There's A Will
Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)|
American novelist and playwright best
known for her mystery stories.
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.