A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Friday, August 12, 2016
8/12/1876 Had she but known
August 12 1876. Mary Roberts Rinehart was born this day in Pennsylvania. In 1907 she wrote The Circular Staircase, a mystery novel that sold more than a million copies. She was a prolific and highly successful writer but is perhaps best known today as a creator of the "Had I But Known" school of suspense. She is also credited/blamed for the cliche "the butler did it," although that phrase does not appear in her novel in which the butler, in fact, did.