Friday, September 26, 2014

Thorsday Book Review: The Yellow Room

Mary Roberts Rinehart would have been a remarkable woman, indeed, a remarkable man, at any time.  She was the wife of a wealthy doctor who lost most of his net worth in the stock market crash of 1903.  She began writing, publishing 45 short stories in the next few years, and her first novel in 1908, which earned her the amount her husband had lost, about $100,000, in the next year.  She was considered the "American Agatha Christie", and wrote many books and plays.  One of the interesting things about her books is that they are all written at the time in which they are set, providing us with interesting glimpses of life in a time long gone.

(It's the top book; I bought it back in May, at a used book sale.)

by Mary Roberts Rinehart
copyright 1945

Carol Spencer, polished young lady from New York, is aboard a train for Newport, Rhode Island, with her mother.  They will be visiting with Carol's sister and her family for a few days, after which Carol will leave to open the family's summer house in Maine a few weeks before everyone else joins her.  Carol had not expected to return to Maine again, since her fiance had been killed in the war, but her mother urged her to carry on.  So off to Maine Carol went with her maid in tow.  The housekeeper and groundskeeper seemed to be otherwise occupied, and the house wasn't ready for her.  After she got into the house, Carol discovered that the yellow bedroom was locked; inside it was the body of a young woman.  Who was she, and why was she in Carol's house?  The townsfolk were behaving strangely; why?  And her late fiance's father was also acting peculiarly; again, why?  Set in the midst of World War II, this was a fine mystery.  5/5

As a side note, I wonder if we don't remember Mrs. Rinehart's name the way we remember Agatha Christie because she didn't have recurring detectives such as Poirot or Miss Marple.  Each of her stories has its own distinct cast of characters and settings, making it harder for her to remain in the public eye for nearly 100 years, as Agatha Christie has.  Interesting.

Now, in case anyone is interested, I have two copies of the book.  I'll send one to someone!  Tell me why you want it, and I'll choose a name next Thorsday!

Happy Friday, everyone!


Audrey said...

I would love a copy of this book, because I love learning about a time period by reading a book set in that time. I think it presents history in a very interesting manner. Thanks Marjie!

SissySees said...

It sounds fascinating, but you have been so kind and sent me books before... and I have a host of books to be read anyway.

Pam said...

Sounds like a great read!

altadenahiker said...

Astute observation re: enduring serials. I suspect you're right.

Dexter said...

Oh that sounds like a good one!