Mary Roberts Rinehart, (born Aug. 12, 1876, Allegheny [now in Pittsburgh], Pa., U.S.-died Sept. 22, 1958, New York, N.Y.), American novelist and playwright best known for her mystery stories.
Mary Roberts graduated from the Pittsburgh Training School for Nurses in 1896. That same year she married physician Stanley M. Rinehart. She and her husband started a family, and she took up writing in 1903 as a result of difficulties created by financial losses. Her first story appeared in Munsey's Magazine in 1903. The Circular Staircase (1908), her first book and first mystery, was an immediate success, and the following.