Read The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart Online


Lawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. His ride will be eventful. Along the way he'll encounter romance, treachery, a train wreck, even a murder in which he'll be implicated. Who's after Blakely and his papers -- why? The first detective novel to appear on national bestseller lists, THE MAN IN LOWER TEN is stiLawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. His ride will be eventful. Along the way he'll encounter romance, treachery, a train wreck, even a murder in which he'll be implicated. Who's after Blakely and his papers -- why? The first detective novel to appear on national bestseller lists, THE MAN IN LOWER TEN is still a great read almost ninety years after its publication. It has all the thrills of a contemporary whodunit and a satiric edge that gently mocks the conventions of male detective fiction....

Title : The Man in Lower Ten
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780758202697
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 212 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Man in Lower Ten Reviews

  • Robin
    2019-05-20 02:32

    I have a soft spot for closed door mysteries, and ones taking place on a moving train are extra spine tingling. This one held a lot of promise. A man murdered in his train berth, stolen forgery notes, an irresistibly beautiful woman who holds the heart of two best friends, a broken and bloody necklace. Set in the early 1900's, when cars are referred to as "machines" and many unfortunate and outdated racial terms are still employed. Lawyers Blakely and McKnight feature as the main characters, with Blakely the faithful narrator and the character most implicated in the mystery as it was he who was meant to be sleeping in lower ten, the berth in which the dead man is found. I'm not sure if the gentlemen appear in other books by this author; their friendship and teamwork are pretty charming as is the presence of Blakely's controlling housekeeper.This is my first reading of Mary Roberts Rinehart, who is sometimes referred to as the American Agatha Christie and who is credited with the phrase "the butler did it". While her writing is quite readable and often humourous, this mystery felt overly busy with many people taking trips here and there and my brain didn't stick completely where perhaps it should have in order to keep me totally on par with the unraveling of clues. Perhaps she hadn't quite come into her own, this being her first novel. I am interested in reading more of her better known works, such as The Circular Staircase.2.5 starsThank you to Netgalley and Dover Publications for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • L.A. Starks
    2019-05-10 04:43

    This book was first published in 1909, so all the caveats about different cultural norms apply. That said, it is quite readable today and gives an interesting look at a time removed from ours by almost a century with an emotional tenor that is timeless.

  • Tammie
    2019-05-04 04:44

    Written by Mary Roberts Rinehart, "the American Agatha Christie," this was the first detective novel to crack national bestseller lists. According to The New York Times, "[Rinehart's] literary distinction lies in the combination of love, humor, and murder that she wove into her tales … She helped the mystery story grow up." The Man in Lower Ten was Rinehart's debut novel, and it remains a thrilling tale of homicide, mayhem, romance. Attorney Lawrence Blakely is on a train bound to deliver some important papers to a client. While on the way he ends up switching train berths with another man who mistakenly falls asleep in his. The next morning that man is found murdered and the murder weapon is found in the berth that Lawrence was sleeping in. That's all I'm going to say about the plot setup because the whole switching berths thing becomes a little more complicated than that and you really just need to read it.I found this picture of a train berth from the early 1900s that I imagine is just like the ones described in the book. It even shows the nets that passengers would put their personal belongings in.This is only the second book I've read by Mary Roberts Rinehart and I liked it quite a bit. It seems a lot of people say this book is weak compared to her later books, but having previously read The After House I can say that story-wise I prefer this one. That's not to say that this one wasn't without its faults and I can see just from reading the two books how her writing improved over time. The dialog in this one was tedious to follow at times, and at a couple of points it was hard to follow what was happening. I also wasn't all that crazy about the romantic aspect of the book. It was a bit too insta-love for me and I really couldn't see why all the men were so crazy about the lady in question as she lacked personality. Thankfully that was a small part of the story. The best part of the book for me was while they were on the train. After that there is a lot of running here and there to try to solve the mystery. The mystery itself was pretty good, but I never felt like it kept me guessing. From the very beginning there was no question in my mind as to the fact that the killer was one of three people, simply because of one particular item that was found that proved to be key evidence. In the end the solution to the mystery felt rather anticlimactic. I would like to read more of Rinehart's work because I feel like I just haven't yet read her at her best.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Dover for giving me a copy of this book for review.Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

  • Cphe
    2019-05-16 01:47

    A nicely atmospheric mystery of a bygone era. Attorney Lawrence Blakely becomes implicated when a murder is discovered on the overnight train he is travelling in. All the evidence points to Lawrence. To clear his name he pursues a convoluted trail to find out what really occurred on the Ontario that fateful night.There is quite a bit of substance to this mystery, a well developed "whodunit" that remains suspenseful until the end. Well worth the time.

