Posts Tagged ‘maryrobertsrinehart’

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Interview with Ayisha Synnestvedt

February 9, 2016

Obviously I’m pretty excited about the idea of a miniseries of The Amazing Interlude, but we’ve all been burned by bad adaptations, and I thought it would be cool to have the creator of the project tell us a little more about how she went about adapting the book. I also wanted to give her a platform to talk about it more for an audience that’s read this book and others like than for one that has to be convinced that this is a good story.

Melody: Let’s start by talking about the book. What’s your favorite bit? Was there a scene that first made you start thinking about the story as a movie?

Ayisha: My favourite bit when I first read it as a young teen is the scene where, (not to give too much away, as it’s a pivotal scene), Sara Lee has put two and two together, and is crying face-down on her bed.  I remember figuring out the blocking for it as if I were a director working with actors.  I didn’t at that point think as far as realistically making it into a movie–that’s just what I’ve always done with books I like. This scene was definitely in my mind when I approached the book again a few years ago to see if it would work as a movie. These days, because I know the book well enough that if I listen to it I know which sentence comes next, my appreciation for different parts has evened out.  I have several favourite threads: the interaction of the King of the Belgians with others in the story, the mutual appreciation of men for women and women for men, Sara Lee’s cute attempts to learn and copy languages, the friendship between Jean and Henri. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Catching up, 2/5/16

February 5, 2016

It’s time for another clearing-out of things I’ve read recently, so I can write at greater length about one or two in particular.

The Phantom Treasure, by Harriet Pyne Grove

This story of an orphan discovering her long-lost family and moving into their home, which is historical and filled with secret passages and things, ought to be great. I just wish it had been written by Margaret Sutton or Augusta Huiell Seaman or someone. Jannet, the main character, gets fried chicken mailed to her at boarding school. She and a friend try on historical costumes in the attic. She finds a stash of notes written by her ancestors when they were being forced to host British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. I just wish the author had felt some kind of enthusiasm about any of those things. But since she didn’t, I couldn’t either.

Carolyn of the Corners, by Ruth Belmore Endicott

Run of the mill story about an orphan softening the heart of a cranky relative, by an author who has definitely read Pollyanna and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Probably other versions of the same trope, too, but those are the ones I’m sure about.

A Poor Wise Man, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

I’ve read this one before, but only once, probably because I’d already sort of read it as V.V.’s Eyes and The Clarion. Still, it’s Rinehart, and if you want to read a book about a rich girl in a growing city falling in love with an idealistic young social reformer, this one’s pretty good. Few authors understand better than Rinehart how attractive it is when a character combines strong emotion with massive amounts of restraint.

This is fun, this catching up thing. It’s better to write a bit about a bunch of books than to sit around feeling guilty about not writing about them, or to write about them at length and then never bother to type up the review, both of which are things I’ve been doing lately.

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Book sale haul, 5.11.13

May 11, 2013

This is the weekend of my favorite book sale. It’s  held by a small library upstate, very few books are over a dollar, and if you buy a $10 tote bag, you can take home as many books as will fit in it. And that, of course, is what I did.

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It's hard to tell in the picture, but this is a really big tote bag.

I usually limit myself to as many books as I can carry in my hands, so when my arms started to hurt, I went to check out. But once I’d gotten my books into my bag, the woman at the counter said, “you know, there are more books in the other building.” That was my downfall.

Anyway, here are the things I got, in reverse order as I unpack.

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I didn’t buy all the Nero Wolfe books — just the cuter, older paperbacks and In the Best Families because it’s In the Best Families. Apparently my cat likes Nero Wolfe too.

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Not the Felix Salten one with the deer, but the Marjorie Benton Cooke one with the people. The woman who helped me check out said she heard it was pretty racy, which seems unlikely, but I told her I would be pleased if that turned out to be the case.

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I keep meaning to try Mary Stewart. And at this point I had well over $10 worth of books, so these were basically free.

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Some miscellaneous paperbacks–One Hundred  and One Dalmatians  because my copy is missing pages, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold because I can’t find my mom’s copy, and a romance by Meredith Duran for no reason at all.

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This is the Mary Roberts Rinehart portion of the haul. All of these books are more battered than all of the other books, but who cares? I own a copy of K
now.

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This is the Ethel M. Dell portion of the haul. I…own a copy of The Way of an Eagle now. So, uh, that’s a thing.

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The last few miscellaneous things: Rose in Bloom, my favorite Alcott book I’ve never owned; Trustee from the Toolroom, which I buy whenever I find it so I can give it as a gift; and Brat Farrar, which I own a couple of times over, because this copy is super cute. I assume the girl in the sheet on the cover is Eleanor, but I don’t understand why.

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Reviews at EP: The Man in Lower Ten

February 19, 2011

February’s Edwardian Promenade guest post is on Mary Roberts Rinehart’s first mystery novel, The Man in Lower Ten. This is partly because I reread it when I was on that train murder kick earlier this month, and partly because I was just reading a (nonfiction) book in which Rinehart was continually being compared to Mary Higgins Clark, which seemed somewhat unfair.

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Bab: a Sub-Deb

September 8, 2010

For the first time, I have a real problem with Mary Roberts Rinehart. It has to do with her spelling.

No one really wants to read a book that’s misspelled all the way through. I mean, if you’re Daisy Ashford and you’re, like, eight, it’s excusable. But basically, unless you’re Russell Hoban, misspelling an entire book is don’t-try-this-at-home territory. And while Bab: a Sub-Deb is cute, Rinehart just…isn’t Russell Hoban, you know? Read at your own risk.

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The House of a Thousand Candles

May 5, 2010

Circumstances conspired to make me compare The House of a Thousand Candles to The Circular Staircase. First, I started reading them at the same time–the Rinehart on my Kindle, the Nicholson on my phone. Then, when I googled Meredith Nicholson, I came up with an article on Michael Grost’s Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection that explicitly compared the two. So most of the time that I was reading the Nicholson book, I was thinking about Rinehart. And I was expecting Nicholson to compare pretty badly.

The thing I’ve always said about Mary Roberts Rinehart–at least to myself–is that her best quality is her sense of humor. And apparently Rinehart agreed, saying that the problem with her competitors was a lack of humor. Mike Grost offers The House of a Thousand Candles as an example of those humorless competitors, but I think he’s being a little unfair. I can think of much worse offenders. Anna Katherine Green, for one. But because of Grost’s piece, I was expecting House of a Thousand Candles to be pretty bad, so I ended up being pleasantly surprised–and that’s not a bad thing to be. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Circular Staircase

April 29, 2010

I decided after my second Mary Roberts Rinehart book that I was a fan, and The Circular Staircase is, I think, my fifth. It might be the first one I read about, though, because Rinehart is remembered primarily as the originator of the Had-I-But-Known school of mystery fiction, and The Circular Staircase is the prime example.

Had-I-But-Known mysteries are the ones with first person narrators who are constantly saying things like “I would never have gone if I knew then what I know now,” and “this would prove to be important later” and other irritating things along the same lines — things that are apt to make readers who are caught up in the story…un-catch. Please, someone, give me a better way to phrase that. Anyway, it’s a style I wouldn’t want to encounter in the hands of any author with less of a sense of humor than Rinehart. She mostly makes it work, but I don’t think many others could. Read the rest of this entry ?