The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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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.

For twenty years I had been perfectly comfortable; for twenty years I had had the window-boxes filled in the spring, the carpets lifted, the awnings put up and the furniture covered with brown linen; for as many summers I had said good-bye to my friends, and, after watching their perspiring hegira, had settled down to a delicious quiet in town, where the mail comes three times a day, and the water supply does not depend on a tank on the roof.

And then -- the madness seized me. When I look back over the months I spent at Sunnyside, I wonder that I survived at all. As it is, I show the wear and tear of my harrowing experiences. I have turned very gray -- Liddy reminded me of it, only yesterday, by saying that a little bluing in the rinse-water would make my hair silvery, instead of a yellowish white. I hate to be reminded of unpleasant things and I snapped her off. "No," I said sharply, "I'm not going to use bluing at my time of life, or starch, either."

About Mary Roberts Rinehart

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Mary Roberts Rinehart was born in the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania on August 12, 1876. While attending Allegheny High School, she received $1 each for three short stories from a Pittsburgh newspaper. After receiving inspiration from a town doctor who happened to be a woman, she developed a curiosity for medicine. She went on to study nursing at the Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses at Homeopathic Hospital. After graduating in 1896, she began her writing career. The first of her many mystery stories, The Circular Staircase (1908), established her as a leading writer of the genre; Rinehart and Avery Hopwood successfully dramatized the novel as The Bat (1920). Her other mystery novels include The Man in Lower Ten (1909), The Case of Jennie Brice (1914), The Red Lamp (1925), The Door (1930), The Yellow Room (1945), and The Swimming Pool (1952). Stories about Tish, a self-reliant spinster, first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and were collected into The Best of Tish (1955). She wrote more than 50 books, eight plays, hundreds of short stories, poems, travelogues and special articles. Three of her plays were running on Broadway at one time. During World War I, she was the first woman war correspondent at the Belgian front. She died September 22, 1958 at the age of 82.
Published July 1, 2004 by 148 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Nature & Wildlife, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Business & Economics, Law & Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality, Romance, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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