  • Susan
    2019-05-05 01:50

    True, the technology is different (one photocopier could have changed the whole course of the book), and some of the manners. But it's still amazing to think that this was written more than a century ago. Lawyer Lawrence Blakeley is sent to Pittsburg to get a deposition from a millionaire; as he returns home with the important documents, he's involved in a train robbery, a murder, and a train wreck, from which he escapes with a lovely but troubled young woman. Instantly smitten for the first time, he tries to protect her reputation. There are two other mysterious women on the train, just among the few survivors, and also some men who want to get the documents Lawrence carried.

  • Bev
    2019-05-19 08:50

    see review on another edition

  • Tracey
    2019-05-14 09:44

    This was kind of an odd one. I love Mary Roberts Rinehart – but this one was not quite up to where I expected it to be. Unfortunately it's one of those books where the unsolved mystery is more interesting than the solution. It's a great setup – rather dull lawyer fellow (with vivid best friend – I liked that the kind of boring one was the narrator) goes off to get some very important papers for a very important case, and on the train ride home has them stolen. And also comes in as the best suspect for a murder in his Pullman car. Luckily for him, the train suffers a horrific accident, so he has the chance to avoid immediate investigation, and also to fall in love – with his best friend's girl. The writing is entertaining; characterization works, and all the red herrings and wrong suspects that litter the landscape make for a good yarn. Everything eventually pulls together and gets cleared up – and I admit to disappointment at the wrap-up. Sometimes the journey is just more fun than the destination.One warning: this is very much of its time. In a couple of ways, actually – it startled me when the narrator talks about choosing a hansom cab; the involvement of the train made me think for some reason that it was a Golden Age book, from the forties or so. Then there's the line "Pittsburg without smoke wouldn't be Pittsburg, any more than New York without prohibition would be New York." So – Pittsburgh used to be spelled without the "H", and it's during Prohibition. Check. But just in case you go into this thinking it's just a very well-written historical mystery that uses some great details to let you know when it's set – well, reality will hit you like the Ice Bucket Challenge when words are used to refer to non-white races that would probably not be used today, even by the most dedicated anti-anachronistic writer. Yeah. It was first published in 1909. Things were different then. It can be (to use a period-appropriate adjective) delightful – but it can be cringe-worthy as well. Which was also the case with a few remarks about women, too, which – come now, Ms. Rinehart. The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

  • Marts(Thinker)
    2019-05-10 01:53

    Lies, murder, romance, a train wreck? Lawrence Blakeley has a disagreeable task, he has to deliver a statement and some forged bank notes to Pittsburgh. The lawyer ends up in a muddle of adventure which leads to him being labeled a murderer... First he loses everything, clothes, shoes, and worst of all the bag with the bank notes; and then he finds a murdered man in his berth and guess what, the murder weapon is also found in his possession... Then there's Ms. West his colleague's mysterious love interest...

  • Andrea
    2019-04-27 06:43

    Edging more into thriller than mystery (and driven by some major-league coincidences), this was moderately entertaining (though I probably wouldn't have picked it up if I'd known most of the story revolved around people being wrongly suspected and having to clear their name, which isn't a plotline I enjoy).

  • Beverly
    2019-05-04 04:49

    While I realize this was written several decades ago, before forensics became so much more important to solving crimes, I didn't understand why the private detective got to hang on to the evidence--why on earth didn't the police have the evidence in their possession? They seemed to think it was OK for the private detective to have it.

