|etween 1932 and 1935 they wrote six more Ellery Queen novels, four Barnaby Ross-books, eleven short stories and edited four issues of the short-lived Mystery League Magazine. The pair also used the pseudonym Barnaby Ross when writing about their second detective creation, Drury Lane. Although now the connection between the two 'writers is now common knowledge at the time the identity was kept secret. Keeping their writing methods Queenlike mystery American fans didn't know who was the 'Ellery Queen' whose mysteries they read by the thousands. In 1932 English professor Mark Van Doren, himself a mystery writer, invited 'Ellery Queen' at the Columbia University's School of Journalism for a lecture on mystery writing. Not to thrilled at the occasion they flipped a coin and Lee lost. He went to give the lecture wearing a black mask, a gimmick he continued to use e.g. for autographing sessions. Soon after Dannay also appeared as a masked Barnaby Ross. W.Colston Leigh, the owner of a lecture bureau had been made aware of Lee's appearance at the Columbia University and put the two man under contract. They even enjoyed this mystification by together travelling the country for months giving dialoged speeches at conferences. Here they appeared masked before the audiences and one can only imagine the mystifying impression all this secretness around their true identity brought about. Several rumors were spread and some of them were started by the twins themselves: Ellery Queen was none other than the illustrious S.S. Van Dine himself, while Barnaby Ross was Alexander Woolcott.|
|They went on with these
conferences where Lee impersonated "Ellery Queen" and
Dannay "Barnaby Ross". Before a attentive audience Barnaby Ross set the
outlines for a "case" which was extremely complicated. He then challenged Ellery
Queen to solve the mystery. The handkerchief was of course taken up and
invariably the solution was found since the sketch was carefully rehearsed.In this way
every hiccup during their performance was virtually impossible. It was a piece of
first-class vaudeville. It has been told that the cousins were during these performances
or even afterwards were interpellated to give their opinion on unsolved mysteries an local
mischief which never were solved. The authors enjoyed these moments as much
as the public did, and perhaps Lee
liked this events more than Dannay. In the
this was imitated. Lee and Dannay developed such rapport that they were able to
confound and amuse interviewers by completing each other's sentences.Journalist
had a field day and they always had something to write about. This psychos of curiosity,
for which it was clearly intended, made the selling of the books take on astronomical
proportions. Very distinct signs that they must have been 'aces' in advertising.
Immediately I must add that the quality of the books in itself should have sufficed to
have warranted such an exuberant success.
To add to the confusion a foreword was written for the first ten books (sometimes even a afterword) by JJMcC. Some translations didn't even include them! This 'character' also originated from the 'cousins' mind and depicted the two retired Queens residing in a little Italian mountain village... . Again this must have been part of the 'staged confusion' surrounding the identity of Ellery Queen. More on JJMcC you'll find elsewhere ... On October, 10 1936 Publishers' Weekly revealed the true identity of both Ross and Queen. A small article which lead to believe that this revelation caused little or no commotion at the time and the effort to generate interest into 'who' wrote the stories was not succesful. Not in the way Willard Huntington Wright had succeeded with S.S. Van Dine...