As an admirer of Gertrude Stein I feel I have to come to her aid by pointing out a few misunderstandings in my estimated colleague's interesting article. There is no indication anywhere that Stein didn't finish her murder mystery. The story ends very nicely, in fact, with a little "Thank you"-bow, an ironic finishing arabesque, and the word "Finis.", True, in his afterword to the 1982 reedition of the book, John Herbert Gill states, "'Blood on the Dining-Room Floor' comes to an end, but, as Gertrude Stein herself said of it, is has no ending." What that means, however, is, no ending in the traditional sense of what is expected in a murder mystery: the mystery solved, the murderer found. None of this, of course, in Stein's detective novel. The mystery of "Blood on the Dining-Room Floor" is that of Stein's identity. Who was she, now that she was suddenly famous? "I am I because my little dog knows me." And here we come to another misunderstanding. I believe nobody and nothing ever "forced" Gertrude Stein into writing anything. She was not the kind. What she wanted at all cost was being famous, a "lion." If there were suggestions, from a publisher, for example, they were only stating the obvious: a compulsive author nearing age 60 would necessarily think of autobiographical writing. Doing it in the voice of her lover, as the pretend "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas," is such a sly, playful move - even Stein couldn't have been that brilliant under any kind of pressure!
read Karren Alenier's article