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The Bat Paperback – October 27, 2010

Book 3 of 3 in the Cornelia Van Gorder Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Samuel French, Inc. (October 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0573605882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0573605888
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,073,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rinehart's 1920 mystery features a remote country house filled with suspects, a forbidden romance, a cache of hidden money and a mysterious killer known only as The Bat. But sadly, this novel does not adapt well to audio. Long, descriptive passages and repetitive conversations (particularly between wealthy spinster Cornelia Van Gorder, who insists there's no danger, and nervous maid Lizzie, who insists there is) can be skimmed over by the reading eye, but on audio they seem interminable, draining all suspense. Frasier is a competent but unremarkable narrator. She differentiates between male and female characters, but does not create distinctive voices. Her Irish accent for Lizzie is passable; her Japanese accent for butler Billy is laughable. This tale would probably work better as a radio play or audio theater, with a troupe of actors playing the parts. In that medium, a shrilling phone or a sudden scream would indeed startle the listener, and spooky music would create a more suspenseful atmosphere.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

American novelist and playwright Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876–1958), originator of the phrase "The butler did it," is best known for such mystery stories as The Circular Staircase and The Man in Lower Ten.

In addition to narrating audiobooks, Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and southern California, and she has developed character voices for animation projects and done voice-over work for commercials. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

IT is just too hyper.
Ginny
Pretty fast-paced action for the time, keeps the reader guessing!
Anita
I read it in one afternoon!
Margaret Batchelder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always enjoy reading her books due to the imagery and variety of different character types and personalities she incorporates into her story lines. The Bat was my favorite...it had the "old" mystery feel. The characters were very well described and therefore, easy to imagine. I began feeling what the characters felt and encountered in that dark, old estate. It is hard for me to get through a book without getting bored and starting on another. However, The Bat traveled with me to work, the gym and house each day, just so I could finish it. I couldn't seem to put it down. Great piece of literature...one I would highly recommend for those who love a good mystery!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. Crabtree VINE VOICE on May 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Bat" was originally written by Mary Roberts Rinehart as a play in 1926 -- it ultimately emerged as a silent film, additional remakes, etceteras. It's a cool mystery story, albeit the text/dialogue is notably stilted (justifiably) due to its intended purpose for the stage.

However, "The Bat" is clearly a re-working of a far superior story (an actual novel, which was also later made into a film), brilliantly written by Rinehart in 1908 and entitled: THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE.

So here's the deal. I'm pretty sure that if you're a huge Rinehart fan and assuming you've already read "The Circular Staircase," (Rinehart's Magnum opus) then you're not going to care much for "The Bat," due chiefly to the writing style and additionally considering the fact that it comes off as a watered-down version of its genesis.

Here's the basic story of "The Bat": An elite, rich, and spunky older lady rents a country house for the summer along with her skittish Irish maid and her niece. Some servants sort of come with the property but most soon abandon their new matron due to happenings within this large mansion. A converging plot concerns the homeowner (a banker) who has recently died and whose bank has just coincidentally failed -- the suspicion falls upon a youthful bank clerk who is the heart-throb of the old lady's niece. The central plot revolves around a mysterious and effective murder/burglar dubbed by the frustrated police as The Bat, (a character who does not appear in the original novel form) and who has been operating in the vicinity of this country home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F. J. Harvey on September 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
The book under review was not originally conceived of as a novel ,but is,to use modern parlance,a "novelisation " of the author's long running Broadway play,which also made it to the screen around the same time as the book was published (1926).Some scholars have claimed that it was actually ghost written and should more properly be classed as being by the eminent poet Stephen Vincent Benet,rather than its declared author.

Its origins on stage doubtless account for declamatory feel of the dialogue and for its restricted setting -one chapter apart ,all scenes takes place in one setting -and its cast of cardboard ,stock characters .

The Bat is a master criminal -a thief and murderer whose crimes have caused alarm amongst the wealthy section of society that he appears to be targetting .Events take place in the rented vacation home of the an elderly patrician maiden lady named Cornelia Van Gorder.She is staying there with Lizzie,her Irish maid and an inscrutable japanese butler ,named Billy.Also present is her niece ,Dale .Cornelia receives a series of letters ,warning her to leave the property or else face the consequences .

A robbery has recently taken place and it is believed the robbber has stashed the loot away in the house.Possible suspects include the chief cashier of the robbed bank ,secretly engaged to Dale and working as a gardener on the estate ,under an alias and the local Doctor .The investigation is in the dull and unimaginative hands of Detective Anderson.

The book is fast paced but never remotely plausible and the characters are strictly one dimensional "types" rather than credible human beings .
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gem49@worldnet.att.net on March 30, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
_a fine blend of the gothic and mystery ...makes this novel an excellent example of the "had I but known" school of detective fiction . This fast pace novel will keep noir fans captivated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Gregory on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A hoary old overrated chestnut, practically farting dust.

This novelization of the play by Rinehart & Hopwood was actually written by Stephen Vincent Benet.

Unlike the play, the opening chapters violate a rule of trust that the writer usually establishes with the reader.

My advice: Buy a copy of the actual play from Sam French and read it instead. You won't have to wade through opening scenes that don't belong.

The old maid character of Lizzie nearly derails the whole affair in any version of this claptrap.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Schryer on November 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Bat is probably the most popular of all of the novels of America's great female mystery writer, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and it is quite simply one of the finest mystery/suspense novels ever written. The plot is outstanding, the atmosphere is unremittingly tense and apprehensive, and the conclusion is totally surprising without being contrived. If you like good mysteries you will probably love The Bat.
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