The Great MistakeMary Roberts Rinehart
The Great Mistake
Illness, jealousy, and murder poison the atmosphere in an ultrawealthy community
Pat comes from the village of Beverly, a charming country suburb whose inhabitants hate everything about the patch of gaudy mansions that have sprung up around it. The gaudiest of all belongs to Maud Wainwright, a bullish old widow whose famous dining room table has room for an even hundred. Orphaned and near destitute, Pat goes to work for Mrs. Wainwright, finding her stubborn, crude, and utterly charming. Even more pleasant is her son, Tony, a clever young rake whose only defect is his vicious, gold-digging wife.
It is a happy position, but soon the tragedy that has always haunted Pat returns. First Mrs. Wainwright falls ill, then a servant is nearly murdered by the pool, and finally, someone is found dead on the grounds. When a woman has room at her table for one hundred friends, Pat soon learns, she must also make room for a few enemies.