Richard Austin Freeman (1862-1943) was a British writer of detective stories, often starring the forensic investigator Dr. Thorndyke. He is often credited with having invented the inverted detective story (a crime fiction in which the commission of the crime is described at the beginning, with the story then describing the detective's attempt to solve the mystery.) Many of the Dr. Thorndyke stories involve genuine, but often quite obscure, points of scientific knowledge, from disciplines such as tropical medicine, metallurgy, and toxicology. The Magic Casket describes a classic case for Dr. Thorndyke. It tells the story of an ordinary and apparently quite worthless metal casket, which conceals a mysterious secret which nearly costs a young woman her life.