appreciative of her murder mysteries.

Average rating: 3.69 · 19,154 ratings · 2,394 reviews · 280 distinct worksSimilar authors
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The Great Mistake

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Miss Pinkerton

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The After House

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The Amazing Interlude

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More books by Mary Roberts Rinehart…
The Man in Lower Ten The Circular Staircase The Bat
(3 books)
3.62 avg rating — 7,225 ratings

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“People that trust themselves a dozen miles from the city, in strange houses, with servants they don't know, needn't be surprised if they wake up some morning and find their throats cut.”
Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Circular Staircase

“War is not two great armies meeting in the clash and frenzy of battle. War is a boy being carried on a stretcher, looking up at God’s blue sky with bewildered eyes that are soon to close; war is a woman carrying a child that has been injured by a shell; war is spirited horses tied in burning buildings and waiting for death; war is the flower of a race, battered, hungry, bleeding, up to its knees in filthy water; war is an old woman burning a candle before the Mater Dolorsa for the son she has given.”
Mary Rinehart
tags: war

“Oh, stop talking," I cried, in a hunted tone. "I can't bear it. If you are going to arrest me, get it over."

"I'd rather NOT arrest you, if we can find a way out. You look so young, so new to Crime! Even your excuse for being here is so naive, that I—won't you tell me why you wrote a love letter, if you are not in love? And whom you sent it to? That's important, you see, as it bears on the case. I intend," he said, "to be judgdicial[sic], unimpassioned, and quite fair."

"I wrote a love letter" I explained, feeling rather cheered, "but it was not intended for any one, Do you see? It was just a love letter."

"Oh," he said. "Of course. It is often done. And after that?"

"Well, it had to go somewhere. At least I felt that way about it. So I made up a name from some malted milk tablets——"

"Malted milk tablets!" he said, looking bewildered.

"Just as I was thinking up a name to send it to," I explained, "Hannah—that's mother's maid, you know—brought in some hot milk and some malted milk tablets, and I took the name from them."

"Look here," he said, "I'm unpredjudiced and quite calm, but isn't the `mother's maid' rather piling it on?"

"Hannah is mother's maid, and she brought in the milk and the tablets, I should think," I said, growing sarcastic, "that so far it is clear to the dullest mind."

"Go on," he said, leaning back and closing his eyes. "You named the letter for your mother's maid—I mean for the malted milk. Although you have not yet stated the name you chose; I never heard of any one named Milk, and as to the other, while I have known some rather thoroughly malted people—however, let that go."

"Valentine's tablets," I said. "Of Course, you understand," I said, bending forward, "there was no such Person. I made him up. The Harold was made up too—Harold Valentine."

"I see. Not clearly, perhaps, but I have a gleam of intellagence[sic]."

"But, after all, there was such a person. That's clear, isn't it? And now he considers that we are engaged, and—and he insists on marrying me."

"That," he said, "is realy[sic] easy to understand. I don't blame him at all. He is clearly a person of diszernment[sic]."

"Of course," I said bitterly, "you would be on HIS side. Every one is."

"But the point is this," he went on. "If you made him up out of the whole cloth, as it were, and there was no such Person, how can there be such a Person? I am merely asking to get it all clear in my head. It sounds so reasonable when you say it, but there seems to be something left out."

"I don't know how he can be, but he is," I said, hopelessly. "And he is exactly like his picture."

"Well, that's not unusual, you know."

"It is in this case. Because I bought the picture in a shop, and just pretended it was him. (He?) And it WAS."

He got up and paced the floor.

"It's a very strange case," he said. "Do you mind if I light a cigarette? It helps to clear my brain. What was the name you gave him?"

"Harold Valentine. But he is here under another name, because of my Familey. They think I am a mere child, you see, and so of course he took a NOM DE PLUME."

"A NOM DE PLUME? Oh I see! What is it?"

"Grosvenor," I said. "The same as yours.”
Mary Roberts Rinehart, Bab: A Sub-Deb



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