Mignon G. Eberhart Analysis


(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.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Brandt, Carl D. Introduction to Wolf in Man’s Clothing. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996. This introduction to Eberhart’s novel was written by the author’s longtime literary agent and adviser.

Cypert, Rick. America’s Agatha Christie: Mignon Good Eberhart, Her Life and Works. Cranbury, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 2005. Comprehensive study arguing for Eberhart’s central place in the American mystery canon. Bibliographic references and index.

Dubose, Martha Hailey, with Margaret Caldwell Thomas. Women of Mystery: The Lives and Works of Notable Women Crime Novelists. New York: St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2000. Although Eberhart is just mentioned, her fellow female Golden Age writers are discussed at length, which provides context for understanding Eberhart.

Eberhart, Mignon G. Interview by J. Mercier. Publishers Weekly 206 (September 16, 1974): 10-11. Brief but interesting interview with the author.

Gussow, Mel. “Mignon Eberhart, Novelist, Ninety-seven: Blended Mystery and Romance.” The New York Times, October 9, 1996, p. D19. Obituary of Eberhart written by an influential theater critic, whose opinion could make or break careers.