MIGNON G. EBERHART – The Glass Slipper. Doubleday Doran & Co., hardcover, 1938. Paperback reprints include: Century #35, 1945 (digest-sized); Popular Library 60-2182, 1965.


   Poor Rue Hatterick. Sure, Rue was the night nurse for beautiful, rich Crystal Hatterick, wife of the brilliant Chicago surgeon Brule Hatterick. Sure, a few months after Crystal’s sudden death Rue married Brule.

   Sure, someone is now writing letters to the police telling them Crystal was poisoned. Sure, Crystal’s former day nurse, who seems to know something about Crystal’s death, suddenly expires while having tea with Rue. Sure, Rue has a bag of potentially lethal medicine in her closet, left over from her nursing days.

   Are those any reasons for the nasty police to suspect sweet and innocent Rue of MURDER?!!

   With the publication of her ninth mystery novel, Fair Warning (1936), Mignon Eberhart hit upon a lucrative mystery recipe that was to last her for over fifty years, with only minor variations.

   Take a young, pretty, nervous, motherless and fatherless girl, plunge her into a triangular love relationship with two men (one usually a husband or husband-to-be), and add a motherly older woman (an aunt or such like), a beautiful, more sophisticated, snotty-bitch female rival, an opulent yet rather shadowy and creepy mansion, a half-dozen or servants, some frightening policemen and a murder or two and you have a delightful, if a bit predictable, souffle a la Mignon.

   By The Glass Slipper, Eberhart’s third mystery novel after Fair Warning, the taste indeed has become familiar, but the dish still goes down lightly and smoothly. It’s an enjoyable enough read, with a teasing bit of the bizarre that is something out of Ellery Queen or John Dickson Carr (the murder victims all have hands that have turned green).

   But there’s really no way for the reader fairly to deduce the criminal (though s/he may guess it on GA mystery aesthetic principles), unlike with some of Eberhart’s earlier books. So only a B for this one.

      Previously reviewed on this blog:

Woman on the Roof (by Steve Lewis)
Film: The Patient in Room 18 (by Steve Lewis)