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review 2017-06-28 17:25
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

I read this as a buddy read, but went on vacation at about the halfway point. My hotel wifi was pretty worthless, so I wasn't able to login while I was Disneylanding - and Disneyland isn't really a place for internet activity, in any case, because by the time I'd get back to my room, I was so exhausted that I sort of just collapsed into bed!

 

Anyway, I quite liked this fun mystery. There is a lot going on, and I found the main character to be a hoot. She has very little instinct for self-preservation, and is a bit bumbling, but is also funny and brave and loyal. I did figure out some of the elements and had a pretty good idea of the solution before the reveal, but the complicated plotting was well-done. 

 

Mary Roberts Rinehart is sometimes referred to as an American Agatha Christie, but this book didn't read like Agatha to me, nor did the other book by her that I've read, The Window at the White Cat. Something about her writing style is peculiarly American, and there are hard-boiled qualities to it - she's not noir, but she is also not cozy.

 

A lot of Rinehart's books are in the public domain. My kindle version of The Circular Staircase only set me back $.99 - for readers who enjoy vintage mysteries, I'd recommend giving her a try.

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text 2017-06-27 02:33
Update!

I've had a crazy week or so - we took the kiddos to Disneyland, so I've been absent from BL and GR for days!

 

I did finish The Circular Staircase, but sort of petered out on the buddy read because my internet access was so sketchy. I ended up enjoying it a lot - I would definitely read more by Rinehart! I'm going to try to put my thoughts together in the next day or so!

 

I've been ignoring booklikes-opoly as well, but will likely roll again tomorrow!

 

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did last week!

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review 2017-06-24 00:20
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

This was a quaint old mystery, and the writing was suffused with a surprising amount of humour (it helped birth the “character sets pocket on fire with pipe” shelf). Originally published in 1908, the narrator is an elderly spinster who gets mired in a murder investigation when she leases a house in the country for the summer. The mystery had a lot of twisty bits but I got tired of the endless foreshadowing. That said, it was still a fun read, and I might seek out more of Rinehart’s books in the future.

 

I read this for booklikes-opoly Free Friday #1. I’ve seen different page numbers (I actually read the Gutenberg version), so I’m going with 192, which seems reasonable and nets me $4 for my bank (new total: $136).

 

Previous updates:

20 %

8 %

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review 2017-06-18 06:57
The Circular Staircase
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

My second read of this book and it's almost as good as the first.  

 

I continue to like Rachel; I'd like to think she comes closest to how I'd act in a parallel situation.  The humour held up too and I still marvel at Rinehart keeping all the plot points of her story straight.  I've read too many contemporary books that have half the plot complexity and holes you could drive a train through.

 

But the racism is still confronting enough to take me out of the story; Thomas might have been well respected by the characters, and the story a product of its time, but the descriptions and use of vernacular were the bruises on what would have been a perfect peach of a story in my time.  And on this second read, I marvelled at how anyone believed so pitiful a disguise could have worked so thoroughly for so long.

 

Still, this is a great story; a gem that shows some things transcend time (in this case almost 110 years): there have always been crafters of labyrinthine plots, there have always been strong women with resourceful intellects, and there is always a place for humour and wit, even in the most extraordinary circumstances. 

 

I'll continue to heartily recommend this book to lovers of a great mystery.

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text 2017-06-17 21:01
Buddy Read: Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

Who'd have thought this story even has elements of an action movie?

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