Mary Roberts Rinehart: The American Agatha Christie That Was The Inspiration For Batman

You might not have heard much about Mary Roberts Rinehart. Strangely enough, not many bookworms out there would know about her. However, during her peak, she was referred to as the American Agatha Christie. In fact, the famous phrase ‘the butler did it’ was from her novel ‘The Door’ (published in 1930).

American Agatha Christie

During the stock market crash of 1903, Rinehart and her husband lost their savings. Consequently, she resorted to writing as a source of income. Rinehart wanted to support her family financially. She was around 27- years-old at the time and produced around 45 short stories.

The novel that propelled her to national fame was ‘The Circular Staircase’ (published in 1907). In fact, according to her obituary, the book sold 1.25 million copies! Moreover, her regular contributions to ‘The Saturday Evening Post’ were hugely popular. In fact, it assisted the magazine in moulding American middle-class tastes and manners.

By and large, Rinehart wrote hundreds of short stories, poems, travelogues, and articles. Many of her books and plays were adapted for movies as well. Rinehart was most admired for her murder mysteries.

thriller and suspense author

Strangely enough, she was referred to as the American Agatha Christie later on in her life despite the fact that Rinehart’s first mystery novel was published 14 years before Christie’s.

Read AlsoAgatha Christie Is Known As ‘The Queen of Crime’. Now You Know Why!

The Bat Whispers: Inspiration For Batman

‘The Bat Whispers’ is a 1930 American Pre-Code mystery film. It’s based on Rinehart’s 1920 Broadway hit ‘The Bat’. What’s so unique about this movie you ask? Well, it influenced the creation of the fictional character known as Batman. This was mentioned by Bob Kane who co-created Batman along with Bill Finger. He cited the sources of inspiration for Batman in his 1989 autobiography ‘Batman and Me’.

In his autobiography, Kane noted the influences of the films ‘The Mark of Zorro’ (1920) and ‘The Bat Whispers’ (1930) in the creation of Batman’s iconography. The villain in the latter was called the Bat, and it is this character’s costume that caught Kane’s attention.

The Broadway Show and The Book

The play that the film as mentioned above was based on was written by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood. ‘The Bat’ is an adaptation of Rinehart’s famous novel ‘The Circular Staircase’. Rinehart and Hopwood made numerous alterations, most notably adding that titular antagonist.

broadway show and the book

The play was a huge critical and commercial success, running for 867 performances in New York and spawning seven additional companies who brought the show to other areas. It also led to some adaptations including novelisations. Three films were also based on this play.

The plot focuses on how the wealthy spinster Cornelia Van Gorder and her guests uncover a mystery at their rented summer home white being stalked by an enigmatic, costumed criminal known as ‘The Bat.’

Read Also: Did William Shakespeare Really Write His Own Plays? Here’s An Astonishing Theory…

Image Source

Follow us



5 Benefits Of Gardening Cannabis Plants

5 Benefits Of Gardening Cannabis Plants

Cannabis has been the talk of the town for quite some time because of its fantastic health benefits. Lucky for the people that want...
Why do Pooches love their belly rubs?

Why Do Dogs Love Their Belly Rubs?

"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich." - Louis Sabin The bond you and your...

Birds Nest Soup Is The Magic Potion To The Ever Lasting Beauty

Birds Nest Soup A Swallow's Bird Nest is considered very precious in Chinese tradition. Since over 400 years, it is being used for various culinary purposes....
eating with hands

Did You Know That Eating With Hands Can Make You Slimmer? Here’s How

Eating With Hands Eating food with hands is considered holy in India as well as in Islam. This act involves a sort of ritual, where people...
rube goldberg machines

The Fascinating Engineering of Rube Goldberg Machines

Many simple machines can make complicated tasks easy. Science and technology have come a long way so that we can perform hard and tedious...

Recent post

agatha christie

Agatha Christie Is Known As ‘The Queen of Crime’. Now You Need To Know...

Have you heard about the world's most longest running play in the history of literature by Agatha Christie? Yes I am talking about the...
new home

Simple Ways to Put Your Stamp on Your New Personal Oasis

Moving can be quite stressful, given that it is an annoying combination of sheer agony, hard work, and excitement about starting a new life...

This Rescued Blind Owl That Holds The Universe In Its Eyes!

This is the story of Zeus - The Owl. Zeus is a blind Western Screech Owl whose eyes look like a scenery of the...
Bizarre laws from around the world

Some Bizarre Laws From Around The World!

What if you visit a country in order to enjoy a vacation and are put behind the bars or fined a hefty amount for...
Auto Rickshaw

Apart From India, These Countries Also Have Three Wheeler Vehicle Auto Rickshaw

The idea of building a light three-wheeled commercial vehicle to power Italy's post-war economic reconstruction first came in the mind of Corradino D 'Ascanio as...

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.