  • JoeNoir
    2019-04-30 06:32

    Murder, suicide, forged papers, a train derailment. This is one entertaining book. It’s also very (intentionally) funny. There is some melodrama as well. This book was first published in 1909, and it was clearly a different world. This is reflected in the writing.There are a few spots were the action is not crystal clear, but becomes clear in further reading of the text. I think this is the author’s style. This was my first Mary Roberts Rinehart. I would read along and feel as if I missed something, then all would be clear a few paragraphs later.I enjoyed this book. The edition I found was an old “short” Dell with a cover price of 45 cents from 1964. The cover art is similar to that by the artist William Teason who did many Agatha Christie covers for Dell. It could have been someone trying to copy his style. This edition is nicely illustrated inside by a different artist.

  • Ryan
    2019-04-27 02:35

    I think by now that everyone knows I'm hooked on Mary Roberts Rinehart. After being introduced to her last year by Yvette of in so many words..., I don't think it's been possible for me to get enough of the twists and turns she develops her mysteries with. I've even found myself rooting for the couples that Roberts pushed together as they faced danger and possible death.I think it's also safe to assume that most of us realize that just because you love an author, doesn't mean you are going to love every book they wrote. I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan, but I don't love every Poirot book she did. Now that's not to say I don't enjoy reading them, because I do. I still think the worst book from an author like Agatha Christie or Mary Roberts Rinehart is still better than half the crap that comes out now. I guess I'm going to have to put The Man In Lower Ten in that category for me. It was good, but not nearly as good as others I've read by her.I really thought I was going to enjoy this one more than I did. I adore mysteries set on a train and the fact that the train scene ends with a horrific derailment had me all a flutter. I even really enjoyed the premise of this one for me, and I wish I could tell you a specific reason why this one didn't do it for me as much as others have. I think part of it may have been the frantic pace the characters seemed to be stuck in. Everything was moving and developing so quickly that I don't think I was really ever able to pay attention to everything that was going on. I actually don't know, I think I'm grasping at straws to explain away my lack of interest in this one. I guess I'm just going to chalk it up to not every book is meant for every person. I can't even say it's not worth reading, because as I stated earlier, it's still better than most of what's out there. I would just start with some of her other books first.I have already finished two other Rinehart books since I read this, and am about done with a third, and I have to say that so far, The Man In Lower Ten is a bit of a aberration from my normal reaction to her writing.

  • Pam
    2019-05-24 01:44

    In 1909 this book was a top 10 best seller for the year. Famous as the grand dame of the American mystery genre ("the butler did it..." is attributed to Rhinehart), I have stumbled over references to her books and plots a number of times. I was curious to read it and found it an exquisite period piece that allows you to be swept into the world of 1909 America that is modern enough for you to see the rich details and differences with 100 years ago. Mundane descriptions and actions about traveling in a sleeper coach are fascinating and provide a vivid account of every day life.The mystery starts in a Pullman coach and involves a sympathetic and attractive, bachelor, lawyer who is traveling with valuable papers. He finds his sleeper, the lower-ten, occupied by another man and upon waking the next morning discovers the other man murdered, his documents and clothes missing, and blood stains on his bed linens. Suspicion falls on the lawyer and then the train wrecks, allowing the lawyer and the beautiful, young, fresh-faced, modern, plucky but devastating feminine heroine to escape and begin clearing his name. Of course suspicion is thrown on everyone and Rhinehart isn't above using spooky and creepy scenes of candles, mysterious stranger, and darkened buildings to build the suspense and atmosphere. But despite the characters, and wonderful descriptions, F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he wrote in This Side of Paradise about Mary Roberts Rhinehart: “My God! Look at them, look at them—Edna Ferber, Gouverneur Morris, Fanny Hurst, Mary Roberts Rinehart—not producing among ’em one story or novel that will last ten years." It is hard to read through this novel because of the melodramatic and overly sentimental nature of the writing. Perhaps in the right hands, a wonderful screen play could be created, but alone the writing makes it clear why it hasn't stood the ravages of time.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-05-18 02:40

