Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876 – September 22, 1958) was an American writer, often called the American Agatha Christie, although her first mystery novel was published 14 years before Christie’s first novel in 1920.

Rinehart is considered the source of the phrase “The butler did it” from her novel The Door (1930), although the novel does not use the exact phrase. Rinehart is also considered to have invented the “Had-I-but-Known” school of mystery writing, with the publication of The Circular Staircase (1908).

Books in order of publication by series:

Novels

  • The Circular Staircase (1908) Adapted (with Avery Hopwood) for the stage as The Bat
  • The Man in Lower Ten (1909)
  • The Window at the White Cat (1910) Revision of The Mystery of 1122
  • When A Man Marries, or Seven Days (1910) Expansion of Rinehart’s 1908 novella Seven Days
  • Where There’s a Will (1912)
  • The Case of Jennie Brice (1913)
  • The Street of Seven Stars (1914)
  • The After House: A Story of Love, Mystery and a Private Yacht (1914)
  • K. (1915)
  • Bab, a Sub-Deb (1916)
  • Long Live the King! (1917)
  • The Amazing Interlude (1918)
  • Twenty-Three and a Half Hours’ Leave (1918)
  • Dangerous Days (1919)
  • A Poor Wise Man (1920)
  • The Truce of God (1920)
  • The Confession (1921)
  • The Breaking Point (1922)
  • The Red Lamp (1925) Alternate title The Mystery Lamp
  • The Bat (1926) Novelization of play, credited to Rinehart and Hopwood, but ghostwritten by Stephen Vincent Benét)
  • Lost Ecstasy (1927) Alternate title I Take This Woman
  • This Strange Adventure (1928)
  • Two Flights Up (1928)
  • The Door (1930)
  • The Double Alibi (1932)
  • The Album (1933)
  • The State vs. Elinor Norton (1933)
  • The Doctor (1936)
  • The Wall (1938)
  • The Great Mistake (1940)
  • The Haunted Lady (1942)
  • The Yellow Room (1945)
  • A Light in the Window (1948)
  • The Swimming Pool (1952)

Series

  • Letitia (Tish) Carberry
    • The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry (1911)
    • Tish: The Chronicle of Her Escapades and Excursions (1916)
    • More Tish (1921)
    • Tish Plays the Game (1926)
    • Tish Marches On (1937)

Hilda Adams

  • The Buckled Bag (1914)
  • Locked Doors (1914)
  • Miss Pinkerton (1932) Alternate title The Double Alibi
  • The Haunted Lady (1942) Sequel to Miss Pinkerton
  • Episode of the Wandering Knife (1950)

Short story collections

  • Love Stories (1919)
  • Affinities and Other Stories (1920)
  • Sight Unseen (1921)
  • Temperamental People (1924)
  • The Romantics (1929)
  • Married People (1937)
  • Familiar Faces: Stories of People You Know (1941)
  • Alibi for Isabel and Other Stories (1944)
  • The Frightened Wife and Other Murder Stories (1953)

Plays

Nonfiction

  • “Faces and Brains,” Photoplay, February 1922, p. 47.
  • Kings, Queens, and Pawns: An American Woman at the Front (1915) A collection of Rinehart’s reports as a correspondent during World War I
  • Through Glacier Park: Seeing America First with Howard Eaton (1916)
  • The Altar of Freedom: An Appeal to the Mothers of America (1917) An appeal to prepare for the coming war
  • Tenting Tonight: A Chronicle of Sport and Adventure in Glacier Park and the Cascade Mountains (1918) First published in Cosmopolitan (1917)
  • The Out Trail (1923)
  • Nomad’s Land (1926)
  • My Story (1931; revised 1948) Rinehart’s autobiography