Read The Case of Jennie Brice by Mary Roberts Rinehart Online


A blood-stained rope and towel, and a missing tenant, convince Mrs. Pittman that a murder has been committed in her boarding house. But without a body, the police say there is no case. Now, it's up to Mrs. Pittman to ferret out the killer. For as the landlady, she has the perfect excuse to do a little snooping--and the key to Jennie's apartment....

Title : The Case of Jennie Brice
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781582876535
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 182 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Case of Jennie Brice Reviews

  • Hannah
    2019-05-28 12:42

    Rating Clarification: 3.5 StarsEnjoyable, quick whodunnit (approximately 90 pages in the edition I have). The setting was one of the more unique ones: (a flooded out house in 1907 Pittsburgh), with boats coming in through the doorways to ferry people trapped inside on upper floods.Good plot, likable heroine (a pleasure to read about fiesty, 40+ women) and an ingenious murder...or was it a murder? Rinehart crafts a short but puzzling tale for mystery lovers.

  • Ryan
    2019-05-30 08:41

    I think where this book sucked me in was the setting. Much like the last Mary Roberts Rinehart book I read, The After House, the setting is what dictates the story. Pittsburgh in the early part of the last century tended to flood every Spring. The problem was all the water, the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers meet in Pittsburgh and form the Ohio river. Every year when the ice starts to melt the rivers start to rise and take over most of the city, especially the poorer areas.One of those poor areas was lower Allegheny, which later became the northern part of the city of Pittsburgh. Within that slum sat a rooming house operated by a Mrs. Pitman. Pitman was not her real name, for the purposes of this book though that is all she would call herself. She came from an upper class Pittsburgh family but when she married down, her family disowned her. When she moved back to town, after the death of her husband, she never told them she was back and they never reconciled. To make ends meet Mrs. Pitman operated a boarding house that served the theater district, most of her boarders worked in that field. Two of those tenants, Jennie Brice and her husband, where a handful. They were constantly fighting and never seemed to be in a good mood. So when the floods came and took up most of the lower floors of the boarding house, the scene was set for murder.Told over a period of a week or two by Mrs. Pitman, The Case of Jennie Brice, is a wonderfully told mystery that relies on the sense of isolation and confined quarters that a flood creates. There is a wonderful group of supporting characters, including the niece of Mrs. Pitman, though the niece never realizes their connection. Everyone involved is trying to figure out what happened to Jennie Brice the day she disappeared and whether or not the headless body is in fact the missing woman. It's a short mystery, only 187 pages long, but it packs a punch. There is no mystery of who did it, everyone knows that already. Where the mystery comes in is how are they going to prove it. How can they prove the body is in fact Jennie Brice when there is no head? How can they dispute the claims of someone they all trust, when he says he saw her after she supposedly disappeared? It's a brilliant piece of deductive writing and I loved it. The way Mrs. Pitman and friends are able to piece the information together is methodically laid out in detail. There are no missing pieces or illogical conclusions reached.This was my third Mary Roberts Rinehart book, and I've already bought two more. I think I'm officially hooked on her style now and I can't wait to read more. She had an almost supernatural ability at creating just the right feel and atmosphere which highlights an almost perfect stage and background for the action taking place. The fact that she populates that scene with wonderful characters and never seems to fail at giving them something to do is a godsend. There are no wasted characters in her books, unlike a lot of mystery writers who simply throw in extra characters to confuse the situation. I think this is one author who should be given more recognition in this modern age than what she gets.Did I mention that my copy has some wonderful illustrations that I so wish I could share with you. They are wonderful black and white prints that highlight just the right scenes. I can't find them anywhere to show you so you will just have to trust me when I say, they are the icing on the cake.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-28 06:55

    As a rule I love MRR's books. When compared with some current writers, I find her books to be incredibly well-written, and if somewhat convoluted due to the back-and-forth of the plots, at least it keeps you on your toes! This book was by far the easiest one to follow and ready - I think my copy had 140 and at least 10 of those pages had some delightful drawings. The main character Mrs. Pittman was well written. The plot had a nice little love story, a nice mystery that wasn't too hard to break, and some humor. If you have never read any of her books before definitely start with this one.Recommended!

