From Out the Vasty Deep by Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

‘D’you mean you actually saw what you took to be a ghost?” “I did see a ghost, ma’am; not a doubt of it She walked up and down that room in there, wringing her hands all the time — I’d heard the expression, ma’am, but I’d never seen anyone do it.’

“Twasn’t till today that one of the village people, the woman at the general shop and post office, let on that Wyndfell Hall was well known to be a ghosty place.’

First published in 1920 as From the Vasty Deep and published as From Out the Vasty Deep in 1921

This is a classic tale of astral-projection, seances, and the supernatural among British high society. Apart from the annoying name of one the lead characters, Bubbles- my goodness what a name!, this was a jolly good romp thru a haunted English manor house! Two dead wives and hot on the trail of landing another wealthy one, Lionel Varick is an all round good guy. Seems no one can say a word against him. But the ghosts that seem to follow him around don’t seem to happy! It’s the Christmas holiday and an odd assortment of people have been invited. On the first night Bubbles suggests a seance. She seems to have ‘the gift’. Well, that stirs up the nest and a great storyline begins! There is romance, mystery and ghosts, what more could you ask for?

You can get this free in ebook format here if your interested and read another review of it @ Valli’s Book Den.

Peggy Ann

Fridays Forgotten Books


Anna Katharine Green was regarded as the mother of American detective stories and distinguished herself by writing well plotted, legally accurate stories. She was born in Brooklyn N.Y. November 11, 1846 to Catharine Ann Whitney and James Wilson Green. Her father was a lawyer and no doubt had an influence on her writing. She is most famous for her first novel, The Leavenworth Case, published in 1878, praised by Wilkie Collins and regarded as the first American Bestseller. She is credited with shaping detective fiction into its classic form, and developing the series detective. Her main character was detective Ebenezer Gryce of the New York Metropolitan Police Force, but in three novels he is assisted by the nosy society spinster Amelia Butterworth, the prototype for Miss Marple, Miss Silver and other creations. She also invented the ‘girl detective’: in the character of Violet Strange, a debutante with a secret life as a sleuth.

Anna originally wrote poetry, romantic verse, and corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson. But when her poetry failed to gain recognition she turned to writing detective novels. Lucky for us!

In 1884 Anna married aspiring actor and stove designer, Charles Rohlfs. When his career in acting didn’t take off he became an internationally known furniture designer. She and Charles had 3 children, Rosamunde, Roland and Sterling. They settled in Buffalo NY in the late 1880’s and Anna died at home at the age of 88  on April 11, 1935.

She published around 40 books in her successful career. Many of them are available for free in ebook format. See my previous post I’m on a Binge for links to places you can obtain copies! Here are a list of some of them…

  • The Leavenworth Case (1878) 
  • A Strange Disappearance (1880)
  • Hand and Ring (1883)
  • The Mill Mystery (1886)
  • Behind Closed Doors (1888)
  • Forsaken Inn (1890)
  • Marked “Personal” (1893)
  • Miss Hurd: An Enigma (1894)
  • The Doctor, His Wife, and the Clock (1895)
  • The Affair Next Door (1897)
  • Lost Man’s Lane (1898)
  • Agatha Webb (1899)
  • The Circular Study (1900)
  • The Filigree Ball (1903)
  • The House in the Mist (1905)
  • The Millionaire Baby (1905)
  • The Woman in the Alcove (1906)
  • The Sword of Damocles (1909)
  • The House of the Whispering Pines (1910)
  • Initials Only (1911)
  • Dark Hollow (1914)
  • The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow (1917)
  • The Step on the Stair (1923)

I found this site with all things Anna Katharine Green that might interest you, and Mystery Scene Mag has a really good article here. Mystery Scene is a great site for mystery lovers!

Here is a fun photo from the past! A billboard as you enter the city of Buffalo NY in honor of Anna.

