Episode of the Wandering Knife by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Crime Fiction Alphabet – Letter W
Check it out at Kerrie’s Mysteries in Paradise

Another great book by Mary Roberts Rinehart! This one has 3 stories in it. Two longer and one short. One is a Hilda Adams story, there are a total of 5 featuring her.

The first story is The Wandering Knife and it is 114 pages long. I read it in one day. Couldn’t put it down. Judy’s mother had a huge party, one last fling in the family mansion before the government took over as she had offered it to them for use as a convalescent home. This is set during World War II. Because the Mayor was there they had very tight security. Yet when her son Larry went home to his house on the estate he found his wife dead in the hallway. Murdered. And so begins the journey of the wandering knife. Literally. The murder weapon in this case is a hunting knife and it goes on some strange ramblings. Just never know where or how it is going to pop up next! Will the police finally get it? Who would want Isabel, a sweet and innocent girl by all accounts, dead? What is the chain and tassle found underneath her all about? Who is the strange man her chauffeur saw her meet in the park on numerous occasions? What really was going on between her and her first love Donald Scott? How does the little lady in the purple hat, who brought the knife back once, fit into this? And just who is this Tony King who keeps showing up with info and questioning Judy, yet protecting her at the same time? Will there be more murders? Will there be romance?

Great plot, great delivery and great characters!

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‘The Man in Lower Ten’ by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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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!