I read this book about 8-Feb-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1932. This note was last modified Thursday, 19-Feb-2004 21:05:15 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
The Mystery Library strikes again. This was originally published as by Barnaby Ross, and both that and Ellery Queen were pseudonyms for Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee (who were cousins). And, it says here, those names aren't the ones they were born with! So I had quite a choice of names to attach to this note!
Mr. Drury Lane, the deaf actor/detective, is a bit over the top. In particular, I don't really believe his ability to impersonate Inspector Thumm. That apparently took facial putty and fairly extreme makeup, and he had to stand inspection by people who've known him for years at close range. And he had to avoid showing he was totally deaf. And it was done as a stunt rather than for any real purpose that I've seen so far.
The date this is set in is a bit unclear. The reference to "speakeasies" does rather suggest during Prohibition, though.