My Book Notes: Miss Pinkerton (UK title: The Double Alibi), 1932 (Hilda Adams #3) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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Mysterious Press.com/Open Road Integrated Media, 2019. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 4881 KB. Print Length: 232 pages. ASIN: B07PDPJQZ4. ISBN: 978-1-540-5825-4. Miss Pinkerton was reportedly serialised in The Saturday Evening Post from 2 January to 13 February 1932, and published in book form by Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. in 1932. The book was reviewed in the New York Times on February 14, 1932. It was published in the UK as The Double Alibi by Cassell and Company, Ltd. in the same year. There is a new edition available published in 2019 by American Mystery Classics.

Miss Pinkerton (1932) revives her nurse detective for a full length novel, her two 1914 appearances both being novellas. The story telling in this novel is vivid, and the ostinato retellings of the basic crime from different perspectives and eyewitnesses build up to an almost hallucinatory intensity. (Mike Grost)

519qdocgVwLBook Description: If the dissolute nephew of elderly Juliet Mitchell committed suicide, then why has the Homicide Squad enlisted the help of nurse Hilda Adams at the Mitchell mansion? Because Inspector Patton has his doubts about Herbert’s death—even though he died by gunshot in his locked bedroom. The services of the bureau’s indispensable sleuth, “Miss Pinkerton,” are twofold: to care for the traumatized and bedridden Juliet, and to find out who really pulled the trigger. But Hilda’s about to discover that the Mitchell family’s secrets are as dark as the shadows in the creaking old house, and that there’s a good reason why the servants seem gripped by an inexplicable fear. Now it’s up to Miss Pinkerton to solve the case, if she can survive the night.
Hailed by Carolyn Hart as a major influence, she salutes Rinehart as “the first author to write a humorous mystery with a female protagonist . . . a staple of crime fiction from then to now.” This witty whodunit by the Mystery Writers of America Special Award winner was the basis for the 1932 film starring Joan Blondell.

My Take: Miss Pinkerton aka The Double Alibi is a full length novel. The story, as in the two previous novellas featuring Nurse Hilda Adams, is narrated in the first person by our heroine. Inspector Patton, when he’s in good humour, has nicknamed her Miss Pinkerton,but that is a joke between them. She has never seen herself as a detective. What she has are eyes to use them where the police cannot reach. Therefore, inspector Patton found her useful from the beginning. There is one thing about a trained nurse in a household: she can move easily around day and night with no one questioning what she does. She has only one job, to look after her patient. Outside her job, almost nobody notices much her presence. However, she can see a great deal more than anyone could imagine and use what she sees. That is precisely what Hilda Adams does.

The story revolves around determining whether the cause of the death of Miss Juliet Mitchell’s nephew, a young man called Herbert Wynne, has been murder, suicide or accident. The Mitchells, now reduced only to an elderly lady and her nephew, had been one of the most prominent and influential families in the city, though now have lost a great part of their old splendour. It was well known that aunt and nephew did not get along well. When Nurse Adams reached the old mansion, she finds Miss Mitchell in a state of shock. As a matter of fact, she has been hired to care for her. Nobody in the house really thinks young Wynne had kill himself, they all believe it was an ill-fated accident. But regardless of whether it was an accident or a suicide, Adams wonders what is doing there the Homicide Squad.

Soon Adams gathers that Hugo and Mary are the only servants in the house. In the good old days there had been other servants, but now they are the only two left. Husband and wife, they had been there for many years. Hugo had been the butler and Mary the cook, now they take care of everything. The two other persons present in the old mansion when she  arrived were Doctor Stewart, the doctor of the family, and Mr Glenn, their legal counsellor. Both had taken for granted that Herbert Wynne had killed himself by accident or design. When she was getting ready to go to sleep, an agreed signal in her window makes her go downstairs and she meets Inspector Patton on the front porch, who puts her up to date about what had happened.

Apparently, young Wynne dined in a good mood and, quite cheerfully, he spent the time until nine o’clock cleaning and oiling his automatic. Shortly before nine, he was heard coming down the stairs,  whistling. It wouldn’t look like suicide, if there wasn’t anything else. Fifteen minutes after twelve, the local police station received a call. The police lieutenant who was first on the scene decided it was a suicide. But the fellow is a fool, how could someone kill himself without leaving marks? It took him ten minutes to figure that out and then he phoned headquarters. Luckily, an inspector was still there and arrived at the house at a quarter to one. It took him two minutes to decide that it was neither a suicide, nor and accident. And, given the circumstances, he called the Homicide Squad. 

I better leave it here, in order not to go into too much detail. It can be of interest, however, to highlight Rinehart is known as the inventor of the ‘had I but known’ school of mystery novels. This narrative device, considered old-fashioned now-a-days, made sense when most novels appeared published initially serialised in magazines. It consists essentially in introducing small hints of what is going to happen next, and thus capture the readers’ attention to make them purchase the next issue.

