According to inside sources from a can of worms discovered in a Leicester backstreet, the doyenne of digging-your-own-hero, Philippa Langley, is planning a new project. Since beginning her sterling work in searching for Richard, she has been rewarded beyond her wildest dreams by the discovery of the long-dead King, and seen him finally lain to rest with full honours in Leicester Cathedral.
Ms Langley has proved her credentials as an organiser, motivator, fundraiser and devotee: skills which could be justifiably applied to the solving of a number of historical Gordian knots, which should now be clamouring for her attention. The list of lost dead kings is an impressive one in the UK alone and the name of Henry I has been raised as a likely candidate. However, the word is that Ms Langley has another man in her sights altogether. Ms Langley is going to find Lord Lucan.
For those who weren’t born then, or for whom time has flown as an inebriating river through the past four decades, the Lord Lucan mystery may have no resonance. Yet those who recall the shocking incidents of his crime will be keen to see the matter put to rest. It was on an autumn night in 1974 that the life of the handsome young aristocrat imploded. A glamorous man, once considered for the role of James Bond, the marriage of the Seventh Earl had failed and the bitter custody battle for the children turned bloody on November 7th. The family’s nanny was found bludgeoned to death and Lucan’s estranged wife was also attacked, by a man she later identified as her husband. Aware that the police were on his tail, Lucan fled to the south coast. His car was later discovered in Newhaven. He was never seen again.
The finding of Lucan has become something of a cultural meme. It has become a byword, synonymous for “when hell freezes over” or “when pigs fly.” There can be no certainty whether or not anyone undertaking the search would be looking for a live body or a dead one. Given Lucan’s birthdate of 1930, he may well have died of natural causes since, had he been able to escape abroad. Surely the investigation must begin in the Newhaven car park, perhaps under the auspicious letter “L” painted in the north-west corner, which has always puzzled the locals. Surely it must be something of a wild goose chase?
Yet if anyone is up to the job, it must be Ms Langley. Armed with impressive detecting credentials, no doubt her spidey senses will be a-tingle when she stands in the car park behind B and Q and scents the salty Channel air. With any luck, this super sleuth will have one of the twentieth century’s biggest crime solved as soon as the first digger scrapes away the tarmac. Bravo Ms Langley. The only difficult question will be where to bury the bugger.
By and large
Above and below
Few and far between
Jeff R Vescent is smiling. This week he has been mostly perfecting his study of the territorial habits of domestic cats.