The Man in Lower Ten was recommended by an Edwardian book site (or perhaps just an Edwardian site) as a good introduction to Mary Roberts Rinehart, better than The Circular Staircase or The Bat. I don’t know if it was better, but it was a great intro to MRR. She’s a fun writer with a plot that moves along and characters that are interesting, also a fairly adorable romance.
The man in lower ten – a berth on the Washington Flyer from Pittsburgh – is supposed to be attorney Lawrence Blakely returning with evidence in an important case to Washington, but someone gets there before him. Someone impossible to rouse. So Blakely opts for lower 9 instead and wakes to find the man in lower ten was murdered and his own clothes have been stolen. Not only that, but there is highly incriminating evidence pointing to him! Before the conductor and an enthusiastic amateur detective can make any headway there’s a terrible crash and few of the passengers are left alive. Does this get Blakely off the hook? Who was the man and who murdered him? Who stole Blakely’s clothes? And what happened to the evidence Blakely was supposed to be guarding? Rinehart’s lively tale answers all these questions and a host more. It’s almost hard to believe this was written in 1906, the pace is quick, the writing is lively, only the fact that when the electricity is out they only have matches to light their way really reminds you when the story is set. I’ll certainly be reading more of MRR, even if the others aren’t as good.
And now, with one day and a couple hours left in BoB, I’m not sure what to read next. I won’t read two whole books. I forgot I was spending the better part of three days seeing an old friend, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read something this last day, does it?