All in all, I found Miss Pinkerton more than interesting and quite entertaining, it stands the test of time quite well. Nurse Adams’ mysteries seem to fit better in a full-length novel than in a novella, even though, in my view, I have enjoyed The Buckled Bag more. Still, Miss Pinkerton has not disappointed me at all. It may not be a perfect novel and, on certain aspects, Rinehart abuses certain mechanisms to get our main character out of compromising situations. She just faints and we wait for someone to wake her up. In addition to this, in my opinion, the motives for the murders are not clearly explained (please find below an additional comment). Anyway, it’s been a highly enjoyable reading.

Miss Pinkerton has been reviewed, among others, at Cross-Examining Crime, Golden Age of Detection Wiki, and The Mystillery blog.

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(Source: Facsimile Dust Jackets LLC. Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. (USA), 1932)

About the Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876 – 1958). An American Writer, who is often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel precedes Christie’s by more than a decade. Considered to be the inventor of the ‘had I but know’ school of mystery novels with the publication of The Circular Staircase, Rinehart is also credited with creating the phrase ‘the butler did it’ which is not exactly used in her novel The Door (1930). Born Mary Ella Roberts in Alleghany City (now part of Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania on August 12th, 1876. Roberts enrolled in Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses at 16, and later married a Physician, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, she met there. The couple had three children, and during the stock market crash of 1903 lost all of their savings. To earn extra money for the family Rinehart began writing, producing numerous short stories, and publishing her first novel, The Circular Staircase, in 1907, which became a best-seller. Rinehart was a regular contributor to The Saturday Evening Post, and was a correspondent for the publication during World War I at the Belgian front. After undergoing a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, Rinehart went public, writing an article ‘I Had Cancer’ for a 1947 issue of Ladies Home Journal, at a time when women’s medical issues were not openly discussed in public. She died September 22, 1958 at the age of 82 in her Park Avenue Apartment in New York City and  is buried in Arlington National Cemetery where, according to the official Arlington website, she is remembered as:

Mary Roberts Rinehart- America’s first woman war correspondent during World War I for the Saturday Evening Post; wrote mystery novels, including The Circular Staircase and The Bat; in 1921 was referred to as “America’s Mistress of Mystery.”

Many of Rinehart’s works are available through Project Gutenberg.

The Character: Nurse Hilda Adams, aka Miss Pinkerton, was the creation of Mary Roberts Rinehart. She first appeared in the novella The Buckled Bag published in 1914, soon followed by the novella Locked Doors published that same year. It was not until almost two decades later, in 1932, that Nurse Hilda Adams returned in the full-length novel Miss Pinkerton, aka The Double Alibi, to come back again in the sequel The Haunted Lady published a decade after in 1942. Finally, she appeared in the novella The Secret, included in Episode of the Wandering Knife aka The Wandering Knife, published in 1950, even thought this novella was evidently written in the mid/late-1940s. Miss Pinkerton was made into a successful film in 1932, starring Joan Blondell as the crime-solving nurse.

Hilda Adams will return in two other stories, in addition to The Buckled Bag (1914), Locked Doors (1914) and Miss Pinkerton (1932) [also the title for the omnibus Hilda Adams #1-4], the full-length novel The Haunted Lady (1942) sequel to Miss Pinkerton, and the short novel “The Secret” included on Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950) aka The Wandering Knife, although probably written around 1945.

Open Road Integrated Media publicity page

Penzler Publishers publicity page

Mary Roberts Rinehart at a Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page, by Mike Grost

Rinehart, Mary Roberts at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Hilda Adams aka Miss Pinkerton

Miss Pinkerton de Mary Roberts Rinehart

Miss Pinkerton (1932) recupera a su enfermera convertida en detective en una novela larga, sus dos apariciones en 1914 son novelas cortas. El relato de esta historia es intenso, y los continuos relatos del delito básico, desde diferentes perspectivas y por diferentes testigos oculares, alcanza una intensidad sorprendente. (Mike Grost)

Descripción del libro: Si el sobrino libertino de la anciana Juliet Mitchell se suicidó, entonces ¿por qué la Brigada de Homicidios solicitó la ayuda de la enfermera Hilda Adams en la mansión Mitchell? Porque el inspector Patton tiene sus dudas sobre la muerte de Herbert, a pesar de que murió de un disparo encerrado por dentro en su dormitorio. Los servicios de la indispensable investigadora del departamento, “Miss Pinkerton”, son dobles: cuidar de la traumatizada y postrada Juliet, y descubrir quién apretó realmente el gatillo. Pero Hilda está a punto de descubrir que los secretos de la familia Mitchell son tan oscuros como las sombras de la vieja casa llena de crujidos, y que existe una buena razón por la que los sirvientes parecen paralizados ​​por un miedo inexplicable. Ahora le toca a la señorita Pinkerton resolver el caso, si puede sobrevivir a la noche.
Aclamada por Carolyn Hart como una gran influencia, rinde homenaje a Rinehart como “la primera autora en escribir un misterio humorístico con una protagonista femenina. . . un elemento básico de la ficción criminal desde entonces hasta ahora “. Esta ingeniosa novela policíaca de la ganadora del premio especial de los Mystery Writers of America fue la base de la película de 1932 protagonizada por Joan Blondell.

