Monday, November 18, 2013

"A Million Dollars' Worth of Somebody Else's Diamonds in Your Stocking"

DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND.
By Jane Bunker.
Bobbs-Merrill.
1913. 387 pages. $1.25

Full review from THE OUTLOOK (September 20, 1913):
This is a story of crime and mystery resembling to some extent the work of Mrs. Rinehart, in that the story is told by a middle-aged single woman who sees the humorous side of things even in the troubles in which she becomes involved through no fault of her own. The book is amusing as well as exciting, and thus it belongs to the new type of crime-story; the old type, as with the tales of Anna Katherine Green, was intensely lugubrious.
Full review from THE NATION (October 2, 1913):
"I now have a very simple recipe for a jaded one who wishes to gather the quintessence of excitement in an evening: Just rush out of a house where somebody is about to be arrested and make your way from Sixty-somethingth Street and West End Avenue to a Hundred and Forty-fifth Street in the dead of night with a million dollars' worth of somebody else's diamonds in your stocking!"—The publishers tell us, with the superfluous cunning of their trade, that a great and well-known lady of the pen masquerades under the name of "Jane Bunker."
Does Mrs. Rinehart, of Pittsburgh, suppose that the possessor of this "very simple recipe for a jaded one" could be any other compounder of detective thrills and merry delights than the author of "The Circular Staircase" and "The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry"?
And, in the sentence quoted, she has been kind enough also to furnish the jaded reviewer with his recipe. 
The old maid of the story finds herself in just the situation described, and the fun of the thing is to see how she defends herself and the diamonds against stratagem and siege until the mystery of the ownership is solved.
Not the least original feature of the plot is the introduction of a reporter who is not wiser than Sherlock Holmes and stronger than Sandow.
As for "Jane Bunker" being the author of THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE in disguise, we have this (THE EVENING NEWS, Providence, R.I., October 10, 1913):
IMPORTANT NOTICE
The impression has unfortunately been created that Mary Roberts Rinehart, writing under the name of Jane Bunker, is the author of a recently published novel entitled 'Diamond Cut Diamond.' Mrs. Rinehart's publishers, however, declare that she did not write the story, that she knew nothing of the manuscript until it appeared in book form, that she does not know the identity of Jane Bunker, and that she is not writing fiction or anything else uder [sic] a pen-name. If there is a way, the publishers add, by which this denial can be made more emphatic, they will gladly follow it.
The "shrewd guessers" will have to guess again. "Jane Bunker" is a woman, she is the author of a number of books more serious in their intention than 'Diamond Cut Diamond,' she has previously written popular fiction under still another nom de plume, she is clever and brilliant and she is either married or single, but she is not Mary Roberts Rinehart.
Avowedly not the author of DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND.
This notice is also reproduced here. See Mike Grost's extensive article about Rinehart.
DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND is apparently intact online.

Category: Detective fiction

1 comment:

  1. Based on family archives I've recently run across Jane Bunker was the nom de plume of Marion Hamilton Carter who wrote for McClure's.

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