Sight Unseen: And The Confession

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Review of Reviews Company, 1921 - Fiction - 307 pages

Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876 - September 22, 1958) was an American writer, often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel was published 14 years before Christie's first novel in 1920.


Rinehart is considered the source of the phrase "The butler did it" from her novel The Door (1930), although the novel does not use the exact phrase. Rinehart is also considered to have invented the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing, with the publication of The Circular Staircase (1908). (wikipedia.org)


Mary Roberts graduated from the Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses in 1896. That same year she married physician Stanley M. Rinehart. She and her husband started a family, and she took up writing in 1903 as a result of difficulties created by financial losses. Her first story appeared in Munsey's Magazine in 1903. The Circular Staircase (1908), her first book and first mystery, was an immediate success, and the following year The Man in Lower Ten, which had been serialized earlier, reinforced her popular success. Thereafter she wrote steadily, averaging about a book a year. A long series of comic tales about the redoubtable "Tish" (Letitia Carberry) appeared as serials in the Saturday Evening Post over a number of years and as a series of novels beginning with The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911).


Rinehart served as a war correspondent during World War I and later described her experiences in several books, notably Kings, Queens and Pawns (1915). She produced as well a number of romances and nine plays. Most of the plays were written in collaboration with Avery Hopwood; her greatest successes were Seven Days, produced in New York in 1909, and The Bat, derived from The Circular Staircase and produced in 1920. She remained best known, however, as a writer of mysteries, and the growing popularity of that genre after World War II led to frequent republication of her works. Her most memorable tales combined murder, love, ingenuity, and humour in a style that was distinctly her own. Her autobiography, My Story, appeared in 1931 and was revised in 1948. At Rinehart's death her books had sold more than 10 million copies. (britannica.com)


 

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About the author (1921)

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.

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