  • William
    2019-05-24 08:59

    4 stars when written. 3.5 stars now.So continues my tour of Golden Age mystery writers in an attempt to see whether any of them hold a candle to Christie. To date, I've found Patricia Wentworth and Josephine Tey to be disappointments, though I will give the latter a second go. Dorothy Sayers had a very rocky first book but improved considerably in her sophomore effort, even if she was too concerned with literary showmanship to tell a tale as concisely as Christie did.And here I am making a bit of a detour, for much of Rinehart cannot properly be called Golden Age mystery. She's too early, and Jennie Brice predates Poirot's debut by the better part of a decade.With that in mind, Rinehart fares well. For such a slim volume, we get a surprisingly sympathetic main character and a rather unique setting in which to investigate a murder. The book rarely gets away from the business of the mystery at hand, but when it does, the extra segments work. And at the end, the whole thing makes a fair bit of sense while being sufficiently complicated so as not to insult even the modern reader.That leaves the one piece which is most important to a good mystery tale, fairness to the reader, and it is here that the transitional state of the genre from holmes-ian adventure stories to chess matches between author and reader shows itself. I would make the case that the book is not solvable until the final 10 pages (of 190). And the revelation of information comes at an even pace. There is no moment where the detective says "a ha! all is made clear." So it is a strange (and enjoyable) amalgam of adventure and deductive mystery that does not quite belong to either period. Rinehart must have been pretty sensational then, and I will happily conclude for now that, though time would later bring us something even better in Christie, Rinehart is still quite worthy of my time.

  • Laura
    2019-06-18 11:47

    I read this in elementary school (or maybe junior high) when I went through a Rinehart-phase. Most of the plot details escape me now, but the intriguing setting has always stuck with me. It takes place during a flood, and the characters have to move their possessions to the upper floor and commute by row boat!

  • Kalen
    2019-06-10 09:41

    Nice cozy mystery with a good dose of humor. The plot was a bit thin, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of Mary Roberts Rinehart's mysteries. (Oh, and the name in the title is Jennie Brice, not Jenny....)

  • Marts(Thinker)
    2019-06-06 07:40

    Another great old-fashioned mystery by Rinehart, completed with that small town setting, unhappy young wife, suspicious husband, overly friendly visitor, and who could by-pass the single, mature, 'I need a mystery' in my latter years protagonist...Trust me, you will enjoy this...

  • Andres
    2019-06-15 13:09

    Kui mõrvaloo kohta saab öelda lõbus lugemine, siis just seda see oli. Igati mõnus ja kerge suvine lugemine. Omamoodi kummastav on, kui juhuslik oli 1900ndate alguse politseitöö. Politsei vaataks olukorda justnagu kõrvalt, ilma ise väga sekkumatta. Umbes nii, et "Oh, kui peab uurima, eks siis natuke uurime. Aga muidu väga ei viitsi." Nii et igaüks võib tulla ja uurijaks hakata.Mõnus lugemine igatahes.

  • Mitch Cardella Trudel Du Mond
    2019-06-04 11:49


    2019-05-30 13:49 'Who Done It?'This was a quick and interesting read...Wandering through a woman's Sherlock Holmes -style story. I enjoyed the ending very much.

  • Pooch
    2019-06-04 10:01

    A hoax? A murder? Deception? Living from flood to flood.

  • Robert
    2019-05-27 09:03

    Mary Roberts Rinehart is a fascinating writer. This story was originally published in 1913. The version I read was re-edited by her in 1948, as was the other story I finished a week ago.This story is set in Allegheny, Pa., which I think may now be a part of Pittsburgh. The narrator is a struggling widow who is alienated from her wealthy family because of her marital choice. Now she runs a boarding house to pay the bills on the house she is renting. Apparenly living with Spring floods is a yearly experience for her and requires moving the boarders to a higher floor and attempting to protect carpets and other possessions. It seems that her entire neighborhoos lives with the same situation and they all commute by boat during the few days that the river is up.Very early, she begins to suspect that one of her tenants has killed his wife and the story proceeds from there. Rinehart has a very witty, but poignant style. The story (barely novel length) is filed with interesting characters and heart-grabbing experiences. There seem to be a number of plot flaws and the logic employed by some of the prinicipal characters doesn't jump off the page at you. But I had no trouble overlooking those things because of the attractive narration.I particularly enjoyed reading a story about average people living a life style that included no automobiles and a living space consisting of a single room in a house shared by 3 or 4 other people who are all unrelated. They probably wouldn't have understood cries of "pain" at the gas pump who spend $300 a month on cell phones, blackberries, and bluetooths, $120 on celebrity endorsed sneakers, $50 per month on mp3 downloads, $50 a meal to eat out three times a week, and $150 a month on "entertainment." (movies, beer joints, cable, internet access, or direct t.v.).

