An American writer of detective fiction, he is best known for works such as The Hollow Man and The Burning Court. The former work is considered his masterpiece.
He graduated from Haverford College in 1929. He published his first novel, It Walks By Night, in 1930.
He suffered a stroke in 1963 that paralyzed his left hand.
He was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. With his wife, Sandi, he had three daughters.
He wrote a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.