Monday, January 6, 2014

Praise for Rinehart

By Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958).
George H. Doran.
1922. 356 pages. $2.00
Online HERE and HERE.
To judge from these critics' enthusiastic reactions, Rinehart might as well have retired from writing after publishing this book (which today would be classed as a Gothic romance) because she would likely never do any better. Did she "transcend the genre" long before the term was invented? Brief excerpts below:
WITHOUT any question, "The Breaking Point" is the most thoroughly absorbing novel for sheer story value that I have read in months. Written with a sure knowledge of the technique of plot building, an unfailing use of the dramatic, a deft sense of characterization, and a clever interweaving of sentiment, it again assures us that Mrs. Rinehart has an increasingly intuitive vision. It is a mystery story, yes. It is a love story, yes. It will make an excellent moving picture, yes. But it is more than that, it is a vivid portrayal of the fact that each one of us has an inner self, another self, around which we learn to build up a screen—a screen through which we fear to have our neighbors look, a screen through which we are finally unable to look ourselves. — THE BOOKMAN (September 1922)
From thousands of hearts and homes the cry will go up this summer: Thank God for Mary Roberts Rinehart! — THE NEW REPUBLIC (August 23, 1922)
My last Mary Roberts Rinehart book of the year, and while it may not be what many would consider a true mystery, I couldn't be happier with ending the year on such a high note. . . .The Breaking Point is more of a Gothic like romance, with a tinge more mystery than would normally be suspected. Once again, and I should have know better by now, I wasn't expecting the focus to be on the personal relationships so much, but I didn't care. Mary Roberts Rinehart is so brilliant at creating characters and relationships between them, that I would be willing to read just about anything by her. — Ryan, WORDSMITHONIA (December 6, 2012)
Even a British reviewer can't refrain from bestowing faint praise upon THE BREAKING POINT:
Though we do not know if this novel has actually appeared in serial form, it has the ineradicable marks of such an origin. A recurrent state of irritation or suspense (a sort of seven-days' fever), an alternation of homely and adventurous incident, the whole soused in a wash of antiseptic emotion, mark the high-water of narrative skill as it is at present most appreciated. But there is certainly a pleasure in seeing anything efficiently done, and this, like most of the importations from America, is points ahead of our native product as regards workmanship. — THE SPECTATOR (4 November 1922)

Category: Detective fiction

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