MIGNON G. EBERHART – The Pattern. Doubleday Doran & Co., hardcover, 1937. Bestseller Mystery B55, digest-sized paperback, 1944. Also reprinted as Pattern of Murder, Popular Library #167, paperback, 1948. (Later Popular Library editions reverted to the original title.)


   In Mignon Eberhart’s The Pattern, a nasty wife who will not consent to a divorce is murdered at a lake resort outside Chicago, making life very difficult for our hero and heroine, the now widower and the sweet young thing he should have married.

   The Pattern is one of my favorite Eberhart’s, in part because the author dials down the emotional anxiety meter a bit, allowing the reader to just enjoy the story and think about whodunit.

   The lake setting is a little different for Eberhart (no ancestral mansions) and is well conveyed. Also there is more perspective on other characters, not just that of a constantly fretting heroine getting beaten down by the police and by her reliably bitchy women “friends.”

   As in the slightly earlier Fair Warning (1936) and Danger in the Dark (1937), Eberhart makes some attempt to provide both clues and an actual demonstration of a deductive process on the part of the detective (Jacob Wait, who makes his next-to-last of three appearances here). There is also some nice shuddery creepiness concerning poisonous spiders that have an unsettling propensity to get into cabins.

      A good job by a consummate genre professional.

Editorial Comment:  Also by Mignon G. Eberhart and previously reviewed by Curt on this blog: The Glass Slipper.