In his letter, Buxton claimed that he had "published with quite a crowd under one of my seven names". A handful of books had been published under his own name up to that point but (and here's the mystery) not one of his seven names are known... although I do have one suspect. So who were the "crowd" that Buxton published with and what pen-names did he adopt?
His next known novel was from Modern Fiction in 1947, the first of a series of tough crime yarns that would appear over the next couple of years. A list of those known novels turns up an interesting pattern...
Midsummer Madness. London, Modern Fiction, Oct 1947; reprinted with additional short story 'Where There's Dames There's Trouble' by Vale Tempest, Modern Fiction, Jun 1950.
No Gentle Lady. London, Modern Fiction, Mar 1948.
A Rope for a Gal Called Lou (Lou). London, C.M. & Co., Jan 1950.
Unhappy Souls (as Don Rogan). London, Modern Fiction, Apr 1950.
Dames Take to Crime (as Don Rogan; Lou). London, C.M. & Co., Jun 1950.
Gale Gallyon Takes a Hand (as Spike Gordon). London, Modern Fiction, Oct 1950.
Gunmen Die Hard (as Don Rogan). London, Modern Fiction, May 1951.
The Black Wraith; or, See How They Run, with Ben Bennison. Richmond, Surrey, Stanley Baker, Jan 1952; reprinted, Brighton, Sussex, Stanley Baker (Thriller Library 5), May 1955.
Caribbean Cutie (as "Griff"). London, Modern Fiction, Jun 1953.
I Don't Get It (as Spike Gordon). London, Modern Fiction, Jul 1953.
Dead on Arrival (by Hava Gordon). London, Modern Fiction, Nov 1953.
Bad-Luck Cutie (by Hank Spencer). London, Modern Fiction, Dec 1953.
Dumb Babes Don't Die (by Hank Spencer). London, Modern Fiction, Feb 1954.
Necks of Sinners (by Hank Spencer). London, Modern Fiction, Feb 1954.
Corpse in the Cabin (by Ben Sarto). London, Modern Fiction, Nov 1954.
Death Joins the Party. London, Mellifont Press, Jul 1944.
Fetch Me a Rope. London, Hammond, Hammond & Co., 1947.
Murder is a Furtive Thing. London, Hammond, Hammond & Co., 1950.
... which slot in nicely with Buxton's known works. I've never read any of the above books, so don't take this as confirmation that Boyd is Buxton. It does, however, give us a first chink in the armour of that curious "one of my seven names" comment.
At that time (February 1950) he was secretary of the Writers' Guild and here we can glean a few more clues. There were a number of publications related to the Writers' Guild, namely the poetry magazine Troubadour, which appears to have run irregularly between 1949 and 1956, and the anthology series Modern Story. At least one issue of the latter was published by Modern Fiction under Buxton's editorship in 1949. The Writers' Guild was also linked to the Society of New Authors, established around 1948, who published their own magazine, SONA.
Wikipedia) was a member of the Writers' Guild whilst living in London and I quote from Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert's Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life:
Her membership in the Writers' Guild and Society of New Authors suggested way in which politics and literature could be integrated. The Writers' Guild brought together an assortment of professional and amateur writers of Leftist persuasions—reviewers, children's story writers, reporters, poets—all sharing an interest in meeting in a friendly spirit to discuss one another's work and offer support. The group would often meet at her Fulham flat and occasionally visit Penhurst. It had even formed a small press to publish members' work. Phyllis's "The Untanglers," the tale of Marion's marital woes, was published as a booklet under the auspices of the guild.The Writers' Guild published only a handful of booklets over the years as far as I can tell.
London Renewed by Florence L. Wickelgren. Upton Bishop, Writers' Guild, 1953; reprinted, Ross-on-Wye, Raymond Buxton, n.d. .
Contrasts: Poems by Phyllis Shand Allfrey. Barbados, Advocate Press for the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, 1955.
The Real Democracy by M. Enoch [pseud]. [Ross-on-Wye, Writers' Guild], 1956.
Some Gems of Early Lyrical Poetry by Florence L. Wickelgren. Ross-on-Wye, Writers' Guild, 1956.
Sunflakes and Stardust: Caribbean and other poems by Hilda Macdonald. [Ross-on-Wye, Writers' Guild], 1956.
The State Within the State by Usha Mahesvari Mahendran. Gloucester, Writers' Guild, 1956.
Prose and Poetry from the Painted Room by members of the Oxford Writers' Circle. Gloucester, Blackfriars Press, for Writers' Guild, 1957.
Healing Hands by Marjorie Phyllis Lane. Brockhampton, Herefordshire, Writers' Guild and Society of New Authors, 1959.
What happened to the Writers' Guild and the Society of New Authors? Florence Louise Wickelgren, born in 1875 and for much of her life a school teacher and headmistress, died in 1963; Phyllis Shand Allrey, born in 1916, died in 1986. But perhaps other references to the guild and to SONA might be found.
Update: 14 March 2012
Jamie Sturgeon has pointed me in the direction of another twist in the Buxton story. After briefly living in Brockhampton, it seems that Buxton moved to the Isle of Wight, as a number of writers' directories and adverts give his address as 63 St Mary's Road, Cowes, in circa 1962 and subsequently 9 Osborne Road, East Cowes, circa 1963-68. In the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook for 1965 Buxton is still described as the Hon. Sec. Genl. of the Writers' Guild. The Guild was said to have been founded in 1939 and, by the mid-1960s, was claiming: "WG has for 25 years championed the cause of new and unknown authors. This international writers' fellowship is keenly interested in new writers, and WG services are designed to advance beginners. Advice on novels and plays, "ghosting", revisions, MSS edited and marketed."
The President of the Guild was Kennedy Williamson, M.A., F.R.S.L., who wrote a number of books on the subject of writing stories and articles in the 1930s. His full name was William Kennedy Williamson (1892-1979).
I have the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook for 1966 and can find no trace of Buxton or the Writers' Guild, so it is possible that it folded around 1964/65 and later mentions elsewhere are simply a hang-over from earlier listings.