Mi opinión: Miss Pinkerton, también conocida como The Double Alibi, es una novela larga. La historia, como en las dos novelas cortas anteriores protagonizadas por la enfermera Hilda Adams, está narrada en primera persona por nuestra heroína. El inspector Patton, cuando está de buen humor, la ha apodado Miss Pinkerton, pero eso es una broma entre ellos. Ella nunca se ha visto a sí misma como una detective. Lo que tiene son ojos para usarlos donde la policía no puede llegar. Por lo tanto, el inspector Patton la encontró útil desde el principio. Hay una cosa acerca de una enfermera cualificada en un hogar: puede moverse con facilidad día y noche sin que nadie cuestione lo que hace. Solo tiene un trabajo, cuidar de su paciente. Fuera de su trabajo, casi nadie nota mucho su presencia. Sin embargo, puede ver mucho más de lo que nadie podría imaginar y usar lo que ve. Eso es precisamente lo que hace Hilda Adams.

La historia gira en torno a determinar si la causa de la muerte del sobrino de la señorita Juliet Mitchell, un joven llamado Herbert Wynne, ha sido asesinato, suicidio o accidente. Los Mitchell, ahora reducidos solo a una anciana y su sobrino, habían sido una de las familias más prominentes e influyentes de la ciudad, aunque ahora han perdido gran parte de su antiguo esplendor. Era bien sabido que tía y sobrino no se llevaban bien. Cuando la enfermera Adams llegó a la vieja mansión, encuentra a la señorita Mitchell en estado de shock. De hecho, la han contratado para cuidarla. Nadie en la casa cree realmente que el joven Wynne se haya suicidado, todos creen que fue un accidente desafortunado. Pero independientemente de si fue un accidente o un suicidio, Adams se pregunta qué está haciendo allí la Brigada de Homicidios.

Pronto Adams se da cuenta de que Hugo y Mary son los únicos sirvientes en la casa. En los buenos tiempos había otros sirvientes, pero ahora son los únicos dos que quedan. Marido y mujer, llevaban muchos años allí. Hugo había sido el mayordomo y Mary la cocinera, ahora ellos se encargan de todo. Las otras dos personas presentes en la vieja mansión cuando ella llegó eran el doctor Stewart, el médico de la familia, y el señor Glenn, su consejero legal. Ambos habían dado por sentado que Herbert Wynne se había suicidado por accidente o intencionalmente. Cuando se estaba preparando para irse a dormir, una señal acordada en su ventana la hace bajar las escaleras y se encuentra con el inspector Patton en el porche delantero, quien la pone al día sobre lo sucedido.

Al parecer, el joven Wynne cenó de buen humor y, bastante alegremente, pasó el tiempo hasta las nueve limpiando y engrasando su automática. Poco antes de las nueve, se le oyó bajar las escaleras silbando. No parecería un suicidio, si no hubiera nada más. Quince minutos después de las doce, la comisaría local recibió una llamada. El teniente de policía que apareció primero en la escena decidió que se trataba de un suicidio. Pero el tipo es un tonto, ¿cómo podría alguien suicidarse sin dejar marcas? Tardó diez minutos en darse cuenta de eso y luego llamó al cuartel general. Por suerte, un inspector todavía estaba allí y llegó a la casa a la una menos cuarto. Le llevó dos minutos decidir que no fue un suicidio ni un accidente. Y, dadas las circunstancias, llamó a la Brigada de Homicidios.

Mejor lo dejo aquí, para no entrar en demasiados detalles. Sin embargo, puede ser interesante destacar que Rinehart es conocida como la inventora de la escuela de novelas de misterio ‘had I but known’ [si lo hubiera sabido]. Este recurso narrativo, considerado pasado de moda hoy en día, tenía sentido cuando la mayoría de las novelas aparecían publicadas inicialmente por entregas en revistas. Consiste esencialmente en introducir pequeños indicios de lo que va a pasar a continuación, y así captar la atención de los lectores para hacerles comprar el próximo número.

Con todo, encontré a Miss Pinkerton más que interesante y bastante entretenida, resiste bastante bien la prueba del tiempo. Los misterios de la enfermera Adams parecen encajar mejor en una novela larga que en una novela corta, aunque, en mi opinión, he disfrutado más The Buckled Bag. Aún así, Miss Pinkerton no me ha decepcionado en absoluto. Puede que no sea una novela perfecta y, en ciertos aspectos, Rinehart abusa de ciertos mecanismos para sacar a nuestro protagonista de situaciones comprometedoras. Ella simplemente se desmaya y esperamos a que alguien la despierte. Además, en mi opinión, los motivos de los asesinatos no están claramente explicados (mas abajo encontrará un comentario adicional). De todos modos, ha sido una lectura muy agradable.

