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Marie Adelaide Elizabeth Rayner Lowndes (5 August 1868–14 November 1947)

Philip Curtin was the pseudonym used by the English born writer Marie Adelaide Belloc, the daughter of Louis Marie Belloc (1830-1872) and Elizabeth Rayner Parkes (1829-1925), born in George Street, Marylebone, London in 1868.

Marie's mother, better known as 'Bessie', founded the Woman's Suffrage Committee in England in 1866 with her best friend Barbara Bodichon. 'Bessie' Parkes was the granddaughter of Elizabeth Ryland (c.1769-1824) and Joseph Priestley, Jr. (1768-1833). Those maternal grandparents were respectively the children of Samuel Ryland (1745-1817), industrialist of Birmingham, England, and Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), the Unitarian minister who discovered oxygen.

'Bessie' soon left her friend Barbara Bodichon to continue 'the cause' so she could marry in 1867 to a French barrister named Louis Belloc, move with his to France and converted to Catholicism. After having her two children, her husband died in August of 1872 from sunstroke she returned to England and lost all interest in feminist issues.

However, Marie almost certainly got her writing skills from 'Bessie' who for eight years she had edited the magazine "The Englishwoman's Review" considered a much needed voice for women seeking advancement in society during that time.

Marie's brother, Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870–1953), although considered an influential writer in his own right was a Member of Parliament and possibly the most outspoken opponent to giving women not only the vote but also any higher education.

Marie married Frederick Sawnay Archibald Lowndes (1868-1940) in Kensington in 1896 and began writing royal biographies and historical novels such as a piece called "H.R.H. The Prince of Wales: an account of his career" (1898). Together they had three children - Edmund Harold Lowndes (1899-1918), Elizabeth Susan Angela Mary Lowndes (1900-1991), Susan Antonia Dorothea Priestley Lowndes (1907-1993).

Her work in her day was considered feminist, journalistic and sensational, and as was usually in the early 20th century publishers often encouraged reprinting works under different titles (particularly when republishing in the USA). They also thought it best a woman adopted a male pseudonym to encourage sales, hence the name 'Philip Curtin' was use when she wrote what was considered her most famous work "The Lodger" (1913) based on the Jack the Ripper murders and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1927.

A passage from "The Lodger" reads:

"It hadn't taken the landlady very long to find out that her lodger had a queer kind of fear and dislike of women. When she was doing the staircase and landings she would often hear Mr. Sleuth reading aloud to himself passages in the Bible that were very uncomplimentary to her sex. But Mrs. Bunting had no very great opinion of her sister woman, so that didn't put her out. Besides, where one's lodger is concerned, a dislike of women is better than -- well, than the other thing".

"Noted Murder Mysteries" (1914) was her non-fiction work offering accounts of nine notorious murder cases including "an exceptionally full account of the Bravo Case" considered at the time 'an enthralling drama in itself, told with admirable conciseness and very considerable power'. Marie also used her mothers names 'Elizabeth Rayner' in her honor as the alias for her third book "Not All Saints" (1914) - her mother died in Slindon, Sussex on the 11 August 1925, fifteen years after her father.

Near the end of her life she published two autobiography works - "I, too, have lived in Arcadia: a record of love and childhood" (1941) and "Where love and friendship dwelt" (1948). Then posthumously her work on her brother "The Young Hilaire Belloc" was published.

She died on 14 November 1947 at the home of her elder daughter, Elizabeth - Countess Iddesleigh (1930-1991) in Eversley Cross, Hampshire. She was interred in France, in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Versailles, where she spent her youth.


"H.R.H. The Prince of Wales: an account of his career". New York & London (1898 as Anon, rev. 1901 as "His Most Gracious Majesty King Edward VII")
"The philosophy of the Marquise", (1899)
"T.R.H. The Prince and Princess of Wales", (1902, as Anon.)
"The heart of Penelope", (1904, New York 1915)
"Barbara Rebell", (1905, New York 1907)
"The pulse of life: a story of a passing world", (1908, New York 1909)
"The uttermost farthing", (1908, New York 1910)
"Studies in wives", (1909, New York 1910)
"When no man pursueth: an everyday story", (1910, New York 1911)
"Jane Aglander", (1911, New York 1911)
"The chink in the armour", (1912, New York 1912, London 1935 as "The house of peril")
"Mary Pechell", (1912, New York 1912)
"The lodger" (1913, New York 1913)
"The end of her honeymoon", (New York 1913, London 1914)
"Studies in love and terror", (1913, New York 1913)
"Noted murder mysteries", (1914 as by 'Philip Curtin')
"Told in gallant deeds: a child's history of the War", (1914)
"Good old Anna", (1915, New York 1916)
"Price of Admiralty", (1915)
"The Red Cross barge, (1916, New York 1918)
"Lilla: a part of her life", (1916, New York 1917)
"Love and hatred", (1917, New York 1917)
"Out of the war? ", (1918, 1934 as "The gentleman anonymous")
"From the vasty deep", (1920, New York 1921 as "From out the vasty deep")
"The lonely house", (1920, New York 1920)
"What Timmy did", (1921, New York 1922)
"Why they married", (1923)
"The Philanderer", (1923)
"The Terriford mystery", (1924, Garden City NY 1924)
"Bread of deceit", (1925, Garden City NY 1928 as "Afterwards")
"Some men and women" (1925, Garden City NY 1928)
"What really happened", (1926, Garden City NY 1926, London 1932, as a play)
"The story of Ivy", (1927, Garden City NY 1928)
"Thou shalt not kill", (1927)
"Cressida: no mystery", (1928, New York 1930)
"Duchess Laura: certain days of her life", (1929, New York 1933 as "The duchess Intervenes")
"Love's revenge", (1929)
"One of those ways", (1929)
"The key: a love drama in three acts", (1930)
"With all John's love: a play in three acts", (1930)
"Letty Lynton", (1931, New York 1931)
"Vanderlyn's adventure", (New York 1931, London 1937 as "The house by the sea")
"Why be lonely? A comedy in three acts", (1931 with F. S. A. Lowndes)
"Jenny Newstead", (1932 New York 1932)
"Love is a flame", (1932)
"The reason why", 1932)
"Duchess Laura: further days of her life", (New York 1933)
"Another man's wife", (1934, New York 1934)
"The Chianti flask", (New York 1934, London 1935)
"Who rides on a tiger", (New York 1935, London 1936)
"And call it accident", (New York 1936, London 1939 as "And call it an accident")
"The second key", (New York 1936, London 1939 as "The injured lover")
"The marriage-broker", (1937, New York 1937 as "The fortune of Bridget Malone")
"The Empress Eugenie: a three-act play", (New York 1938)
"Motive", (1938, New York 1938 as "Why it happened")
"Lizzie Borden: a study in conjecture", (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1939, London 1940)
"Reckless angel", (New York 1939)
"The Christie diamond", (New York 1940, London 1940)
"Before the storm", (New York 1941)
"I, too, have lived in Arcadia: a record of love and childhood", (1941, New York 1942)
"What of the night?", (New York 1943)
"Where love and friendship dwelt", (1943, New York 1943)
"Thee merry wives of Westminster", (1946)
"A passing world", (1948)
"She dwelt with beauty", (1949)
"The young Hilaire Belloc", (New York 1956).


Adrian Room. "Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins", NC: MacFarland & Company Inc. (5th Ed. 2010)

George Watson, Ian Willison, J. D. Pickles, R.J. Roberts, Michael Statham, K.J. Worth (Eds.). "The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Volume 1", London: Cambridge University Press (1972)
Disambiguation notice

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