|with her book earnings in the 1930s|
Rinehart could buy lots of sheet music
--not to mention grand pianos
*(figures drawn from Jan Cohn's 1980 Rinehart biography, Improbable Fiction)
There was really no one to compare to Rinehart in terms of classical mystery fiction sales during the Golden Age, I think, unless it was S. S. Van Dine, briefly, in the 1920s. Rinehart's fans considered her something more than a "mere" mystery writer (as did Rinehart herself), someone concerned with the emotional impact of crime rather than puzzle mechanics.
Julian Symons once rather patronizingly termed Rinehart's audience as "maiden aunts"; but in fact I think Rinehart's popularity encompassed a much broader demographic. Her mystery fiction not only sold well, but it was well-received by (predominantly male) newspaper book reviewers, despite Ogden Nash famously ridiculing Rinehart's sort of "Had I But Known" mystery fiction [HIBK] in his satiric poem "Don't Guess Let Me Tell You."
I'll be saying more about Rinehart in a few days, when I talk about one of those 1930s mystery novels.