Acerca del autor: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958). Escritora estadounidense, a la que a menudo se la llama la Agatha Christie estadounidense, aunque su primera novela de misterio precede a Christie’s en más de una década. Considerada como la inventora de la escuela de novelas de misterio ‘had I but know’ [si lo hubiera sabido] con la publicación de La escalera de caracol, a Rinehart también se le atribuye la creación de la expresión ‘the butler did it’ [El culpable es el mayordomo], que no se usa exactamente en su novela The Door (1930). Nacida Mary Ella Roberts en Alleghany City (ahora parte de Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania el 12 de agosto de 1876. Roberts se inscribió en la Escuela de Capacitación para Enfermeras de Pittsburgh a los 16 años y luego se casó con un médico, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, que conoció allí. La pareja tuvo tres hijos y durante la caída de la bolsa de valores de 1903 perdió todos sus ahorros. Para ganar dinero extra para la familia, Rinehart comenzó a escribir, a producir numerosos cuentos y a publicar su primera novela, La escalera de caracol, en 1907, que se convirtió en un éxito de ventas. Rinehart fue colaboradora habitual de The Saturday Evening Post y fue corresponsal de la publicación durante la Primera Guerra Mundial en el frente belga. Después de someterse a una mastectomía radical por cáncer de mama, Rinehart lo hizo público y escribió un artículo ‘I Had Cancer’ [Tuve cáncer] para una edición de 1947 del Ladies Home Journal, en un momento en que los problemas médicos de las mujeres no se discutían abiertamente en público. Murió el 22 de septiembre de 1958 a la edad de 82 años en su apartamento de Park Avenue en la ciudad de Nueva York y está enterrada en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington donde, según el sitio web oficial de Arlington, se la recuerda como:

Mary Roberts Rinehart, la primera mujer corresponsal de guerra de los Estados Unidos durante la Primera Guerra Mundial para el Saturday Evening Post; escribió novelas de misterio, como The Circular Staircase y The Bat; en 1921 era conocida como “La señora del misterio de los Estados Unidos”.

Muchas de las obras de Rinehart están disponibles en Proyect Gutenberg.

El personaje: La enfermera Hilda Adams, también conocida como Miss Pinkerton, fue creada por Mary Roberts Rinehart. Apareció por primera vez en la novela corta The Buckled Bag publicada en 1914, seguida pronto por la novela corta Locked Doors publicada ese mismo año. No fue hasta casi dos décadas después, en 1932, que la enfermera Hilda Adams regresa en la novela larga Miss Pinkerton, también conocida como The Double Alibi, para regresar nuevamente en la secuela The Haunted Lady publicada una década después en 1942. Finalmente, apareció en la novela corta The Secret, incluida en Episode of the Wandering Knife, también conocida como Wandering Knife, publicado en 1950, aunque esta novela fue evidentemente escrita a mediados/finales de la década de 1940. Miss Pinkerton se convirtió en una película de éxito en 1932, protagonizada por Joan Blondell como la enfermera encargada de resolver delitos.

My Book Notes: The Buckled Bag, 1914 (Hilda Adams #1) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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Listen2aBook.com, 2016. Book Format: Audible Audio. Narrated by: Anne Hancock. Length: 2 hrs and 23 mins. ASIN:B01BMKDU58. First published 1914.

“The Buckled Bag” (1914) and “Locked Doors” (1914) introduce Hilda Adams, a nurse who does undercover work for the police and who is popularly known as Miss Pinkerton. “The Buckled Bag” piles mystery on mystery before the satisfying resolution; it is one of Rinehart’s most perfect works. (Mike Grost)

30838216Publisher Description: Hilda Adams’ life as a nurse has become a bit dull. As she approaches 30, she sees long, monotonous years of trained obedience to orders ahead of her. But a rascally patient, a police detective, sees in her the intelligence and discretion of a born criminal investigator. People confide in a private nurse; she could unearth clues that can crack a case.

Her first case is the disappearance of Clare March, a wealthy debutante who has been missing without a trace for a month. Miss Adams is hired to live in and tend to Clare’s hysterical mother. In the middle of her first night on duty, as she is getting a snack, she watches as a little old lady furtively comes down the stairs, carrying a large buckled bag….

My Take: The Buckled Bag is, in fact, a novella in which the character of Nurse Adams makes her first appearance before the reading public. After telling us how Hilda Adams meets a police detective named Georges L. Patton, the latter observes in her some qualities that can be of great interest in police investigations, and he proposes her to work for him. At first, she seems rather reluctant to accept this proposal and she raises some objections, but eventually she accepts. In this way, without any special training, she must face her first case.

“Now, Miss Adams, here are the facts: You are going to the house of George March, the banker–you probably know the name–Mrs. March is your patient. She’s not ill; she’s hysterical and frightened–that’s all. It’s not a hard case.” 

The case, strictly speaking, was not a criminal case. It referred to the disappearance of a young woman; in a way, it was a remarkably mystery. Twenty-year-old Clare March, an only daughter, left her summer home in Maine to return to the city a month ago. She travelled leaving her maid in the country house. The city house had not been closed; a housekeeper and two maids had stayed there through the summer. They were expecting her for breakfast. She did not arrive –or rather, she did not go home. She arrived safely to the train station. The police could confirmed this. She was even seen taking a taxi afterwards, but that was about all. She has not been seen since.