  • Karla Goforth Abreu
    2019-05-30 09:06

    I read this in snippets when I had time. It was an interesting mystery, a classic who-dun-it. It is very readable and ends in a cute fashion.

  • Bill Wehrmacher
    2019-06-16 11:02

    As I was to lead my mystery book club meeting for another of Mary Robert Rinehart's books, which I didn't really like very much, I decided to read another. I looked around for a book that followed The Circular Staircase and I settled on The Case of Jennie Brice. I liked it much better. I believe that it is the language that makes it a little hard to read. The Circular Staircase was published in 1908, only 43 years after the end of the civil war and I found some of the references to African Americans more caustic than I would expect today, but not surprising for the time. The Case of Jennie Brice was written in 1913 and had little cause to make such references. Again, the protagonist is a 'woman of a certain age' who is somewhat instrumental in solving a murder of a local stage actress, presumably by her husband. The story has is fair share of interesting characters, which might well use additional fleshing out, but it did help keep the book to a modest 160 pages. I actually listened to an Audible book version.All in all, a good choice for an afternoon's read.

  • Randee Baty
    2019-06-10 05:46

    A very interesting little book! Interesting setting, interesting plot twists. Mrs. Pittman keeps in a boarding house in the section of Pittsburg that floods regularly every year. This was one of the most interesting settings for a mystery that I've read. Imagine know that every year your bottom story would flood so you would just plan to move everything and everyone upstairs until the water recedes! Hard to imagine in this day and age. You would just keep a boat on the first floor and use it for transport as long as needed. This setting fascinated me and really added to my enjoyment of the whole story.When one of Mrs. Pittman's boarders disappears and her husband claims she got mad and left town, Mrs. Pittman is sure that he has murdered her and dumped the body in the flood waters. The investigation of the case and the ultimate denouement is far more complex and kept my attention from start to finish of this very quick to read book. While I love contemporary cozy mysteries, these Old Masters are just a delight to me also. Mary Roberts Rinehart is an author revisiting over and over.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2019-06-06 07:58

    The Case of Jennie Brice isn't as good as Mary Roberts Rinehart's best books: The Circular Staircase, The Window At The White Cat, or The Man in Lower Ten. However, at barely 100 pages, The Case of Jennie Brice is definitely worth a read, especially if you're getting the free Kindle version.Some of the events are a tad unbelievable, but the ending will really surprise you. And, unlike some of Rinehart's books, where she doesn't play fair with the reader, she actually gives you enough clues that an astute reader (not me, obviously!) could puzzle it out.

  • Allison
    2019-06-03 08:43

    I download so many public domain books that I wasn't at all sure what to expect from The Case of Jennie Brice. Having read it, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. The case itself is convoluted, silly, and difficult to follow. The narration, however, makes this book worth the high rating that I gave it. The middle-aged boardinghouse mistress telling the story is smart, suprisingly snarky, and has unrevealed mysteries far more interesting than the central case. She isn't always aware of the facts of the mystery at hand, but her sharp biases and sense of humor are what makes this book worth reading. The ending of this left me incredulous, and it involves so many twists that it is really ridiculous. Still, the expertly written first-person narration makes this book easy to recommend.

  • Sandra
    2019-06-15 10:50

    A short, fast read. Mrs. Pittman, who runs a boarding house, notices that one of her roomers, actress Jenny Brice, is missing during a flood. Perhaps jumping to conclusions, Pittman suspects Mr. Ladley, Jenny's unlikable husband, of murder. She begins to search for clues to prove his guilt and is aided by Mr. Holcombe, an eccentric elderly amateur detective. The only thing missing is a body! This is a tightly-written little novella. The flood waters add to the atmosphere of the mystery with Mrs. Pittman, Ladley and the other boarders packed together in the upper story of the house and only able to leave by rowboat!

  • Carolyn C.
    2019-06-06 12:56

    Rinehart is often called the American Agatha Christie, says Wiki. I think I like her more. This was her first book that I have read, as far as I remember. Some of her language is quaint and fun and the author has a good sense of humor. Much of the book has the main character trying to figure out whether or not there actually was a murder. It wasn't really the kind of mystery where you could figure out the conclusion because too much information is withheld. But I especially appreciated how there were different theories as to what happened but none that would allow all of the missing threads to come together until the big reveal, of course.Fun, quick read.