    4.5 stars. An intricate, fun old-fashioned mystery! Lawrence Blakely, a lawyer traveling by train with some important documents, is forced by circumstances to go to sleep in the wrong berth, and wakes up in yet another wrong berth to discover that the man in the first one has been murdered, the important documents have been stolen, and he's been left in possesion of only the presumed murderer's clothes, shoes...and murder weapon! Following the wreck of the train, Blakely must join forces with some other survivors of the disaster, who may possibly be mixed up in the case, to find the real murderer before he's arrested for the crime himself. There's plenty of puzzling physical clues and several different suspects who have different motives to kill different people—so which one of them killed the man who actually ended up dead? There's some delightful comic relief, especially connected with the characters of Hotchkiss, the eager amateur detective who's determined to solve the mystery himself, and Johnson, the professional detective who dutifully shadows the under-suspicion Blakely. A good read for a classic-mystery enthusiast!

  • Kay
    2019-05-03 08:29

    I enjoy classic "murder on a train" mysteries, but this one suffered from a predictable love story and a tendency to jump forward and refer back to events that hadn't yet unfolded, as in "Had Harrington slept in his own berth, none of this would have happened" -- before the reader is acquainted with who Harrington is, for example. This got more than a little tiresome. On the plus side, references to travel and domestic arrangements circa 1909 provided plenty of interest. At one point, the protagonist takes the 6:30 am train from Richmond, VA and gets into Washington, DC at four in the afternoon. That's a little over a hundred miles in over nine hours. Even at its worst, I-95 couldn't get so snarled to take a driver that long today. Meantime, going west to Pittsburgh (now a four-hour drive from DC) was obviously viewed as an exotic trek west over the mountain passes. I can't say this made me long for a simpler time (especially given the predominant racial and sexual views), but it did make me stop and think.

  • Christine Cody
    2019-05-20 08:53

    What a joy it was to read this book. Narrated by Lawrence Blakely, the “senior” partner of Blakely and McKnight, Attorneys, the story is fast-paced, thrilling, amusing, highly entertaining, and with colorful characters on all sides of the law and from all classes. The detectives involved in this case are “Johnson” and a young, ambitious man who considers himself a detective and becomes closely entwined with the two law partners as the “plot thickens.” I’m very excited to be starting a new series, one that promises much entertainment from the numerous books Rinehart wrote between 1906 and 1953.