A superb story I was very much interested to read since I knew of its existence. It has not disappointed me at all, and I strongly recommend it. A small gem that deserves to be better known.

The Buckled Bag has been reviewed, among others, at Cross-Examining Crime.

About the Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876 – 1958). An American Writer, who is often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel precedes Christie’s by more than a decade. Considered to be the inventor of the ‘had I but know’ school of mystery novels with the publication of The Circular Staircase, Rinehart is also credited with creating the phrase ‘the butler did it’ which is not exactly used in her novel The Door (1930). Born Mary Ella Roberts in Alleghany City (now part of Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania on August 12th, 1876. Roberts enrolled in Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses at 16, and later married a Physician, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, she met there. The couple had three children, and during the stock market crash of 1903 lost all of their savings. To earn extra money for the family Rinehart began writing, producing numerous short stories, and publishing her first novel, The Circular Staircase, in 1907, which became a best-seller. Rinehart was a regular contributor to The Saturday Evening Post, and was a correspondent for the publication during World War I at the Belgian front. After undergoing a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, Rinehart went public, writing an article ‘I Had Cancer’ for a 1947 issue of Ladies Home Journal, at a time when women’s medical issues were not openly discussed in public. She died September 22, 1958 at the age of 82 in her Park Avenue Apartment in New York City and  is buried in Arlington National Cemetery where, according to the official Arlington website, she is remembered as:

Mary Roberts Rinehart- America’s first woman war correspondent during World War I for the Saturday Evening Post; wrote mystery novels, including The Circular Staircase and The Bat; in 1921 was referred to as “America’s Mistress of Mystery.”

Many of Rinehart’s works are available through Project Gutenberg.

Hilda Adams will return in three other books: Miss Pinkerton (1932) aka The Double Alibi; The Haunted Lady (1942) sequel to Miss Pinkerton. Ultimately, Nurse Adams also appeared on “The Secret” (1950?) a short story included on Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950) aka The Wandering Knife.

A Book Club Edition (BCE) Miss Pinkerton: Adventures of a Nurse Detective (1959), contains 4 stories featuring the title character: The Buckled Bag, Locked Doors, Miss Pinkerton, & Haunted Lady.

Mary Roberts Rinehart at a Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page, by Mike Grost

Rinehart, Mary Roberts at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Audible

The Buckled Bag (El bolso con hebillas) de Mary Roberts Rinehart

“The Buckled Bag” (1914) y “Locked Doors” (1914) nos presentan a Hilda Adams, una enfermera que hace trabajos encubiertos para la policía y que es conocida popularmente como Miss Pinkerton. “The Buckled Bag” acumula misterio tras misterio antes de llegar a una resolución satisfactoria; es una de las obras más perfectas de Rinehart. (Mike Grost)

Descripción del editor: La vida de Hilda Adams como enfermera se ha vuelto algo aburrida. A medida que se acerca a los 30, ve por delante muchos y monótonos años de cualificada obediencia a las órdenes que le den. Pero un paciente travieso, un detective de policía, observa en ella la inteligencia y la discreción de un investigador criminal nato. La gente confía en una enfermera privada; ella podría descubir pistas que podrian resolver un caso.

Su primer caso es la desaparición de Clare March, una adinerada debutante que lleva un mes desaparecida sin dejar rastro. La señorita Adams es contratada para vivir y atender a la histérica madre de Clare. En medio de su primera noche en su cometido, mientras toma un tentempié, observa cómo una viejecita baja furtivamente las escaleras, cargando un gran bolso con hebillas …

Mi opinión: The Buckled Bag es un relato breve en el que el personaje de la enfermera Adams hace su primera aparición ante el publico lector. Después de contarnos cómo Hilda Adams conoce a un detective de policía llamado Georges L. Patton, este último observa en ella algunas cualidades que pueden ser de gran interés en las investigaciones policiales; por eso le propone trabajar para él. Al principio, parece bastante reacia a aceptar esta propuesta y plantea algunas objeciones, pero finalmente acepta. De esta forma, sin ningún tipo de formación especial, deberá afrontar su primer caso.

“Ahora, señorita Adams, los hechos son los siguientes: usted va a casa de George March, el banquero, probablemente conozca el nombre, la señora March es su paciente. No está enferma; está histérica y asustada, eso es todo. No es un caso difícil “.

El caso, estrictamente hablando, no es un caso criminal. Se refiere a la desaparición de una joven; en cierto modo, era un misterio sorprendente. Clare March, de veinte años, hija única, dejó su casa de verano en Maine para regresar a la ciudad hace un mes. Viajó dejando a su criada en el campo. La casa de la ciudad no se había cerrado; un ama de llaves y dos criadas se habían quedado allí durante el verano. La esperaban para desayunar. No llegó, o mejor dicho, no volvió a casa. Llegó sana y salva a la estación de tren. La policía pudo confirmar esto. Después la vieron tomando un taxi, pero eso fue todo. Ella no ha vuelto a ser vista desde entonces.

Una historia magnífica que me interesó mucho leer desde que supe de su existencia. No me ha defraudado en absoluto y la recomiendo encarecidamente. Una pequeña joya que merece ser más conocida.

