cover image Miss Pinkerton

Miss Pinkerton

Mary Roberts Rinehart. Penzler, $25.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-61316-269-9

First published in 1932, this clever entry in the American Mystery Classics series from Rinehart (1876–1958) introduces Hilda Adams, a nurse who uses her professional status to aid the police in an unnamed city that could be New York. The self-effacing lead doesn’t claim to be a detective, despite the Miss Pinkerton moniker bestowed on her by Inspector Patton; rather, she believes she just has “eyes to use and the chance to use them where the police could not.” Patton sends Miss Adams to the home of one of the city’s leading families, the Mitchells, where she finds distraught elderly Juliet Mitchell in need of nursing care and Juliet’s 24-year-old nephew, Herbert Wynne, dead from a gunshot. Miss Adams rejects the family doctor’s opinion that Wynne killed himself, and uses her role as Juliet’s nurse to gather more evidence. Readers should be prepared for some dated passages (“Like all women, I feel safer with a light,” Miss Adams says). Overall, this is an entertaining puzzle mystery that stands the test of time. (June)