Elisabeth Sanxay Holding was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Miss Whitcombe’s and Miss Botsford’s Schools for young ladies. She wanted to be a writer from an early age. In 1913, she married George E. Holding, a British diplomat, with whom she had two children and traveled widely in Latin America and the Caribbean before going to live in Bermuda for a number of years. She began her literary career in the 1920s writing six romance novels, including Invincible Minnie (1920) and Rosaleen Among the Artists (1921), as well as short stories and novellas. After the onset of the Great Depression, she turned to the more lucrative genre of the hardboiled detective novel. From 1929 to 1954, she published 18 novels, including Net of Cobwebs (1945), The Innocent Mrs. Duff (1946), The Blank Wall (1947), and Too Many Bottles (1951). These books sold well and won her praise from reviewers and peers alike for her masterful style and character development. Raymond Chandler wrote, "For my money she's the top suspense writer of them all." The Blank Wall was adapted twice into films: The Reckless Moment (1949), directed by Max Ophüls and The Deep End (2001). Several of her novels have been recently reprinted and made available to a new generation of readers.