Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mary Roberts Rinehart: Mystery Writer in No-Man's-Land

Mary Roberts Rinehart in 1915
Mary Roberts Rinehart Papers, 1831-1970,
SC 1958.03
Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
"After passing an area where there had been extremely heavy fighting and where a major was now posted, flat on his stomach, with a machine gun pointed toward the German lines, the journalists and their hosts came to the most dangerous part of the trip. They were to walk straight out into no-man's-land upon a slippery four-foot-wide path made of sandbags, covered with twigs, that rose out of the midst of the water.

Their destination was the 'shaking, rocking' tower of a ruined church, now being used as a Belgian observation post, 400 yards from the Belgian front lines and only 600 feet away from the Germans. The journalists had been given only one warning: 'If a fusee goes up, stand perfectly still. If you move they will fire.' But the Germans wouldn't need a fusee to see them that night; the moon was very bright. Mary suddenly regretted her decision to wear a khaki-colored coat. 'I shone like a star,' she recorded in her diary. She felt that 'a thousand rifles' were 'picking her out.'

After a moment's fearful hesitation Mary stepped out onto the pathway and walked out to the tower..."
Excerpt from "Mary Roberts Rinehart: Mystery Writer on the Western Front" from Women Heroes of World War I.

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