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The Man in Lower Ten

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Book Overview: 

Someone had to take the bank notes to Pittsburgh and take a statement from John Gilmore confirming that they were indeed forged. It was McKnight's turn to go, but he was bagging off because he wanted to spend the weekend visiting Alison West in Richmond. And so his law partner, Lawrence Blakeley, is left with no choice but to make the trip himself. All goes well at first, but on the train home, Blakeley wakes to find that the notes, along with his clothes, are missing from his sleeping berth. It was an eventful night. In addition to the theft, there's been a murder in the berth across, and when the weapon is found under Blakeley's pillow, he becomes one of the prime suspects.

Recommended for fans of John Grisham, Scott Turow, Michael Connelly, Janet Evanovich and David Baldacci.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I don't want it," I said. "Look inside. Maybe the other man took the money and left the wallet."

The conductor opened it, and again there was a curious surging forward of the crowd. To my intense disappointment the money was still there.

I stood blankly miserable while it was counted out—five one-hundred-dollar bills, six twenties, and some fives and ones that brought the total to six hundred and fifty dollars.

The little man with the note-book insisted on taking the numbers of the notes, to the conductor's annoyance. It was immaterial to me: small things had lost their power to irritate. I was seeing myself in the prisoner's box, going through all the nerve-racking routine of a trial for murder—the challenging of the jury, the endless cross-examinations, the alternate hope and fear. I believe I said before that I had no nerves, but for a few minutes that morning I was as near as a man ever comes to hysteria.

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Community Reviews

Yes, it is pretty sappy on occasion, but, man, this book has great characters as well as a real vision of the role of the collective in the decisions of the individual.
There are two things that I really love about this book: the characters (generally speaking) actually talk and act like real people

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.

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