The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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A supervillain stalks the countryside, and it will take a spinster to bring him to heel

For months, the city has lived in fear of the Bat. A master criminal hindered by neither scruple nor fear, he has stolen over one million dollars and left at least six men dead. The police are helpless, the newspapers know nothing—even the key figures of the city’s underworld have no clue as to the identity of the Bat. He is a living embodiment of death itself, and he is coming to the countryside.

There, he will encounter the only person who can stop him: adventurous sixty-five-year-old spinster Cornelia Van Gorder. Last in a long line of New York society royalty, Cornelia has found old age to be a bore, and is hungry for a bit of adventure. She’s going to find it—in a lonely old country house where every shadow could be the Bat.


“[Rinehart’s] literary distinction lies in the combination of love, humor and murder that she wove into her tales. . . . She helped the mystery story grow up.” —The New York Times

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via Wikipedia

The Bat (1926) is a silent film based on the 1920 hit Broadway The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, directed by Roland West and starring Jack Pickford and Louise Fazenda. The story takes place in an old mansion, where people look for hidden loot while a caped killer (nicknamed "The Bat") murders them one by one.

Director Roland West remade his film four years later as The Bat Whispers (1930), with Chester Morris and Una Merkel. A 1959 remake, The Bat, starred Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.

Comic-book creator Bob Kane said in his 1989 autobiography Batman and Me that the villain of the 1930 film The Bat Whispers was an inspiration for his character Batman.