Bab: A Sub-Deb Paperback – May 29 2008
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About the Author
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. She is considered the source of the phrase "The butler did it", although she did not actually use the phrase. She is considered to have invented the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing. She also created a costumed supercriminal called "the Bat", who was cited by Bob Kane as one of the inspirations for his "Batman." Rinehart wrote hundreds of short stories, poems, travelogues and articles. Many of her books and plays were adapted for movies, such as The Bat (1926), The Bat Whispers (1930), and The Bat (1959 remake). In 1933 RCA Victor released The Bat as one of the earliest talking book recordings. While many of her books were best sellers, critics were most appreciative of her murder mysteries. Rinehart, in The Circular Staircase (1908), is credited with inventing the "Had-I-But-Known" school of mystery writing. In The Circular Staircase "a middle-aged spinster is persuaded by her niece and nephew to rent a country house for the summer. The gentle, peace-loving trio is plunged into a series of crimes solved with the help of the aunt." The Had-I-But-Known mystery novel is one where the principal character (frequently female) does things in connection with a crime that have the effect of prolonging the action of the novel. Ogden Nash parodied the school in his poem Don't Guess Let Me Tell You: "Sometimes the Had I But Known then what I know now I could have saved at least three lives by revealing to the Inspector the conversation I heard through that fortuitous hole in the floor." The phrase "The butler did it", which has become a cliché, came from Rinehart's novel The Door, in which the butler actually did do it, although that exact phrase does not appear in the work.Tim Kelly adapted Rinehart's play into a musical, The Butler Did It, Singing. This play includes five lead female roles and five lead male roles. (Wikipedia) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I still laugh out loud over Bab's sincere "lothing" of her enemies and her attempts to do good deed by helping others with their "speling."
The scrapes and adventures Bab gets herself into and the long suffering she puts up with are too funny (because of course the rest of the world just doesn't understand the woes of being a sub-deb). Bab is only a sub- deb as in the 1920's, young women were debutants and had their coming out parties at age 18. Poor Bab is only 16 and desperately wants to be older..remember when we all felt that way?
Read it for yourself and if you have an adolescent daughter, pass it on!
My husband is also an avid reader, so I limit my Kindle reading to books he is not likely to want to read, as I cannot think of giving up my Kindle long enough for him to read our favorite authors, whose books we most often buy from Amazon.
I loved this book! Reading about Bab reminds me of the "sub-deb" years of my own life, with the intense passing fancies, emotional roller-coasters, longings for true romance, moonlight and roses, and feelings of being totally misunderstood...particularly by my family. Bab, however, is somewhat more daring than I ever was...creating for herself the hilarious situations she finds herself in.
I, too, recommend this book for moms of teenage girls. We need to re-visit those years our daughters are now living, so that we don't just look at them from older, eyes and give them more reason to feel isolated and alone. Remembering might also save us some heartache and worry as we recall our own passage through those tempestuous years, and hope that they shall emerge from them intact and wiser.