Acerca del autor: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958). Escritora estadounidense, a la que a menudo se la llama la Agatha Christie estadounidense, aunque su primera novela de misterio precede a Christie’s en más de una década. Considerada como la inventora de la escuela de novelas de misterio ‘had I but know’ con la publicación de La escalera de caracol, a Rinehart también se le atribuye la creación de la expresión ‘the butler did it’ , que no se usa exactamente en su novela The Door (1930). Nacida Mary Ella Roberts en Alleghany City (ahora parte de Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania el 12 de agosto de 1876. Roberts se inscribió en la Escuela de Capacitación para Enfermeras de Pittsburgh a los 16 años y luego se casó con un médico, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, que conoció allí. La pareja tuvo tres hijos y durante la caída de la bolsa de valores de 1903 perdió todos sus ahorros. Para ganar dinero extra para la familia, Rinehart comenzó a escribir, a producir numerosos cuentos y a publicar su primera novela, La escalera de caracol, en 1907, que se convirtió en un éxito de ventas. Rinehart fue colaborador habitual de The Saturday Evening Post y fue corresponsal de la publicación durante la Primera Guerra Mundial en el frente belga. Después de someterse a una mastectomía radical por cáncer de mama, Rinehart lo hizo público y escribió un artículo ‘I Had Cancer’ para una edición de 1947 del Ladies Home Journal, en un momento en que los problemas médicos de las mujeres no se discutían abiertamente en público. Murió el 22 de septiembre de 1958 a la edad de 82 años en su apartamento de Park Avenue en la ciudad de Nueva York y está enterrada en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington donde, según el sitio web oficial de Arlington, se la recuerda como:

Mary Roberts Rinehart, la primera mujer corresponsal de guerra de los Estados Unidos durante la Primera Guerra Mundial para el Saturday Evening Post; escribió novelas de misterio, como The Circular Staircase y The Bat; en 1921 era conocida como “La señora del misterio de los Estados Unidos”.

Muchas de las obras de Rinehart están disponibles en Proyect Gutenberg.

Hilda Adams regresará en otras tres historias. las novelas: Miss Pinkerton (1932) también conocida como The Double Alibi; The Haunted Lady (1942) secuela de Miss Pinkerton. Finalmente, la enfermera Adams también aparece en “The Secret” (¿1950?), Una historia corta incluida en el libro Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950) también conocido como Wandering Knife.

Una publicacón del Book Club (BCE) Miss Pinkerton: Adventures of a Nurse Detective (1959), contiene 4 de sus historias como protaginista: The Buckled Bag, Locked Doors, Miss Pinkerton y Haunted Lady.

My Book Notes: Locked Doors, 1914 (Hilda Adams #2) by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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Reading Essentials, 2020. Book Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 76 KB. Print Length: 59 page. ASIN: B08NY2ZX22. First published 1914.

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Book Description: A thrilling, gripping tale of fear, menace, and mystery in which Miss Adams becomes enmeshed when she plays the double game of nurse and detective in a large, eerie house where doors are barred at night.

My Take: Six months after Miss Hilda Adams solved, or helped to solved, the mystery of the buckled bag for Mr. Patton, Mr. Patton wants her to take another case. The case revolves around a nurse who had worked four days caring for the two young children of Mr and Mrs Francis M. Reed. The said nurse had left that morning after about three hours of sleep in that time, after having been locked in a room most of the time, and eating little more than crackers and milk. She thought it was a case for the police.

During the time that Nurse Adams had been working for Mr. Patton, she had come to see that Mr. Patton’s point of view was correct; if the criminal uses all means against society, why not society against the criminal? At first she had used this as a flag of truce to her ethical nursing training; now she made of it her mental and moral standard. 

I don’t think I need to say more to encourage you to read this novella by Mary Roberts Rinehart that I came across thanks to a comment on Facebook by Xavier Lechard. Maybe I’m not as enthusiastic about this book as he is, but it has certainly whet my interest in reading more of Rinehart’s detective novels. Anyhow, Locked Doors has an unexpected and clever solution that is worth reading. Unfortunately I have not been able to trace an affordable copy of The Buckled Bag, but I already have Miss Pinkerton to read in a not too distant future. Stay tuned.

Locked Doors has been reviewed, among others, at Cross-Examining Crime.

About the Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876 – 1958). An American Writer, who is often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel precedes Christie’s by more than a decade. Considered to be the inventor of the ‘had I but know’ school of mystery novels with the publication of The Circular Staircase, Rinehart is also credited with creating the phrase ‘the butler did it’ which is not exactly used in her novel The Door (1930). Born Mary Ella Roberts in Alleghany City (now part of Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania on August 12th, 1876. Roberts enrolled in Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses at 16, and later married a Physician, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, she met there. The couple had three children, and during the stock market crash of 1903 lost all of their savings. To earn extra money for the family Rinehart began writing, producing numerous short stories, and publishing her first novel, The Circular Staircase, in 1907, which became a best-seller. Rinehart was a regular contributor to The Saturday Evening Post, and was a correspondent for the publication during World War I at the Belgian front. After undergoing a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, Rinehart went public, writing an article ‘I Had Cancer’ for a 1947 issue of Ladies Home Journal, at a time when women’s medical issues were not openly discussed in public. She died September 22, 1958 at the age of 82 in her Park Avenue Apartment in New York City and  is buried in Arlington National Cemetery where, according to the official Arlington website, she is remembered as:

Mary Roberts Rinehart- America’s first woman war correspondent during World War I for the Saturday Evening Post; wrote mystery novels, including The Circular Staircase and The Bat; in 1921 was referred to as “America’s Mistress of Mystery.”

