In 1876, Mary Roberts Rinehart was born in what is today known as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rinehart’s bibliography spans pages, as she penned essays, plays, and short-stories on top of both fiction and non-fiction writings. A quick peek at her works that have been adapted to the big screen takes up almost as much space as her written work.
A mystery novelist in her own right, she is called the American Agatha Christie. Unlike many of her “lost” contemporaries, Rinehart’s work is still in print. She turned to writing in 1903 as a result of financial woes. Some of her most popular books today are The Circular Staircase (1908), Miss Pinkerton (1932), and The Album (1933), along with many anthologies that hold around 4 of her detective fiction novels. The Circular Staircase is the work that brought her critical acclaim. The last wrote she book, which predated her death by 5 years, was a short-story collection titled, The Frightened Wife and Other Murder Stories (1951). The following year, this collection won an Edgar Award.
Today, her Pittsburgh home still stands on 954 Beech Avenue — a 3 minute walk from Gertrude Stein’s home that she lived in as a newborn.