Edith Caroline Rivett (6th May 1894 – 2nd July 1958) was a British crime writer, who wrote under the pseudonyms E. C. R. Lorac, Carol Carnac and Mary Le Bourne during the golden age of detective fiction.
The youngest daughter of Harry and Beatrice Rivett, née Foot, Edith was born in Hendon, Middlesex. She had two sisters. In 1898 the family emigrated to Australia, for warm weather to treat Harry Rivett's tuberculosis. This was unsuccessful, and in 1900 the family returned, traveling on the SS Illawarra. Harry Rivett died on the voyage, and was buried at sea.
When the family reached London, they were penniless, but were received into the household of Beatrice Rivett's father, Edward Foot. Beatrice found employment as an assistant rate collector. Edith attended South Hampstead High School, and the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London and she continued as a craft practitioner throughout her life; her work included embroidery and calligraphy that has been on display at Westminster Abbey.
Lorac published her first detective novel in 1931 called ‘The Murder on the Burrows’, a well-crafted debut which launched her detective Inspector Macdonald on a career that was to last for more than a quarter of a century. Nine Lorac novels were published by Sampson Low, earning increasingly favourable reviews before she moved to the more prestigious imprint of Collins Crime Club in 1936, with ‘Crime Counter Crime’, set during a General Election. She remained a Crime Club stalwart for the rest of her life.
Remaining unmarried, she lived her last years with her elder sister, Gladys Rivett in Lonsdale, Lancashire. She became a popular figure in the village while continuing to work productively as a detective novelist. To this day, she is remembered in the local community as spirited and strong-willed, a woman with a strong social conscience. Edith Rivett died at the Caton Green Nursing Home, Caton-with-Littledale, near Lancaster. Rivett is buried in the churchyard at St Saviour's Church, Aughton.
First editions in the attractive dust jackets of the period can now change hands, on the rare occasions when they come on to the market, for a high price. The British Library Crime Classics has so far published, Bats in the Belfry, Fire in the Thatch, Murder By Matchlight, Murder in the Mill-Race, Fell Murder, Checkmate to Murder, plus Crossed Skis under her Carol Carnac pseudonym.