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The Circular Staircase (1908)

de Mary Roberts Rinehart

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8213519,876 (3.36)102
Short introduction: 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.… (més)
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» Mira també 102 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 35 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This was okay....I have the feeling that I would have enjoyed it more minus the uneven Librivox recording. There was a certain lack of satisfaction to the denument, also, as none of the culprits get to say their piece in a big reveal, Thin Man-style.

I'll probably listen to more MRR books, though, let's be honest. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
The Circular Staircase was Mary Roberts Rinehart's second mystery book. It has nothing to do with the classic horror/film noir movie 'The Spiral Staircase,' but it's still a very good story.

Sunnyside is a large country house rented for the summer by a spinster, Rachel Innes. For 13 years she's been the guardian of her late brother's children, Halsey (now 24) and Gertrude (now 20). They're the reason she rented the house. Miss Innes assures us that she's never reproached them for that, despite what happened. It certainly was no quiet summer!

The summer starts off well enough with Rachel and her servants moving to Sunnyside on May first. By May third all the servants but Liddy have left. The revolving servant problem will continue. Is the house haunted, as city born-and-bred Liddy thinks? Halsey and Gertrude show up later in Halsey's car, the Dragon Fly. It's 1908. There's a landline phone in the house and electricity -- but the Casanova Electric Company shuts off the power promptly at midnight. Good thing there are plenty of candles and oil lamps. Would you care to roam 22 rooms and 5 bathrooms in the dark, with just a candle, if you heard a strange rapping sound? Not I. The peace is already over by chapter 2. The first death -- murder or manslaughter? -- occurs before chapter 5. Of course the body is found at the bottom of the circular staircase.

NOTES:

Chapter I: Sunnyside is described. The circular staircase is outside the cardroom. There's a door to the east veranda in the hall to the staircase.

Chapter II: Liddy finds part of a fancy cuff link on top of the linen hamper.
Mention: Drummond's Spiritual Life, Joe Jefferson (actor Joseph Jefferson III), was noted for his portrayal of Rip Van Winkle.

Chapter VI: Sunnyside has a clothes chute for dirty laundry. My grandparents had one. No, we were not allowed to slide down it.

Chapter IX: Miss Innes compares their ancestry to the Armstrongs' -- and not in the latter's favor.

Chapter X: Bad news about the Traders' Bank in the days before federally insured deposits, thanks to Mr. Jacob Trautman, President of the Pearl Brewing Company. (Halsey explains how 80% of the stolen bonds' value could be realized.)

Chapter XI: Miss Innes mentions two rumors she's heard since the body was found.

Chapter XIII: Miss Innes compares Dr. Stewart, favorably, to Dr. Wainwright, the family practitioner of her youth.

Chapter XVII: We get the gist of the inquest.

Chapter XXII: It's probably the biggest fire the village of Casanova has seen in years. Miss Innes fires a revolver.

Chapter XXIX: Riggs, Dr. Walker's chauffeur, has some information he didn't learn from the 'Casanova Weekly Ledger'.

Chapter XXX: Miss Innes is paid the compliment of being asked to be a witness to an action not normally considered fit for a lady to see.

Chapter XXXII: We get Anne Watson's backstory.

Chapter XXXIII: Why the inhabitants of Casanova think it's bad luck to throw a stone at a black cat.

I like Rachel Innes, except for her beliefs about Blacks. Yes, expect the casual racism and dialect of the period, although no one is rude enough to use the N-word. There are two named Black characters in this book. If Thomas Johnston the old butler is superstitious, he's loyal. Sam Bohannon, hired from the Greenwood Club to help watch Sunnyside at night, is intelligent.

Sunnyside needs watching. I haven't bothered to keep track of how many times someone breaks in, but there are plenty. Three of the book's deaths occur in the house and what's going on led to the other two. No wonder Miss Innes is having trouble keeping servants. A good deal of trouble would have been saved if the various characters kept each other informed, but where would be the mystery in that?
I agree that The Circular Staircase deserves its classic mystery status.

Dog lovers are out of luck, but cat lovers get to enjoy a black cat named Beulah.

Horse lovers might enjoy the brief role of a horse named Flinders. ( )
  JalenV | Jul 10, 2020 |
I was not all that impressed with this novel. It is my first from this author, and I had heard great things about her writing. But for some reason, I found that there were way too many things going on in this novel to let me sit back and enjoy it as I wished I could have. It seemed to be frantically racing around in its narrative, and not figuring out much. There were slightly too many characters to keep track of, or maybe I'm just a little distracted lately, I don't know. But instead of being impressed with the author's writing skills, even for the year in which it was written, I was instead eager to be done with it.
I wasn't very happy with the racist views of the author, and made note to add this to my review. If you are put off completely by an author using such slurs as "the only good Indian is a dead Indian", and referring to African American people as "darkies", and other bad references to them, then please put this novel, and it's author aside. She is of an age where this kind of thing was used widely. It's entirely disgusting, but was done at this time period. While this did not make me throw the novel against the wall, it also didn't exactly give me good views about the author. Maybe this is what had soured me against the author, but I don't think so. I think it was more of the frantic pacing, the breathless "voice" of the main character, and the whole situation therein.
3 stars, and not recommended unless you want a VERY old fashioned jaunt into an older time period, with a strange and silly mystery thrown in.
( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Fun if you enjoy mentally shouting at the characters--secret room, they're looking for a secret room; don't go in there without propping the door open, etc. One of the founders of the "had I but known" schools of mystery writing, also should be known IMO as the "if I had a lick of sense."
  ritaer | Mar 23, 2020 |
Unlike most murder mysteries which have one murder and a long series of searches for the killer, this one had 5 deaths, a kidnapping, blackmail, an unwanted child, car wrecks, strange rappings in the walls, and secret rooms. The action never stopped and it was hard to put it down. ( )
1 vota LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Rinehart, Mary Robertsautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Berdini, MarinaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Burns, RebeccaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hardin, CindyNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Herzog, Hans M.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Penzler, OttoIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ralph, LesterIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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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.
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Short introduction: 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.

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Mitjana: (3.36)
0.5 2
1 8
1.5 1
2 8
2.5 6
3 59
3.5 20
4 41
4.5 5
5 18

Tantor Media

Tantor Media ha publicat 2 edicions d'aquest llibre.

Edicions: 1400102049, 1400110823

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