cover image The Haunted Lady

The Haunted Lady

Mary Roberts Rinehart. Penzler, $15.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-613161-60-9

In this twisty and atmospheric whodunit from Rinehart (1876–1958) featuring astute nurse and police ally Hilda Adams, Hilda’s friend Inspector Fuller, who believes Hilda “can see more with those blue eyes of hers than most of us could with a microscope,” wants her to help an elderly widow, Eliza Fairbanks. Mrs. Fairbanks claims her house has been invaded by animals. Her account is supported by her granddaughter, and Hilda agrees to join the household as the woman’s nurse to keep an eye on things. Her charge reveals that someone previously put arsenic in her sugar bowl, bolstering the theory that the current campaign, which includes odd noises at night, is also aimed at bringing about Mrs. Fairbanks’s untimely demise. Things turn violent when a member of the household is stabbed to death in a locked room. The capable Hilda proves herself to be a savvy sleuth with superior powers of observation. Rinehart keeps the pages turning without stinting on characterization. First published in 1942, this reissue is a worthy addition to the American Mystery Classics series. (Apr.)