I just finished ‘The House in the Mist‘ (It also includes another book ‘The Ruby and the Caldron’). My first Anna Green book. I would call it a short story. It was only 67 pages. A stranger traveling on cold and misty night comes upon a light and discovers a house with an open door (we are never given his name). He ventures over hoping for an Inn or Tavern to come in out of the night and get a bite to eat. The house seems empty, but as he approaches the door a man comes hurrying out and rushes past him. The stranger calls to him if there is a meal and shelter available and the man calls back “Just go in, the meal is at 9” . He enters the house and soon after people begin coming in. He discovers he is at a gathering for a will to be read. The lawyer says that a stipulation is that they must not have anything untoward in their lives, a sin, or evil deed. If they do they are exempt and will not inherit and can leave now. In this rough, greedy bunch the one kind, soft looking woman in the group stands and says she cannot be included then and opens her coat and shows an infant in her arms. She is unmarried. She leaves. The stranger is finally called upon to identify himself and then asked to remove himself from the room. He goes up a set of dark stairs and discovers he can hear the proceedings clearly thru the door so stays to listen in. I thought oh we know how this ends, the honest girl who left will be the one to get the inheritance because she was honest. This is a pretty predictable tale here. Boy was I wrong! I never would have guessed the ending in a million years! And that’s all I’m gonna say :=) The whole tale is told by the stranger as a bystander.

Forgotten Books Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Patty Abbott over at Pattinase. Check over there and see what other forgotten books and authors other people are reading!

‘The Man in Lower Ten’ by Mary Roberts Rinehart

click on image to purchase

Another fine who dunnit by a master mystery writer! I always enjoy Ms. Rinehart’s stories and this one was no exception. Written in 1909 and set in Pittsburgh PA. (her hometown) and Washington D.C. we have a murder on a train. I loved the train aspect of this mystery!

In this mystery we have a rich plot with 3 suspects. Attorney Blakely is traveling from Pittsburgh back to Washington DC via the train. He purchases a ticket for a berth in the Pullman car Ontario, lower ten. He is carrying in his case forged papers that he has just had verified as forgeries. He can’t let these papers out of his sight as they are vital to a conviction in the case he is working on. When he gets to his berth, Lower Ten, someone else is sound asleep in it and he can’t get him to wake up. The Porter has him use another berth. So imagine the scene, old fashioned Pullman car, sleeping berths, hot summer temperatures, no air conditioning, overcrowded, very important legal papers that could determine a man’s future freedom, a mix-up in who is sleeping where… Now throw in – When Blakely wakes up in the morning he is not in the berth he went to sleep in, his case with the papers is replaced with a different case and the man asleep in Lower Ten is dead! In the berth Blakely wakes up in is the dead man’s wallet and the knife that killed him! But that’s not all throw in a beautiful mysterious girl and the train wreck shortly after the murder is discovered!  Are you hooked yet?

Characters you can really like and root for and a superb who dunnit. I did not figure out who did it. It was a complete surprise! See if you can figure it out!

I loved it!

Mary Roberts Rinehart and ‘The Great Mistake’

When lovely Pat Abbott first came to the Wainright estate, she was touched by a faint, ominous chill. She had heard strange rumors about the fabulous mansion, rumors that seemed to fade in he dazzle and excitement of her new job.’Then, as the days passed, Pat came to know the odd assortment who lived in the mansion…slowly the forgotten stories began to take on new, more terrifying meaning…until suddenly her dream job had turned into a bizarre nightmare of violence and murder.
Mary Roberts Rinehart 
presents a unique mystery novel that weaves 
romance and suspense into a chilling tragedy-of-errors.

