E. C. R. Lorac

Edith Caroline Rivett (1894–1958) (who wrote under the pseudonyms E. C. R. Lorac and Carol Carnac) was a British crime writer. The youngest daughter of Harry and Beatrice Rivett, née Foot, (1868–1943), she was born in Hendon, Middlesex, (now London) on May 6, 1894. She attended the South Hampstead High School, and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London.[1] She was a member of the Detection Club. She was a very prolific author, writing forty-eight mysteries under her first pen name, and twenty-three under her second. She was an important author of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Remaining unmarried, she lived her last years with her elder sister, Gladys Rivett (1891-1966), in Lonsdale, Lancashire. In her latter years, she wrote several mysteries feature Chief Inspector Macdonald with the Lune Valley, Lancashire, as its setting. Edith Rivett died at the Caton Green Nursing Home, Caton-with-Littledale, near Lancaster. According to the probate records for her will, she left an estate valued at £10,602, 16 shillings.

In 2018, the British Library included three novels by E.C.R. Lorac in its "British Library Crime Classics" series of re-issued works, including Fire in the Thatch, Bats in the Belfry, and Murder by Matchlight. The back cover of the re-issued, Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery (originally published in 1946), declares that, "Her books have been almost entirely neglected since her death, but deserve rediscovery as fine examples of classic British crime fiction in its golden age."[2]


As E. C. R. Lorac

Most of these books feature her main series character, Chief Inspector Robert Macdonald, a "London Scot" and an avowed bachelor with a love for walking in the English countryside. In 28 of these books, he has the help of his assistant, Detective Inspector Reeves.

  • The Murder on the Burrows (1931)
  • The Affair on Thor's Head (1932)
  • The Greenwell Mystery (1932)
  • The Case of Colonel Marchand (1933)
  • Death on the Oxford Road (1933)
  • Murder in St.John's Wood (1934)
  • Murder in Chelsea (1934)
  • The Organ Speaks (1935)
  • Death of an Author (1935)
  • Crime Counter Crime (1936)
  • Post after Post-Mortem (1936)
  • A Pall for a Painter (1936)
  • Bats in the Belfry (1937)
  • These Names Make Clues (1937)
  • The Devil and the C.I.D. (1938)
  • Slippery Staircase (1938)
  • John Brown's Body (1939)
  • Black Beadle (1939)
  • Death at Dyke's Corner (1940)
  • Tryst for a Tragedy (1940)
  • Case in the Clinic (1941)
  • Rope's End - Rogue's End (1942)
  • The Sixteenth Stair (1942)
  • Death Came Softly (1943)
  • Checkmate to Murder (1944)
  • Fell Murder (1944) [agricultural setting in Lancashire]
  • Murder by Matchlight (1945)
  • Fire in the Thatch (1946)
  • The Theft of the Iron Dogs (1946) vt Murderer's Mistake (1947 US)
  • Relative to Poison (1947)
  • Death before Dinner (1948)
  • Part for a Poisoner (1948)
  • Still Waters (1949)
  • Policemen in the Precinct (1949)
  • Accident by Design (1950)
  • Murder of a Martinet (1951)
  • The Dog It Was That Died (1952)
  • Murder in the Mill-Race (1952) (US title: "Speak Justly of the Dead" 1953)
  • Crook O'Lune (1953) [US title: Shepherd's Crook]
  • Shroud of Darkness (1954)
  • Let Well Alone (1954)
  • Ask a Policeman (1955)
  • Murder in Vienna (1956)
  • Picture of Death (1957)
  • Dangerous Domicile (1957)
  • Death in Triplicate (1958)
  • Murder on a Monument (1958)
  • Dishonour among Thieves (U.S. title: The Last Escape) (1959)

As Carol Carnac

They feature three different series characters. The first one is Inspector Ryvet. The other two are Chief Inspector Julian Rivers (who appears in 15 books), and his assistant, Inspector Lansing, who appears in 18 cases (four of them with Ryvet.)

  • Triple Death (1936)
  • Murder at Mornington (1937)
  • The Missing Rope (1937)
  • When the Devil Was Sick (1939)
  • The Case of the First Class Carriage (1939)
  • Death in the Diving Pool (1940)
  • A Double for Detection (1945)
  • The Striped Suitcase (1946)
  • Clue Sinister (1947)
  • Over the Garden Wall (1948)
  • Upstairs Downstairs (1950)
  • Copy for Crime (1950)
  • It's Her Own Funeral (1951)
  • Crossed Skis (1952)
  • Murder as a Fine Art (1953)
  • A Policeman at the Door (1953)
  • Impact of Evidence (1954)
  • Murder among Members (1955)
  • Rigging the Evidence (1955)
  • The Double Turn (1956)
  • The Burning Question (1957)
  • Long Shadows (1958) (U.S. title: Affair at Helen's Court)
  • Death of a Lady Killer (1959)


  1. Crime & Mystery Fiction
  2. Lorac, E.C.R. (2018). Fire in the Thatch: A Devon Mystery, with an introduction by Martin Edwards. London: The British Library. ISBN 9780712352604.
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