Leslie Lambert aka "A.J. Alan" was an accomplished amateur magician who became one of the most famous voices in British broadcasting history.
As a young man, Lambert impressed the British magic world with his clever and original magic effects and his natural gift for showmanship. He was the subject of a number of glowing articles in the magic publications, and was also made a member of the Magic Circle.
Suddenly, in 1909, Lambert vanished from the magic scene. His focus changed, and he became an important member of the British military intelligence, eventually earning the rank of a senior officer. At one point, he was attached to the Government Code and Cypher School as a cryptographer.
In 1924, he launched a new career in broadcasting. Under the name "A.J. Alan", he narrated his own original mystery stories, which became an instant hit with the public. He quickly became one of the most popular broadcasting personalities of his time.
Lambert took particular pride in writing each story, taking a couple of months to write each one, and so only broadcasting about five times a year. His apparently extemporary, conversational style was actually carefully constructed, making his stories seem like anecdotes about strange events that had actually happened to him. The endings usually had an unexpected and whimsical twist.
His stories were so popular that they were published in a number of anthologies, some of which are still in print and available online.
In the studio, Lambert would be impeccably dressed in a tailored dinner jacket. He wrote his stories on large cards so that he would not disturb his audience with the rustling of script papers. And he lit the studio with his own candles, just in case the lights went out.
Perhaps influenced by his early association with magical mystery, A.J. Alan kept his real identity a secret. No doubt part of his popularity was his mystery.