Saturday, December 5, 2020

The Circular Staircase - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Purchased 

Description:  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."

Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I feel like I read this ages ago but I remember nothing about it and I wanted to read a book by a classic American mystery author.

My Impression:  Oh this was fun!  Fast paced with a no nonsense main character and her rather dramatic hand wringing companion land in a house filled with strange noises and occurrences and even from time to time a dead body.

Rinehart's style walks a thin line between Gothic and streamlined, as well as practical and overwrought making it entertaining without ever feeling overdone.  The mystery really had me guessing up until the end though I must admit I did figure out a part of it early on.  My only complaint is that there are a decent number of minor characters that aren't particularly developed and at times it could be difficult to keep track of who was who.  She did offer a quick explanation if it's needed but it did pull me out of the story a time or two.  

Given this was published in 1908 it had a fresh feeling that kept me engrossed and enjoying it.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have several more Mary Roberts Rinhart books on my shelf and I can't wait to dig into them!

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy classic mysteries like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers then I really recommend this book.


  1. This sounds good. I've never read anything by this author.

  2. This sounds so good; in the mood for winter mysteries.

  3. Wow 1908 and its really lived up to what a modern reader looks for in a good mystery. And I always look for your "Really Liked It" rating!

  4. I so need to try this one! Glad you liked it!

  5. Wow, 1908? I think my great aunt had been born around that year.

  6. I'm not familiar with this author or mystery, but it sure sounds good! I will have to give it a try.