  • Anushka
    2019-04-26 03:53

    Find this and the rest of my reviews at Description: A mystery novel involving a murder, a theft, two cases of switched berths, cases of mistaken identity, a train crash, multiple women that the protagonist cannot distinguish properly between due to a condition known as casual-sexistitis, dated English, and an idiot who thinks he's in love.[Insert Spoiler Alert here]This book appeared in my collection of Agatha Christie novels, and I began to read it under the assumption it was by Christie herself. Being an old mystery novel by a female author, I suppose someone somewhere found it easy to confuse them. Even the title sounds like something Christie would have come up with.Unfortunately for me, I carried forward my Agatha Christie mindset even after discovering my mistake. With Christie, the secret to solving the murder is to pin it on the least likely character. In this case, that character was Alice West. I now understand what a review of Christie that I read recently meant when it said that she showed no compassion for love interests. In this novel, the real twist would have been if Alice West was the murderer, but as the love interest for multiple characters (seriously, they're all trying to get married to her) she was spared that dubious honour.Having cut my teeth on my local library's entire collection of Nancy Drew books, I have long been a fan of good mysteries. I even had a fanatic phase where I read only Agatha Christie. And to me, this was a very middling book. Poor, even, considering that it falls neatly into the classic format of too many crimes, confusion in the dark, person who was attempting to commit one crime finding a different crime already committed, and so forth. In the end, there was no real twist. The murderer is already dead, the beneficiary of the theft also already dead. Lots of dead people, no prosecution, and this is what passed for a "happy ending" in 1902. You know, so long as Whiny McWhiny gets to marry a girl ten years younger than he.Indeed, romance is the weak point for many of the older novels I've read. Or perhaps it feels that way to me because of how different their patterns of courting were. Very little emotion is expressed, especially on the part of the women. They could all be replaced with walking, talking mannequins and I doubt anybody would notice the difference. Sex is barely ever even hinted at, except in the form of actual babies or pregnancies. What is mystifying to me, under such circumstances, is how these women managed to gain any semblance of a satisfactory sex life when they never actually talked about it, and pretended not to even think about it until the day they were married.Against this backdrop, those rare expressions of emotion sound odd, forced and unnatural. Too much exposition is needed to explain it to the reader, because the author, the reader, and the characters themselves are all completely emotionally stunted.Or so it seems to me, who am as outsider as it gets. Seriously, the only person in this book who is not white is Euphemia, Whiny McWhiny's "colored" housemaid. I can't imagine what character or role I'd fill, where I to have lived in the time and place this book is set in.Perhaps the people living during that time had their own ways of knowing, their own little understandings. But as we all know, silence is how most forms of oppression thrive, and God forbid any of us return to such a time.The writing was messy and scrambled, as though the author were piling misdirection upon misdirection. It made it hard to keep reading, and the casual sexism of the protagonist made it even harder. The coincidences that keep piling up - the idea that a girl, her fiance, fiance's sister, fiance's wife, fiance's father in law, her boyfriend's business partner (who is also her uncle's lawyer), the accomplice of the forger that her uncle, boyfriend and boyfriend's business partner are litigating against, forger's girlfriend, and a random private detective should all be on the same goddamn train - well, that was the icing on the cake.Told you it was hard to read.That being said, this was apparently M.R.R's debut novel, so a lot may be forgiven. I find the life of the author far more intriguing than her work itself - she wrote to support her family, singlehandedly renovating their house, among other things, with the money she received from her writing. She may have been fond of poking fun at traditional detective novels written from the masculine perspective, and spoke out about her radical mastectomy and cancer diagnosis more than a century before Angelina Jolie did. It says nothing positive about our society that Jolie's decision to discuss her procedures caused as much of a stir as Rineheart's did.

  • Eruth
    2019-04-29 08:31

    I read Mary Roberts Rinehart as a teenager, so I was intrigued to see that one of her books is back in print. My memory of her books is extremely vague, but, after reading The Man in Lower Ten, I'm sure the writing style and engaging characters must have been what made them so popular even then. I really enjoyed the narrator's voice in The Man in Lower Ten. He's Lawrence Blakely, a lawyer, a confirmed bachelor (At the age of thirty! What a sign of the times!), and soft-hearted towards unfamiliar young women, his middle-aged housekeeper, and his loyal but slightly lazy law partner and friend Richey McKnight. The mystery plot involves forged notes from a prior case that must be fetched from another city, a murder in a train berth (berth number ‘lower ten’), a train crash, a beautiful young woman who is, purely by chance, both Richey’s love interest and on the ill-fated train, and a couple of private investigators. There are clues, red herrings and plot twists galore. These days historical fiction is extremely popular and historical mystery series are common. I found this book fascinating because it's historical in the sense that it takes place more than 100 years ago, but it is authentic in a way that historical mysteries are not -- the author lived and wrote in the early 1900's and knew the era first-hand. The terms used -- e.g. comfortable instead of comforter -- and the plot requirements -- picking up documents in person by train, rather than sending them by UPS -- were not researched by Ms Rinehart but rather everyday life. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys historical settings, complex mysteries, and likeable characters.

  • Tania
    2019-04-28 01:50

    A fun who-done-it that has aged well over the last 100 years, The Man in Lower Ten never takes itself too seriously, and yet manages to follow a serious case with the appropriate gravity. Turn of the (last) century attorney Mr. Lawrence has important papers that can convict a man. However, his friend and law firm partner senses he's in danger. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation - a far cry from the forgery case he was working on. Mr. Lawrence is really having the worst luck, but with his friends in tow he sets out trying to right all of the wrong assumptions that have been made on the case. He does it for his honor, but he also does it for love - he's inconveniently fallen for a woman quite wrapped up in all the intrigue. It's a lively, if a bit disorganized, novel, and plenty entertaining.

