Last week, Michael Redhill brought some closure to a case of hidden identity that has intrigued mystery readers for years. In a first-person essay published in Friday’s Globe and Mail, Redhill revealed that since 2008, he has been writing detective novels under the pseudonym Inger Ash Wolfe (a take on his grandmother’s maiden name Wolfinger).
The Toronto poet, playwright, and novelist is no stranger to mysteries — he calls his literary novels Martin Sloane and Consolation detective novels — but, Redhill explains in the Globe, the pen name allowed him to branch out into detective stories via Ash Wolfe’s Hazel Micallef mystery series. And it seems Redhill’s experiments in style and genre have paid off — literally.
From the Globe:
It turned out that Inger was marvellously proficient. The first novel [The Calling] quickly begat a second – The Taken – and then it was clear that there’d be more. I can take up to a decade to write a novel, but Inger wrote three good ones in five years. I was rather amazed. She was more widely read than I, and she was earning more money than I did. She was going to have her own life and her own fate and I was very pleased.
Redhill says his public unmasking was motivated by the realization that the Internet Age would not allow him to preserve his anonymity for much longer. In a Q&A at the Mysteries and More blog, he assures readers that the move wasn’t meant as a publicity stunt: “I’d hoped the interest would die off and Inger would go on just as herself. Perhaps it was a mistake in the first place to admit it was a pseudonym.”
That being said, the news of Ash Wolfe’s real identity came just days before the July 31 pub date for her latest book, A Door in the River.