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The Breaking Point

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Book Overview: 

Mary Roberts Rinehart -- "America's Agatha Christie," as she used to be called -- set this story in a New York suburban town, shortly after the end of the first world war. Dick Livingstone is a young, successful doctor, who in the course of events becomes engaged to Elizabeth Wheeler. But there is a mystery about his past, and he thinks himself honor-bound to unravel it before giving himself to her in marriage. In particular, a shock of undetermined origin has wiped out his memory prior to roughly the last decade. Rinehart, who presumably had been reading, or reading about, the then popular Sigmund Freud, plays on what today is called "repressed memory," as she takes Dick into his past, and into the dangers that, unknown to him, lurk there. Is she correct about the behavior of memory? Who knows? After all, this is not a clinical treatise, but a work of fiction, one of the thrillers that made her such a popular writer of the earlier twentieth century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .n the country to his defense, but instead he had chosen to disappear.

The whole situation turned on the deposition of Mrs. Donaldson, now dead. The local authorities at Norada maintained that the woman had not been sane for several years. On the other hand, the cabin to which she referred was well known, and no search of it had been made at the time. Clark's horse had been found not ten miles from the town, and the cabin was buried in snow twenty miles further away. If Clark had made that journey on foot he had accomplished the impossible.

Certain facts, according to the local correspondent, bore out Margaret Donaldson's confession. Inquiry showed that she was supposed to have spent the winter following Judson Clark's crime with relatives in Omaha. She had returned to the ranch the following spring.

A detailed description of Judson Clark, and a photograph of him accompanied the story. Bassett re-read the article carefully, and swore a lit. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Nope. Don't like the characters, don't like the set-up, don't like the feel of the prose. Just boring & blah. But I'll give it the standard DNF 2-stars regardless; it's not poorly written in the grammatical sense, so perhaps it's me not jiving with the author's style. Or maybe it's not one of...more

My last Mary Roberts Rinehart book of the year, and while it may not be what many would consider a true mystery, I couldn't be happier with ending the year on such a high note. Much like The Street of Seven Stars, The Breaking Point is more of a Gothic like romance, with a tinge more mystery than...more

Super boring and unlikable characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story was unusual and interesting, with the action taking place in at least three very different locations in the U.S. The format of telling this tale from the views of several of the characters was very effective!

This book was written over 100 years ago and was touted for its suspense and drama. It focuses on a young doctor who falls in love with Elizabeth - a woman who sings in the choir... At least this is what the jacket says. I found it a loooong read.

Wow, utterly amazing! I know fans of her other mysteries or traditional mysteries in general may baulk and think this too melodramatic but for me this type of unconventional mystery is precisely the right kind of story. Yes, there was a murder but it happened ten years ago and in fact at the star...more

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