In this twisty whodunnit from "the grand dame of American crime fiction" (CrimeReads), the murder of a wealthy widow brings the secrets of her aristocratic neighbors to light
Even in the early 1930s, Crescent Place is a neighborhood out of the past. The five Victorian mansions and the remote patch of pasture placed between them have the air of the 1890s, even as the city—once miles away from this idyllic retreat—encroaches and surrounds the enclave. But while these rarified residences may appear calm on the outside, their isolated interiors contain dark secrets, prolonged feuds, and generations of high-toned trouble.
In these houses are a husband and wife who fight constantly, and another couple who hasn’t spoken to each other in two decades. There is a widow in permanent mourning and a daughter whom the newspapers call psychotic. And there is a bedridden old woman who is about to be killed with an ax.
When her murder shatters the well-mannered quiet of the cul-de-sac, the tabloids delight in trumpeting Crescent Place’s peculiarities. But as the search for the killer intensifies, it becomes clear that the area’s strangest secrets have yet to be revealed.
A suspenseful mystery enriched by sly social satire and set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, The Album is a memorable whodunnit from one of the most beloved and best selling authors of the Golden Age era.
About the Author
Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958) was the most beloved and best-selling mystery writer in America in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Pittsburgh to the owner of a sewing machine factory, she wrote fiction in her spare time until a stock market crash sent her and her husband into debt, forcing her to lean on her writing to pay the bills. Her first two novels, The Circular Staircase (1908) and The Man in Lower Ten (1909), established her as a bright young talent, and it wasn’t long before she was a regular on bestseller lists.Among her dozens of novels were The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911) and The Bat (1932), which was among the inspirations for Bob Kane’s Batman. Today, Rinehart is often called an American Agatha Christie, even though she was much more popular than Christie during her heyday.
Otto Penzler, the creator of American Mystery Classics, is also the founder of the Mysterious Press (1975); Mysterious Press.com (2011), an electronic-book publishing company; and New York City’s Mysterious Bookshop (1979). He has won a Raven, the Ellery Queen Award, two Edgars (for the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, 1977, and The Lineup, 2010), and lifetime achievement awards from Noircon and The Strand Magazine. He has edited more than 70 anthologies and written extensively about mystery fiction.
All Mary Roberts Rinehart mystery stories are good, but this one is better
— New York Times
[Rinehart’s] mysteries keep the reader guessing
— Strand Magazine
Rinehart’s exploration of the psychological effects of the repressed atmosphere of Crescent Place on its residents elevate this beyond a clever closed-circle puzzle. This American Crime Classic is another meritorious revival of a now obscure talent.
— Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
This lengthy, engaging, complex mystery filled with odd but memorable characters and an unexpected ending, is well deserving of a revival.