The Most Prolific Writer You’ve Never Heard Of
Since authors have been writing, there are those who choose to publish their work under a pseudonym for various reasons. Edith Caroline Rivett is one such writer. Between 1931 and 1959, forty-eight books were published under the name E.C.R. Lorac, and twenty-three books under the name Carol Carnac. Despite the prodigious number of books she released, she is one of the lesser known authors of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. (In fact, I searched long and hard, yet was unable to find a photograph of her.)
The Lorac books feature “London Scot” Detective Inspector Robert MacDonald, a bachelor with a penchant for long walks in the English countryside. The Carnac books feature three different protagonists: Inspector Ryvet, Chief Inspector Julian Rivers, and Rivers’ assistant Inspector Lansing.
Edith was a member of the Detection Club – a group formed in 1930 by British mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margaret Cole, and others. The first president was G.K. Chesterton who presided over dinner meetings where members helped each other with the technical aspects of their books.
Many of her books were set in London, about which she was quite familiar, having grown up there and being part of a family that had lived there for generations (with a short jaunt to Australia for her father’s health). After WWII, most of her books were set in the rural, north country of England. Never marrying, she passed away at a relatively young age (64). Speculation says, that if she had lived longer, she might have published well over one hundred books.
Charming, well-written stories, they are worth the effort if you can get your hands on any of them.