Since the strange case of the man in lower ten, I have been a bit squeamish. Given a case like that, where you can build up a network of clues that absolutely incriminate three entirely different people, only one of whom can be guilty, and your faith in circumstantial evidence dies of overcrowding. I never see a shivering, white-faced wretch in the prisoners' dock that I do not hark back with shuddering horror to the strange events on the Pullman car Ontario, between Washington and Pittsburgh, on the night of September ninth, last. McKnight could tell the story a great deal better than I, although he cannot spell three consecutive words correctly. But, while he has imagination and humor, he is lazy.
Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a novelist and playwright best known for her mystery stories that combined humor with ingenuity. The success of her novels, The Circular Staircase (1908) and The Man in Lower Ten (1909), established her reputation as an important American mystery writer, and at one time she was the highest paid writer in America. In addition to mysteries, she wrote comic tales, plays, romances, and travel books, some of which reflected her experiences as a war correspondent during World War I. One critic called her autobiography, My Story (1931), her finest book.
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