Saturday, September 22, 2012
Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter R
I have signed up for a second year of The Alphabet in Crime Fiction, a community meme sponsored by Mysteries in Paradise. Each week she'll be expecting participants to produce a post featuring a mystery/crime novel or novelist related to that week's letter.
We're heading into the final letters of the alphabet--and this week the spotlight is on the Letter R. R is for Mary Roberts Rinehart. Rinehart was an American author and journalist who penned 40 novels. She is widely known as featuring "Had I But Known" (HIBK) style of stories featuring women (usually--although The Red Lamp has a male professor in a similar situation) who get themselves into mysterious situations which often might have been avoided, if they'd only known. However, many of her stories are more firmly anchored in an attempt to realistically portray what was then modern life, with many different classes, corruption high and low, and a great diversity of characters. Her best novels combined murder, love, ingenuity, and humor in a style that was distinctly her own.
Ryan over at Wordsmithonia brought The After House by Rinehart to my attention. Despite my love for vintage mysteries and knowing that Rinehart was an important figure in early 20th Century American crime fiction, I had only read one other book by Rinehart (The Window at the White Cat) back before my blogging days--and that one made no great impression on me. But I could not resist this one after reading Ryan's excellent review (his blog link above will take you there). Since then I have been grabbing up her books whenever I find them and I have read three more of her novels (click titles for reviews):
The Bat (based on the play--which in turn was based on The Circular Staircase)