Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Bat - Classic Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:  Publisher

Description:  Neither threats nor unearthly sounds could budge Miss Cornelia from the isolated country mansion she shared with her pretty niece, hysterical maid, laconic butler, and the nice young man who just might be a fugitive. Even knowing that she was a prime target for the vicious, elusive killer known as The Bat didn't faze this spirited spinster. Miss Cornelia longed to play detective, and on a storm-swept night, she got her chance at the game -- and her turn at The Bat!
Genre: Mystery - Classic

Why I Picked This Book:  I'm trying to read more classic mystery authors.  

My Impression: This book is very similar to Rinehart's The Circular Staircase which was published in 1908.  There are overlapping names and a similar premise.  I haven't seen a clear answer on what exactly happened but it looks like after the success of The Circular Staircase Rinehart developped a play based on the book under the title of The Bat.  The play was also successful so the rewritten story became this book.  She was very clear to differeniate the two for licensing reasons and never fully confirmed that the The Bat is The Circular Staircase rewritten.

That said there is a lot of differences between the two.  From the beginning The Bat is chock full of a noir atmosphere and made for a fairly fast paced read.  I loved Miss Cornelia and Lizzie's hysteria was funny played off of Miss Cornelia's placid assumption of the events and the almost distanced thrill of being involved in an adventure.  There is a bit of hand wringing angst but not a surprising amount for the time this was published.  The ending did feel a bit disjointed as it all came together all at once but my questions were answered and I thoroughly enjoyed getting there.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely.  While the story in both books that I've read by this author have a similar plot the feel in both are completely different.  I'm looking forward to reading more from the author.

Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy books with a bit of a noir feel I think you'd enjoy this one.


  1. Avery Hopgood was the playwrite and I think that he was credited in some early editions of the book. Of course, I haven't seen the play, but I have watched both of the movies and I love Agnes Moorhead as Cordelia. The silent movie is fun, though.

  2. I always admire your classic reading. I think you are an expert now! Sounds like this one went well.

  3. I haven't been reading any of the classics but you are giving me so many ideas.

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