The Circular Staircase

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The first novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart, America’s queen of crime

This is the story of how a middle-aged spinster lost her mind, deserted her domestic gods in the city, took a furnished house for the summer out of town, and found herself involved in one of those mysterious crimes that keep our newspapers and detective agencies happy and prosperous.

So says Rachel Innes, the spinster in question and one of the most remarkable heroines in American crime fiction. With the irresistible encouragement of her niece Gertrude and nephew Halsey, whom she raised after her brother’s death, Rachel ignores her better judgment and rents Sunnyside, a sprawling Elizabethan mansion owned by a bank president, for the summer.

The first night passes peacefully. In the morning, the entire staff quits. Late the third night, a sinister figure lurks outside the patio window and Rachel hears a heavy crash on the circular staircase at the east end of the house. The fourth night brings a dead body.

From there, things only get worse. The dead man turns out to be Arnold Armstrong, ne’er-do-well son of the owner of Sunnyside. Aunt Rachel has never seen him before, but Gertrude and Halsey knew him all too well. When the investigating detective directs his attention to her niece and nephew, Aunt Rachel decides to solve the murder herself—and walks straight into a web of deceit and treachery so intricate she might never find her way out.

This ebook features a new introduction by Otto Penzler and has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
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About the author

Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876–1958) was one of the United States’s most popular early mystery authors. Born in Pittsburgh to a clerk at a sewing machine agency, Rinehart trained as a nurse and married a doctor after her graduation from nursing school. She wrote fiction in her spare time until a stock market crash sent her and her young husband into debt, forcing her to lean on her writing to pay the bills. Her first two novels, The Circular Staircase (1908) andThe Man in Lower Ten (1909), established her as a bright young talent, and it wasn’t long before she was one of the nation’s most popular mystery novelists.
Among her dozens of novels are The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911), which began a six-book series, and The Bat (originally published in 1920 as a play), which was among the inspirations for Bob Kane’s Batman. Credited with inventing the phrase “The butler did it,” Rinehart is often called an American Agatha Christie, even though she began writing much earlier than Christie, and was much more popular during her heyday. 
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3.8
17 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
May 27, 2014
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Pages
270
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ISBN
9781480493858
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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