Courtney Ryley Cooper (1886 -1940) was an American circus performer, publicist and writer. Many of his 30 books focused on crime. He was also an expert on the circus. Cooper was a circus clown, journalist and marine before becoming a writer. Cooper's work was much admired by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who once said he is "the best informed man on crime in the U. S." An excerpt from the beginning of The Cross-Cut reads, "Loneliness, rather than grief, for it had been Robert Fairchild's promise that he would not suffer in heart for one who had longed to go into a peace for which he had waited, seemingly in vain. Year after year, Thornton Fairchild had sat in the big armchair by the windows, watching the days grow old and fade into night, studying sunset after sunset, voicing the vain hope that the gloaming might bring the twilight of his own existence, --a silent man except for this, rarely speaking of the past, never giving to the son who worked for him, cared for him, worshiped him, the slightest inkling of what might have happened in the dim days of the long ago to transform him into a beaten thing, longing for the final surcease. And when the end came, it found him in readiness, waiting in the big armchair by the windows. Even now, a book lay on the frayed carpeting of the old room, where it had fallen from relaxing fingers. Robert Fairchild picked it up, and with a sigh restored it to the grim, fumed oak case. His days of petty sacrifices that his father might while away the weary hours with reading were over."