Many of Rinehart’s works are available through Project Gutenberg.

Rinehart would combine her hospital and mystery fiction, in two long short stories. “The Buckled Bag” (1914) and “Locked Doors” (1914) introduce Hilda Adams, a nurse who does undercover work for the police and who is popularly known as Miss Pinkerton. “The Buckled Bag” piles mystery on mystery before the satisfying resolution; it is one of Rinehart’s most perfect works. “Locked Doors” is not as good, but it contains some powerful imagery and plot ideas. (Mike Grost) Hilda Adams will return in three other books: Miss Pinkerton (1932) aka The Double Alibi; The Haunted Lady (1942) sequel to Miss Pinkerton; and Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950) aka The Wandering Knife. A Book Club Edition (BCE) Miss Pinkerton: Adventures of a Nurse Detective (1959), contains 4 stories featuring the title character: The Buckled Bag, Locked Doors, Miss Pinkerton, & Haunted Lady.

Mary Roberts Rinehart at a Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection Home Page, by Mike Grost

Rinehart, Mary Roberts at Golden Age of Detection Wiki

Locked Doors (Puertas cerradas) de Mary Roberts Rinehart

Descripción del libro: Una emocionante y apasionante historia de miedo, amenazas y misterio en la que la señorita Adams se enreda cuando juega el doble juego de enfermera y detective en una casa grande y misteriosa donde las puertas se mantinen bien cerradas por la noche.

Mi opinión: Seis meses después de que la señorita Hilda Adams resolviera, o ayudara a resolver, el misterio del bolso abrochado al Sr. Patton, el Sr. Patton quiere que acepte otro caso. El caso gira en torno a una enfermera que había trabajado cuatro días cuidando a los dos hijos pequeños del Sr. y la Sra. Francis M. Reed. Dicha enfermera se había marchado esa mañana después de unas tres horas de sueño en ese tiempo, tras haber estado encerrada en una habitación la mayor parte del tiempo y de comer poco más que galletas y leche. Ella pensó que era un caso para la policía.

Durante el tiempo que la enfermera Adams había estado trabajando para el Sr. Patton, había llegado a ver que el punto de vista del Sr. Patton era el correcto; si el criminal usa todos los medios contra la sociedad, ¿por qué no la sociedad contra el criminal? Al principio, había utilizado esto a modo de tregua con respecto a su formación ética de enfermera; ahora lo convirtió en su estandarte mental y moral.

No creo que sea necesario decir más para animarle a leer esta novela corta de Mary Roberts Rinehart que encontré gracias a un comentario en Facebook de Xavier Lechard. Quizás no estoy tan entusiasmado con este libro como él, pero sin duda ha despertado mi interés por leer más novelas de detectives de Rinehart. De todos modos, Locked Doors tiene una solución inesperada e inteligente que vale la pena leer. Lamentablemente no he podido encontrar una copia asequible de The Buckled Bag, pero ya tengo a Miss Pinkerton para leer en un futuro no muy lejano. Manténgase en sintonía.

Acerca del autor: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958). Escritora estadounidense, a la que a menudo se la llama la Agatha Christie estadounidense, aunque su primera novela de misterio precede a Christie’s en más de una década. Considerada como la inventora de la escuela de novelas de misterio ‘had I but know’ con la publicación de La escalera de caracol, a Rinehart también se le atribuye la creación de la expresión ‘the butler did it’ , que no se usa exactamente en su novela The Door (1930). Nacida Mary Ella Roberts en Alleghany City (ahora parte de Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania el 12 de agosto de 1876. Roberts se inscribió en la Escuela de Capacitación para Enfermeras de Pittsburgh a los 16 años y luego se casó con un médico, Stanley Marshall Rinehart, que conoció allí. La pareja tuvo tres hijos y durante la caída de la bolsa de valores de 1903 perdió todos sus ahorros. Para ganar dinero extra para la familia, Rinehart comenzó a escribir, a producir numerosos cuentos y a publicar su primera novela, La escalera de caracol, en 1907, que se convirtió en un éxito de ventas. Rinehart fue colaborador habitual de The Saturday Evening Post y fue corresponsal de la publicación durante la Primera Guerra Mundial en el frente belga. Después de someterse a una mastectomía radical por cáncer de mama, Rinehart lo hizo público y escribió un artículo ‘I Had Cancer’ para una edición de 1947 del Ladies Home Journal, en un momento en que los problemas médicos de las mujeres no se discutían abiertamente en público. Murió el 22 de septiembre de 1958 a la edad de 82 años en su apartamento de Park Avenue en la ciudad de Nueva York y está enterrada en el Cementerio Nacional de Arlington donde, según el sitio web oficial de Arlington, se la recuerda como:

Mary Roberts Rinehart, la primera mujer corresponsal de guerra de los Estados Unidos durante la Primera Guerra Mundial para el Saturday Evening Post; escribió novelas de misterio, como The Circular Staircase y The Bat; en 1921 era conocida como “La señora del misterio de los Estados Unidos”.

