“I’m afraid. I’m afraid of this house. I’m afraid of every shadow and every sound. I’m afraid when the door opens; I think I’ll die during that split second when I see the door’s about to open and can’t see yet that it’s just a policeman. Or someone I know…”
From the outside, Rue’s life looks like a Cinderella story. The former nurse has married her boss, brilliant surgeon Brule Hatterick, after the death of his wife Crystal. But no one ever tells you what to do when the fairy tale goes wrong. Brule has married Rue out of convenience so that she can run his home and raise his teenage daughter in the same efficient way she runs the operating room. The household remains loyal to Crystal’s memory, however. Rue can’t seem to get a foothold with the servants and young Madge won’t even speak to her. Rue is painfully aware that she isn’t beautiful like Crystal. She doesn’t know her way around high society. And if her marriage to Brule is strictly business, how long is he going to keep her around if she can’t fulfill her side of the bargain?
Just when it seems her situation couldn’t get worse, Rue learns that police are investigating the death of Brule’s first wife. Rue was the nurse on duty when Crystal Hatterick died, and it would be very convenient for Crystal’s friends and family if an outsider were the killer. The clock is about to strike midnight. Rue’s happy ending is in danger…and so is her life. Continue reading “The Glass Slipper (1938) by Mignon G Eberhart”
“So this was murder. This was murder, and it happened to people one knew, and it did indescribable and horrible things to them. Frightened them first, perhaps. Fear of murder itself came first—simple, primitive fear of the unleashing of the beast. And then on its heels came more civilized fear, and that was fear of the law, and a scramble for safety.”
The Cases of Susan Dare collects the adventures of a young author who writes “murders…lovely, grisly ones with sensible solutions,” but doesn’t see why her fictional sleuths should have all the fun. Aside from her series detective, Nurse Sarah Keate, Mignon G. Eberhart’s work usually focuses more on romantic suspense than crime-solving, so it’s a nice change of pace to see both elements combined in these stories. Continue reading “The Cases of Susan Dare by Mignon G Eberhart (1934)”
“Your future is before you. Or, if you choose, it is already behind you.”
There’s no reason for Marny to feel so uneasy about this trip. After all, her boss, airline owner Tim Wales, has invited her to his family’s vacation home in Miami many times. She gets along well with his daughter Winnie and his much younger second wife Judith. It’s foolish to worry, but she does.
Maybe the reason has something to do with Andre Durant. The handsome stranger appeared in Marny’s life only a week ago, but she is strangely drawn to him. When they arrive in Miami, however, she starts to wonder just how much she knows about Andre. She’ll have even more cause to wonder when a dead body turns up on the Wales estate, the body of a woman with ties to Andre. But Marny’s nightmare is only beginning, for the description of the killer matches only one person—Marny herself. Continue reading “The White Dress (1946) by Mignon G. Eberhart”
“Murder had followed her; it had reached out toward her from the flying black shadows of the night. There was no reason, no motive, but the sheer fact of it was inescapable.”
It may look like Monica Blane is dancing at the Stork Club. In reality, she’s a million miles away—five years away, to be exact. That’s when the outbreak of war separated her from her friend Linda, and from John Basevi, the man she loved. Just as Monica begins to wonder if it is time to move on with her life, she receives an unexpected message from Linda. If Linda is still alive, then perhaps so is John.
The evening ends with a nightmarish discovery: a dead man in her apartment. She is soon on board a midnight plane to Mexico City, on her way to John with $10,000 cash tucked in her girdle. But what will Monica find when she arrives? Continue reading “Wings of Fear (1945) by Mignon G. Eberhart”
“Queer how few relatives were actually close. Queer how few friends one could actually go to and say: ‘I’ve just been involved in a murder.’ How few—why, there was no one! No one at all.”
Until today, Deborah never knew about the little house on the roof of her apartment building, accessible only by fire escape. Nor did she know about Mary Monroe, the reclusive former opera singer who lives there, surrounded by memories of the past. But a chance encounter with Mary leads to an invitation that will change both of their lives. The house on the roof is about to become a crime scene. Deborah has only seconds to decide: should she stay inside and be arrested for murder, or flee onto the roof where a killer still lurks in darkness? Continue reading “The House on the Roof (1935) by Mignon G. Eberhart”
“When this thing is over,” she said, “we’ll have to start getting an entirely new set of servants.”
The wedding went off without a hitch. Dorcas Whipple was resigned to the forced ending of her relationship with Ronald Drew and the hurried marriage of convenience to a suitable family friend. The guests know all about that. Most of them have seen this morning’s headlines, screaming of Ronald’s suicide on the eve of his beloved’s wedding. But none of them, not even her groom Jevan Locke, know that Dorcas was in Ronald’s apartment last night.
The bride allows herself a grim relief as the car pulls away from the church. Then, her new husband takes her in his arms. “I know you killed him,” he whispers.
Continue reading “Hasty Wedding (1937) by Mignon G. Eberhart”
“Later, after she’d turned out her light, Nan went to the window and looked out through the pines toward Haven. There was no light anywhere. But then you couldn’t see the lights in the house anyway. She thought fleetingly of the chintzes and books and cushions in the living room of the house on Haven as she had seen them Sunday night. Chintzes she had chosen—bookshelves she had planned. And never, selecting that chintz pattern, had thought of seeing it as an intruder. Seeing it on a dark, still night, with no one in the house and a canoe drifting on the lake.
She wondered when they would be arrested—she and Jerome—for the murder of his wife.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from classic crime, it’s that you should always, always give your husband a divorce when asked. Adultery, debt, blackmail, gambling…all of these are potentially survivable. Refusing a divorce is the only action that results in murder every single time.
Nan Bayne is finally returning to Tredinick Island, three years after her heart was broken there. That’s when she learned that her fiancé Jerome was in love with another woman. Jerome and Celia are married now, and the honeymoon is definitely over. All the neighbors agree that Celia “is a vixen…she’s rotten at the core.” Now she’s getting drunk with their teenage neighbor while Jerome canoodles with Nan on the beach. Divorce would be such a simple solution, but Celia doesn’t see it that way.
Needless to say, Nan decides to reason with her rival by rowing across the lake at midnight in the fog and breaking into her house. Celia isn’t at home, but someone or something seems to be lurking. A panicky Nan crashes her boat into an empty, yet suspiciously heavy, canoe. The next morning Celia’s body is found in the canoe. She’s been shot in the head. Her husband is nowhere to be found.
Continue reading “The Pattern (1937) by Mignon G. Eberhart”