  • Rene
    2019-05-23 12:00

    This is a vey fine mystery story. It is the first book I read by Mary Roberts Rineheart, and certainly not the last. The writer keeps us in tension until the last chapter and then still surprises us with the real course of events. The book is written in a light and pleasant style, with the "I" person being a simple woman who sees the events from nearby, but hardly understands them. A murder has been comitted, but at first there is not even a body and only some circumstantial evidence. As the story develops the case hardly becomes any clearer until the end of the book. The book gave me some pleasant hours.

  • Sophie
    2019-06-06 05:47

    Although the mystery that propels this book is not very interesting, the setting is. I loved the author's description of life on the Allegheny river, just on the fringes of Pittsburgh. The idea that those living in this area would stoically suffer through "flood-time" every year, had a routine for dealing with it, and even unofficial rules about things floating from one house to another, was fascinating to me. I also loved the background story of the narrator and how it figured into the story. Both features made up for the slightly silly mystery.

  • Julie Davis
    2019-06-13 09:59

    I remember enjoying The Bat by this author when I heard it on LibriVox. Rinehart writes with a sly humor as she weaves interesting mysteries, usually with female protagonists. In this one, the story is told by a boarding house keeper as one of her boarders has disappeared, the landlady suspects the husband of foul play, and flood covers Pittsburgh in 1907.A quick read and one that I found entertaining more for the personalities and the description of Pittsburgh during the flood than for the details of the mystery itself. Not equal to The Bat, but not bad.

  • Elaine Cramer
    2019-05-22 09:43

    I quite liked this tale. It was read well, and I could see no flaws in logic. The setting was interesting, taking place in the early 1900s in an area of Pennsylvania that flooded houses on a regular basis. Just that is intriguing. It takes place in a boarding house in that area, with the lady running it as a main character. She is well fleshed out, and supporting characters are adequately drawn. I think it says a lot about a story if it still holds up as intriguing a good century after its publication.

  • Nadyne
    2019-06-16 14:06

    First sentence: "We have just had another flood, bad enough, but only a foot or two of water on the first floor."Last sentence: "I think I shall do it."I needed something light and short to read, and this short story was ideal. A nice, short and relaxing read. Mary Roberts Rinehart (August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958) has written other short stories, and I will definitely read some more of them when I am in the mood.

  • Linda
    2019-06-04 14:00

    This is on old-fashioned mystery taking place during a flood. I was intrigued to read that Mrs. Pitman tied a boat to the stairs in her boarding house for transportation. The whole reading experience reminded me of playing the game Clue or reading Nancy Drew books If you like concise writing, you will enjoy Mary Roberts Rinehart's writing style. It's straight to the point with small bits of humor and all the while you want to be the one to solve the mystery first.

  • Eileen E Cartwright
    2019-06-13 08:01

    InterestingPart of the reason I enjoyed this book is that the story took place in Pittsburgh located around 30 miles from Beaver, PA where I grew up. Beaver was even mentioned as a place where the body of a woman was washed up from the Ohio river. I loved the twists and turns of the plot and all the interesting characters. The problem of the missing paragraphs mentioned by other reviews seemed to have been corrected in my version.

  • Patricia
    2019-06-06 07:01

    Bought this book on Cabbage Key Florida which is owned by the decendents of the author. A fun to read book especially if you enjoy the reading the stiff language of the upper class at turn of the century. I found it interesting that the author was known as the American Agatha Christie even though she published 14 years before Chrisie!!

  • Marilyn Groves
    2019-06-17 06:00

    classic 1913 mystery - loved the view of Pittsburgh during that time with periodic flooding and the acceptance of the people who lived there. The writing is excellent, explaining why the author is considered one of the masters of early mystery. Certainly dated, but very interesting and a good read. Download for computer, Kindle or other free at

  • Bonnie
    2019-06-06 09:54

    I liked this author's style and her main character, the narrator, who was both believable and interesting. The plot itself was a little far-fetched, which made the setting and characters stand out even more. Worth reading just to figure out what I'm talking about. I'd be interested in hearing others' reactions.

  • Cristina Rivera
    2019-06-07 12:42

    It was good, not great, but good enough. The murder mystery was intriguing to the end. Some of the writing was a little 'Ok, and the point of that being said was?', moreso about the main character's dead husband. I only gave it 3 stars, but if you like murder mysteries or whodunnits, don't put my rating past you. You might still like it, maybe more than me.