Muchas de las obras de Rinehart están disponibles en Proyect Gutenberg.

Rinehart compaginaría su formación como enfermera y la novela de misterio, en dos novelas cortas. “The Buckled Bag” (1914) y “Locked Doors” (1914) introducen a Hilda Adams, una enfermera que hace trabajos encubiertos para la policía y que es conocida popularmente como Miss Pinkerton. “The Buckled Bag” acumula misterio tras misterio antes de llegar a una resolución satisfactoria; es una de las obras más perfectas de Rinehart. “Locked Doors” no es tan buena, pero contiene algunas imágenes e ideas argumetales poderosas. (Mike Grost) Hilda Adams regresará en otros tres libros: Miss Pinkerton (1932) también conocida como The Double Alibi; The Haunted Lady (1942) secuela de Miss Pinkerton; y Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950) también conocida como Wandering Knife. A Book Club Edition (BCE) Miss Pinkerton: Adventures of a Nurse Detective (1959), contiene 4 historias con ella como protaginista: The Buckled Bag, Locked Doors, Miss Pinkerton y Haunted Lady.

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876 – 1958)

800px-Mary_Roberts_RinehartMary Roberts Rinehart, née Mary Roberts, (born Aug. 12, 1876, Allegheny [now in Pittsburgh], Pa., U.S.—died Sept. 22, 1958, New York, N.Y.), American novelist and playwright best known for her mystery stories. Mary Roberts graduated from the Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses in 1896. That same year she married physician Stanley M. Rinehart. She and her husband started a family, and she took up writing in 1903 as a result of difficulties created by financial losses. Her first story appeared in Munsey’s Magazine in 1903. The Circular Staircase (1908), her first book and first mystery, was an immediate success, and the following year The Man in Lower Ten, which had been serialized earlier, reinforced her popular success. Thereafter she wrote steadily, averaging about a book a year. A long series of comic tales about the redoubtable “Tish” (Letitia Carberry) appeared as serials in the Saturday Evening Post over a number of years and as a series of novels beginning with The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911). Rinehart served as a war correspondent during World War I and later described her experiences in several books, notably Kings, Queens and Pawns (1915). She produced as well a number of romances and nine plays. Most of the plays were written in collaboration with Avery Hopwood; her greatest successes were Seven Days, produced in New York in 1909, and The Bat, derived from The Circular Staircase and produced in 1920. She remained best known, however, as a writer of mysteries, and the growing popularity of that genre after World War II led to frequent republication of her works. Her most memorable tales combined murder, love, ingenuity, and humour in a style that was distinctly her own. Her autobiography, My Story, appeared in 1931 and was revised in 1948. At Rinehart’s death her books had sold more than 10 million copies. (Source: Britannica)

Picture: By Theodore C. Marceau – Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c08086, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=847269.

Many of Rinehart’s works are available through Project Gutenberg.

Recommended Works: The Man in Lower Ten (1906); The Circular Staircase (1907); The Confession (1917); The Wall (1938); Episode of the Wandering Knife (1943); and The Yellow Room (1945).

Recommended Reading: Jan Cohn’s Improbable Fiction: The Life of Mary Roberts Rinehart (1980) is a superb biography and critical study of Rinehart. It is jam packed with information, including a detailed bibliography listing the original magazine publications of all of Rinehart’s fiction. It is also remarkably readable.

Mike Grost on Mary Roberts Rinehart

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(Facsimile Dust Jacke, Grosset & Dunlap (Madison Square Book) (USA), 1908 reprint)

The Circular Staircase is a mystery novel by American writer Mary Roberts Rinehart. The story follows dowager Rachel Innes as she thwarts a series of strange crimes at a summer house she has rented with her niece and nephew. The novel was Rinehart’s first bestseller and established her as one of the era’s most popular writers. The story was serialized in All-Story for five issues starting with the November 1907 issue, then published in book form by Bobbs-Merrill in 1908. Rinehart was inspired to write the novel after a visit to Melrose, a Gothic Revival castle in Northern Virginia. The Circular Staircase pioneered what became known as the “had I but known” school of mystery writing, which often feature female protagonists and narrators who foreshadow impending danger and plot developments by reflecting on what they might have done differently. Rinehart employed this formula in many of her later works, and it inspired dozens of subsequent stories. The novel was adapted for the screen twice: as a silent film in 1915, and for the television series Climax! in 1956. Its best known adaptation was as the play The Bat, which became a major Broadway hit and inspired a number of later works, including several adaptations of its own. (Source: Wikipedia)