Wednesday 15 April 2009

Quiz Question

I’ve acquired a new bibliography of a writer whose life has long been shrouded in quite a bit of mystery, and who used at least three pseudonyms. The material in the book prompts me to set a quiz question.

The real identity of this author was the subject of much speculation when he or she published a pseudonymous novel in 1931. Can you guess the real person - who was variously identified by critics and others as being:

Aldous Huxley
Rose Macauley
E. M. Delafield
Edgar Wallace
Francis Brett Young
H.G. Wells
Richard Hughes
W. Somerset Maugham
Marie Belloc Lowndes
R. Austin Freeman
Eden Philpotts
Francis Brett Young
Roland Pertwee
Bernadette Croce
Warwick Deeping
Robert Hichens
Marjorie Bowen
Osbert Sitwell
Charles Williams
Patrick Hamilton
Anthony Rolls
Stella Benson
E.M. Forster

An extraordinarily diverse list, I think you’ll agree. Some eighteen months passed after publication before the truth about the author’s identity was revealed. Who can guess what it was? (Clue: none of the above!)

The answer will appear here shortly.


seana graham said...

Great quiz question, Martin. I am going to guess Agatha Christie, just to be sporting about it, even though I don't think the criteria quite matches...

Uriah Robinson said...

I am going to guess John Creasey who started the Gideon series around that time under the pseudonym J.J.Maric.

Uriah Robinson said...

Oops I got the dates wrong on the Gideon series much later but it still might be John Creasey.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Berkeley Cox

vegetableduck said...

I know this one, but I'm not spoiling it, so I'm keeping quiet. ;)

That's quite a list though, isn't it?

Philip Amos said...

1931? I am going to hazard Anthony Berkeley Cox writing as Francis Iles, the book in question being Malice Aforethought. That list is extraordinary indeed.

BooksPlease said...

Could it be Anthony Berkeley Cox - Malice Aforethought (writing as Francis Iles)?

David Cranmer said...

Clueless here but my guess is Ngaio Marsh?

Maxine Clarke said...

Graham Greene?

Jilly said...

The only person I can think of is Michael Innes (J I M Stewart) but I think the date is wrong for him.

Dorte H said...

I think he died a few years ago and that there was a Russian connection.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, everyone. It was a pleasure to come home from work this evening and read your answers!
More on this tomorrow....

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I was going to go for Edgar Wallace but then I read your list again. I'm thinking Anthony Cox now.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Josephine Tey?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Or should I say Elizabeth MacIntosh?

Martin Edwards said...

The more I think about it, the harder I find it to imagine any other pseudonym giving rise to such a varied range of suggestions. Quite an achievement in itself! Interesting that contemporary critics couldn't agree whether the author was male or female.