'unpopularity' is apparently
Lane's first appearance managed to evade the pitfall many
Drury lives in the Hamlet, a castle full of people who wear Elizabethan dress and answer to Shakespearean names - and living on Lane's bounty. Everything was old and smelled of England, the England of Elisabeth. His residence is described as if it were the mansion in 'Citizen Kane' Somewhat smaller in size but certainly not less imposing. Still unsatisfied with having recreated Shakespeare's physical world and incapable of creating dramatic world like the master, Lane intervenes in the dramas real life offers and in a sense rewrites them. 'From obeying the jerk of the master's strings, I now have the impulse to pull the strings myself, in a greater authorship than created drama'. His 'raison d'être' being power, to overwhelm audiences with his performances. The power to control, control the life of his servants down to their names and to change the outcome of his life-and-dead drama's by his presence. In short he wants to be more powerful than Shakespeare himself.
Long, slim and extremely vital and despite his 60 years looked more like 40 despite his thick white hair. His strong classical face was youthful and had no wrinkles. His sharp, deep-set grey green eyes didn't give away his age.
His is being assisted 'Falstaff' the butler and by the balding 'hunchback' Quacey, who for 40 years served as his wigmaker and make-up artist. Depending on the situation was addressed as 'Caliban' or 'Quasimodo'.
The first novels don't even mention the existence of Inspector Thumms' daughter but in the third novel this changes. Miss Patience Thumm, the Inspector's lovely and brainy daughter, who had spent her childhood and adolescence in Europe, returns to New York after ten years and joins her father's own detective agency. The ten years hiatus between Y and Z is not substantiated by the first two books who are clearly not set in the twenties. Barnaby Ross had a change of heart and introduced Patience to take over the sleuthing from Lane himself. The ideas for the two last books are fine only due to haste and lack of consideration they don't work as well as their predecessors.
By the end of the series Drury Lane is
dead, which would seem to indicate unequivocally that Dannay and Lee
intended to end the series. In fact however, the cousins had planned to
resurrect him for more cases, but they came embroiled in a dispute with
Viking, the firm that was publishing the
series. By the time they had completed the fourth Drury Lane novel Dannay
and Lee were about to launch their new ambitious new monthly magazine
Mystery League. One of the stories they
chose for their first issue (October 1933), without realizing the
contractual consequences of their decision, was their own recently
finished Drury Lane's Last
Case, which thus became available, complete and unabridged to any
reader with a quarter to plunk down on his favorite newsstand. The people
at Viking grew understandably angry at this unauthorized but unintended
competition with the $2.00 hardcover edition which they were about to
publish. The cousins were forced to accept some extremely unfavorable
revisions in the royalty clauses of their contract with Viking, and the
acrimonious dispute convinced them that as long as Drury Lane was already
dead he might just as well be kept in his grave. (Francis.
M.Nevins "Investigating Drury Lane" Old-Time Detection Issue
16, Autumn 2007)