A typically engrossing Rinehart: Strong female character, convoluted mystery, lots of foreshadowing. Avid mystery readers may guess at least part of the solution before it ends, and a few of the plot elements today seem hackneyed, but the characterization and atmospherics make up for the predictability.
The narrator, Rachel Inness, a well-to-do 50- or 60-something spinster, with her adult niece and nephew and personal maid, Liddy, rents a large house for the summer. Soon they begin to hear strange bumps in the night. Then a man is shot at the foot of the house's circular staircase. He turns out to be the unpleasant and estranged son of the home's owners, and when it becomes apparrent that her neice and nephew knew him, Rachel is left wondering whether one of them is the murderer, while Liddy is sure the house is haunted.
Sometime cub reporter Penny Parker, only daughter of the editor and publisher of the Riverview Star, goes off on a skiing trip alone, her father detained by a disastrous libel suit against the paper. There she encounters the man suing her father, who's clearly involved in something illicit. As Penny tries to find out what, she's hampered by a conceited rival reporter determined to get the scoop.
This sort of young adult novel is a period piece, like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I can't imagine it would hold much interest for the youth of today, but if you have a nostalgic enjoyment of the juvenile novels of yore, this is as well written as any. It's very clearly a girls' book -- even Penny's rival is a girl, and no male is involved to save the day. There's not even a love interest. Refreshing.
What starts out as a cynical and brittlely humorous look at New York society and its arch and mercenary women segues into maudlin, unlikely romance. Trapped into an engagement with a woman he barely knows, a wealthy young man struggles to extricate himself.
Fast-paced mystery with the intriguing character of Barbara Wallace, a lightning calculator.
When a million dollars disappears from a bank, young Worth Gilbert, just home from the World War I battlefields, bids on a cha to find the colorless bank teller who disappeared with it. He'll pay the bank $800,000 -- with the right to keep it all if he catches the thief with the missing funds. He brings in Boyne, the bank's private detective and the novel's narrator, and Barbara, his childhood friend, to help. Along the way, he's accused of having stolen the money himself and, ultimately, of murder.
The solution is surprising, the characterizations well done and the story moves along. The only drawbacks are a few loose ends that aren't tied up in the conclusion, and some ugly ethnic slurs common to the period.