The Great Mistake by Mary Roberts Rinehart was a great who dunnit! I never even got close to figuring it out.  This novel was published in 1940 (follow the link to a complete list of her works with publication dates). Set in a rambling, eccentric mansion, The Cloisters, and full of interesting, suspicious characters this novel weaves a large web of mystery and suspense. Three murders, one mysterious attack and subsequent missing person and romance, this novel has it all!
Pat Abbott goes to work for Maud Wainwright as her live-in personal secretary. Not long after she starts work there a mysterious attack on Evan, the night watchman, occurs. His pants and his keys to Cloisters is missing! Things start moving fast from that point with Maud mysteriously coming home from an outing frail and nervous with a weak heart. Now pretty much bedridden. What happened that day as she was riding home in her car? What did she see that so shocked her?  Maud’s wayward, money hungry daughter-in-law shows up unexpectedly and moves back in with no intention of leaving anytime soon. A man who had run off years ago with a young girl returns home sick and ends up dead beside Maud’s pool. Evan, the watchman goes missing from his hospital room. Tony, Maud’s son, is falling for Pat, but there is that no good wife back and refusing to divorce and threatening to expose a big secret. Then there is the secret emergency meetings Maud has with her family attorney. Hmmm, lots of intrigue going on at the Cloisters. Great name for a mansion isn’t it!? This story is told by Pat Abbott in recollection fashion as she writes a novel about the happenings at The Cloister. If you love Mary Roberts Rinehart you don’t want to miss this one!
Mary Roberts Rinehart was born in Pittsburgh Pa., just 40 miles south of me, on August 12, 1876. She attended nursing school at 17 and married Dr. Stanley Rinehart at 19. They had 3 boys together. I found some very interesting facts about Mary on my search this morning for the date The Great Mistake was published and thought I would share these links with you!
Mary spent many, many summers in her cottage in Bar Harbor Maine (one of my favorite places in all the world is Maine! I have been to Bar Harbor several times) She loved to sit on top of Cadillac Mountain in the Acadia National Park with her son (if you’ve never been to Cadillac Mt. you have to make it a point to go!). While at her cottage one summer a very interesting experience happened to Mary that could have been right out of her novels! Check it out!
Also found out that Mary is buried at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband who was in the medical corp. Will definitely have to check out her stone next trip there!

Miss Pym Disposes

This is my first book by Miss Tey and I was hooked on her right from the get go! She has a wonderful way of writing, the way she describes every thing is very appealing. Here is a sample, the first paragraph in the book…

‘A bell clanged. Brazen, insistent, maddening.
Through the quiet corridors came the din of it, making hideous the peace of the morning. From each of the yawning windows of the little quadrangle the noise poured out on to the still, sunlit garden where the grass was grey yet with dew.
Little Miss Pym stirred, opened one doubtful grey eye, and reached blindly for her watch. There was no watch. She opened the other eye. There seemed to be no bedside table either. No, of course not; now she remembered. There was no bedside table; as she had found last night. Her watch had had of necessity to be put under her pillow. She fumbled for it. Good heavens, what a row that bell was making! Obscene. There seemed to be no watch under the pillow. But it must be there! She lifted the pillow bodily, revealing only one small sheer-linen handkerchief in a saucy pattern of blue and white. She dropped the pillow and peered down between the bed and the wall. Yes, there was something that looked like a watch. By lying flat on her front and inserting an arm she could just reach it. Carefully she brought it up, lightly caught between the tips of first and second fingers. If she dropped it now she would have to get out of bed and crawl under for it. She turned on her back with a sigh of relief, holding the watch triumphantly above her.
Half-past five, said the watch. Half-past five!’ 

The actual murder doesn’t even happen until chapter 16 but you never even notice as the story is good enough on its own. The ending was great! Very satisfying read give it 4 stars

The Mysterious Key and What It Opened

Louisa May Alcott wrote this mystery in 1867. It is a real departure from the books she is best known for. It was a decent little mystery. Fairly short, read it in one afternoon. It keeps your interest and makes it hard to put down and before you know it you are done! The characters were fairly simple didn’t really hook me but the story was intriguing and you just had to find out what in the world had happened that was so terrible and what the key opened. I would recommend it and give it 3 stars