  • Eric
    2019-04-29 02:36

    Although the first publication date is given as 1909, this refers to the issuing of a hardback edition. The Man In Lower Ten was originally a serial, dating from 1906 and is the author’s first work.These facts help,I think, to explain the rather fragmented/ choppy style and the episodic nature of the story which I found difficult to take.The story is fairly typical of its era, very melodramatic and with the strong love interest nearly overwhelming the mystery.The author is often referred to as the American Agatha Christie but I really failed to see the connection in this book, my first Rinehart.I thought the dialogue poorly written although the main characters were well-realised: there was a lot of potential here unfulfilled.Overall I was disappointed but will try others to see if I missed something here.Thank you to NetGalley and Dover for the review copy.

  • Mark O'Leary
    2019-05-04 01:55

    I read this because I grew up in the town where the author lived, and I always thought I should read something of hers. In her day, she was hugely popular, and her books made her wealthy. But this book is dated to say the least, and she is unlikely to enjoy a revival anytime soon. The language, like the manners, are stilted and self conscious. No one really talked like this, not even in Rinehart's day, though a polite author was expected to make the reader think they did. There's the casual racism: calling black men "boy," referring to black people as "darkies." Hard to let that stuff pass in the 21st century. In fact, with a story so flat and uninteresting, I see little in this book to interest a modern reader, except perhaps to see how far we have come in both narrative style and cultural values since 1909.

  • Vanessa
    2019-04-27 07:33

    I don't know if it's the hot weather or if I'm losing it but this novel was impenetrable for me - 20 pages in and I couldn't make heads or tails of the characters or where they were going or who was what and why. And when the the love interest appears, purely in photograph, with hands clasped demurely in front of her youthful, slim figure my eyes nearly rolled out of my head; what I wouldn't give for a heroine that's like a smooth 20 pounds overweight. I understand that this novel is both using and subverting the male detective tropes of its day but I found this hard cheese indeed. Perhaps Ms. Rinehart's not for me,however, as I didn't care for The Circular Staircase either. For completists only.I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lora
    2019-05-10 02:31

    In the last 20% of this book I suddenly started worrying about how all the somewhat confusing leads would tie up. Then I started getting irritated. Plot holes started jumping out at me. The characters weren't holding my interest. The romance kind of fizzled a bit because of the other problems. I finished, having enjoyed the humor and some of the story, but an annoying wrap up loses points. Not that this is the Olympics or anything- it's a decent enough read for a snowy weekend or laid up with a cold. Clean, funny in places, and with some real surprises, yeah, it's OK. Not really planning to read more by this author.

  • Bookworm
    2019-05-16 08:53

    Oooooh so good!! Mary Robert Rinehart is really the twin sister of Agatha Christie in mystery literature. Here we have the laid back, rather content with his placid life lawyer, the completely Irish and warm hearted friend and co-owner of the lawyer firm, the three very confusing and mysterious women-how are they all connected?? And the chilling murder in Lower ten on a moving train, in the middle of the night! A wreck, a broken necklace and a light that goes up and down the stairs of an abandoned house in a most un-respectable fashion, are other components of this lovely read. Thumbs up.

  • Betty Dickie
    2019-05-11 06:33

    This book was copyrighted in 1909 and the two young main characters spoke in a slang of that age that defies augury. But still, as in all Roberts books, a decent mystery and interesting characters leading to a very surprising and satisfying ending.

  • Mark Stratton
    2019-05-20 02:39

    A fun, lighthearted read. I shall seek out more by this author

  • Barbara Lynn
    2019-04-27 05:32

    Too long. Started out great but had to force myself to skim a lot of the pages just so I could get to the parts about the main mystery and hurry up and complete it.

  • Ginger
    2019-04-30 07:44

    Riveting, murder mysteryI thoroughly enjoyed this adventure as I experienced the twists and turns to the end. A classic in every sense of the word.

  • Marya
    2019-05-02 01:48

    Not quite a four-star book maybe, but better than a three.

  • Peggy Rounds
    2019-04-25 09:51

    Old timeyI so enjoy reading the old books with their unusual grammar and sentence syntax. Then when you throw a mystery in...just what the doctor ordered.