There are quite a few coincidences--particularly in the occupants and survivors of car seven...maybe a few too many to be believable, but overall this is a nice solid little mystery. Rinehart tells the reader straight up in the first paragraph that there will be clues enough to build up a case against three different people and only one will be guilty. And she's right--but even knowing there are a limit of three suspects didn't help me spot the right one. Good for Rinehart for keeping us guessing. But what's really fun about this one is that it's a bit of twist on the "Had I But Known" school of mysteries. The usual drill for HIBK stories is for the protagonist to be a woman. A governess/companion/nurse/what-have-you who goes into a situation and then spends her time throughout the story telling the reader, "Had I known that X intended to do Y...." or "Had I known the evil that awaited me at Whosit Manor, I would never have..." But here? We've got ourselves a nice, level-head lawyer spouting off these lovely little HIBK-type tidbits: "Had Harrington slept in his own berth.." and "...I had no premonition of what was to come..." and the like. It's quite refreshing. Not quite Rinehart's best, but a pleasant mystery AND my copy has the bonus of illustrations. Three and a half stars.
...nobody cares for second-hand thrills. Besides, you want the unvarnished and ungarnished truth, and I'm no hand for that. I'm a lawyer. [McKnight] (p. 5)
I had no premonition of what was to come. Nothing unusual had ever happened to me; friends of mine had sometimes sailed the high seas of adventure or skirted the coast of chance, but all of the shipwrecks had occurred after a woman passenger had been taken on. (p. 13)
For the first time in my life it's even course began to waiver; the needle registered warning marks on the matrimonial seismograph. (p. 14)
No word of love had passed between us, but I felt that she knew and understood. It was one of the moments that come seldom in a lifetime, and then only in great crisis, a moment of perfect understanding. (p. 160)