In 1931, Margery Allingham was, not for the first time, nor for the last, in a tight spot financially. Typically, she tried to write her way out of trouble. She had been offered the opportunity to write a serial for Answers magazine, of which, as her biographer Julia Jones notes in The Adventures of Margery Allingham, Margery said, “They pay generously and promptly and really take one on the staff for the duration of the work.”
The serial she provided was Dangerous Secrets, also known as Other Man’s Danger, and recently republished by Ipso Books as The Man of Dangerous Secrets.
She followed this with Rogues’ Holiday in 1933 and The Devil and Her Son, also known as The Shadow in The House, in 1935 – both also now available from Ipso Books.
The novels were published under the pseudonym Maxwell March which gave Margery the chance to step away from her Campion series of novels and produce stand alone works that were freed from the constraints that publication under her own name might impose. Of course the deception did not last long and it quickly became known that the hand holding the pen behind the Maxwell March persona was in fact Margery.
The results are lighter, more breathless, thrillers which are in the classic mould of the British thriller between the wars, featuring Julia Jones observes, “helpless heroines and handsome heroes.” As such, they may be regarded as atypical of Allingham’s output at the time and so provide the reader with an intriguing sidelight on the author’s main body of work.