Marie Adelaide Lowndes, née Belloc, pen name Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, (born 1868, France—died Nov. 14, 1947, Eversley Cross, Hampshire, Eng.), English novelist and playwright best known for murder mysteries that were often based on actual murder cases.
The sister of the poet and essayist Hilaire Belloc, she received little formal education, but, because of the prominence of her family in intellectual circles, she was acquainted with the leading literary figures of the day. Lowndes published her first story at 16 and her first novel 20 years later. After a series of historical and fictional character studies—e.g., The Heart of Penelope (1904) and Barbara Rebell (1905)—she wrote The Chink in the Armour (1912), a psychological study of a murder-plot victim. The Lodger, published the following year, was a fictional treatment of the Jack the Ripper murders. Her numerous works, spanning the first 40 years of the 20th century, include a series featuring the detective Hercules Popeau and an autobiography, “I, Too, Have Lived in Arcadia” (1941).