Originally published 1930
This edition, The Mary Roberts Rinehart Crime Book, 1957
I’m trying to read older crime novels more frequently, and I’ve heard of Mary Roberts Rinehart in a few places. This is the least melodramatic of the covers of Rinehart books I picked up at a garage sale recently, and this particular story wasn’t so engrossing. But given Roberts Rinehart’s huge output and the fact that I picked up a handful more of her books, I’m willing to try more of her books.
The Door is a quite melodramatic story about a significant number of murders in or near the home of spinster Elizabeth Jane Bell. The story is quite long, and the narration is quite matter of the fact. Elizabeth is honest from the beginning that the crimes she talks about are numerous and quite gruesome, but somehow the story didn’t feel like one that ratcheted up the spectacle too much. It’s a convoluted plot, and a week after I finished the book I’ve forgotten some of the details about motive, but it was an entertaining read. Maybe the length stands out to me because the story was originally serialized.
The book feels like a book of it’s era: it’s a bit casual about racism and sexism, and the main detail that makes it feel like an older book is that there’s a retired bootlegger living next door to Miss Bell. I’m looking for something that amps ump the “romance and intrigue” that so many of her book covers mention during my next Roberts Rinehart read.
Bev at My Reader’s Block also reviewed The Door. Here is a nice biographical piece about Roberts Rinehart: Mary Roberts Rinehart, America’s Agatha Christie, as well as a detailed post from Curtis at The Passing Tramp: Mary Roberts Rinehart, Golden Age Crime Queen.