<b>Murder leads to scandal at a wealthy woman’s mansion in this mystery from a <i>New York Times</i>–bestselling author with ten million books in print. </b><br /><br /> In an elaborate house known as the Cloisters, Maud Wainwright rules supreme. The queen of society in the small town of Beverly, she has a table long enough to seat one hundred, and she keeps an iron grip on the guest list. Her right-hand woman is Pat Abbott, a local girl who is beautiful, innocent, and kind. Pat has no idea how cutthroat high society can be, but she’s about to get a deadly first lesson.<br />  <br /> Pat has fallen head over heels in love with Maud’s son, Tony, a clever young rake with a single flaw: his vicious, gold-digging wife. At the same time that she is dangerously infatuated with a married man, Pat’s world is turned upside down by a series of attacks on the estate—and a truly shocking murder. To save Tony and Maud, Pat must find the killer. But the list of suspects is as long as one of Maud’s guest lists: When a woman has room at her table for one hundred friends, she’ll have more than her share of enemies.<br />  <br /> “Anyone who aspires to become a writer,” said the <i>New York Times</i>, “could not do better than to study carefully the methods of Mary Roberts Rinehart.” <i>The Great Mistake</i> is a classic example of the golden age murder mystery at its best.<br />  <br /> “Mrs. Rinehart’s mastery of plot construction and development, of characterization and of mystification has never been better demonstrated than in this book.” —<i>The</i><i>New York Times</i><br /><br /> Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876–1958) was one of the United States’s most popular early mystery authors. Born in Pittsburgh to a clerk at a sewing machine agency, Rinehart trained as a nurse and married a doctor after her graduation from nursing school. She wrote fiction in her spare time until a stock market crash sent her and her young husband into debt, forcing her to lean on her writing to pay the bills. Her first two novels, <i>The Circular Staircase</i> (1908) and <i>The Man in Lower Ten</i> (1909), established her as a bright young talent, and it wasn’t long before she was one of the nation’s most popular mystery novelists.<br /><br /> Among her dozens of novels are <i>The Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry</i> (1911), which began a six-book series, and <i>The Bat</i> (originally published in 1920 as a play), which was among the inspirations for Bob Kane’s Batman. Credited with inventing the phrase “The butler did it,” Rinehart is often called an American Agatha Christie, even though she began writing much earlier than Christie, and was much more popular during her heyday.