Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Mignon G. Eberhart’s first five novels, which featured nurse Sarah Keate and police detective Lance O’Leary, reflect the early influence of Mary Roberts Rinehart on Eberhart’s writing. Breaking from this influence after the publication of her fifth Keate-O’Leary novel, Eberhart found her own voice in an extensive series of novels that combine murder and detection with elements of the gothic romance. Formula-written for the most part but remarkably free from the mechanical sterility of ordinary formula fiction, the Eberhart novels are unique in that the traditional classic detective story is presented in the context of a gothic romance’s eerie atmosphere of impending danger.