by Mary Roberts Rinehart
It’s a shame the way history rewards some authors and neglects others. Take, for example, the reputations of Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. What’s that, you say? Mary Roberts Who? My point, exactly. Everyone knows Dame Agatha, and more power to the great British mystery writer. But how many readers know of Rinehart, an American novelist who not only predates Christie but who also, in some ways, surpasses her? The Case of Jennie Brice is the second Rinehart book I’ve read (following The Circular Staircase), and both novels are delightful. They contain all of the murder and intrigue a reader expects from a Hercule Poirot story, but Rinehart’s characters are more human – and humorous – than anyone found in Christie.
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