Tuesday, February 16, 2010

57 Books from the University Book Sale: Book 49

Title: The Frightened Wife (Dell D154, 1st ptg, 1955)
Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart
Cover artist: William Rose

Yours for: $6

  • Little known fact: when frightened, wives produce mysterious jagged white auras.
  • I think she's rather beautiful. I especially love her hair, even if it is that weird, champagne-pink color that could only come from a bottle. A bottle from the '50s.

  • I get that she was kind of a big deal, but "acknowledged first lady of American fiction?" That's pushing it. Unless this "fact" was simply "acknowledged" by some drunk guy at a Dell Publishing New Year's Eve party.

Page 123~

The detective slid the bottle into his pocket and changed the subject abruptly.

Now that's a sentence.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

10 comments:

L. said...

If you look at the very, very beginning of the 20th century's bestseller lists, Rinehart was usually on it. (And I do enjoy her work.) So at one time I would say that yes, she was the first lady of American fiction. Of course, that would mean that later on we'd have to acknowledge such "giants" as Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele as also first ladies of fiction. But we don't want to do that, do we.

Deb said...

MRR was the master (mistress?) of the "If I had but known what awaited me when I first set foot in Mrs. Bloggs's boarding house..." school of fiction. Extremely popular in the first half of the 20th century; hardly even remembered today.

Sic transit gloria mundi...

Alix said...

Cover: whatever she's wearing, I hate it

Back: "one of the most powerful mystery writers of all time" -- what was she, a wizard?

Marla said...

Mary Roberts Rhinehart is wearing eyebrows cut out from black construction paper.

Generally I don't hold with criticizing people's appearance, but this must be noted.

Also: head aura is what happens when the art director decides at the last minute to put the artwork on a black, instead of white, background, and 1955 graphic artist grumbles "Hey mofo, Photoshop won't be invented for another 35 years. Screw it."

Term paper said...

I learned a lot of new things, even though I already know and read a lot about topics that are discussed in the Article.

schatzi said...

Nooooo, it's supposed to be a veil! No, really! It's art.

Kirk said...

Coincidentally (if there ARE coincidences), the day after this was posted, Shorpy.com posted a photo of Mary Roberts Rinehart's "media room" ca. 1926.

Kirk said...

The link, which should have been posted above, is here: http://www.shorpy.com/node/7744

Elaine said...

@Rex
You definitely need to upgrade to better champagne.

Michael5000 said...

Institution, huh? Never heard of her. But I see that the local library has several of her books, most in demographically suggestive large print, as well as a biography of her, a movie based on one of her books, and something called "Tish : Mary Roberts Rinehart's most popular stories made into a gay and exciting comedy in three acts." Couldn't have made THAT up.

In the absence of "The Frightened Wife," I'm going to check out... let's see... "The Circular Staircase." We'll see what happens.