The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes

From The Scotsman:

IN MARCH 2004, Richard Lancelyn Green died in mysterious circumstances. The wealthy Sherlock Holmes expert had been garrotted with a bootlace tightened by a wooden spoon. It was a great story for the press but, obviously, a tragedy for his family and friends. The Holmes angle trivialised the awful fact of his death, but it had also been the obsession of his life. The Man Who Loved Sherlock Holmes, narrated by Stephen Fry, traced Green's life while worrying away at his death. The coroner recorded an open verdict, though suicide was thought likely. Or was it murder? It's trite to suggest Holmes would have loved this mystery but, as my old gran never said, there's truth in trite. Two days before his death, Richard phoned the Times, a newspaper, to say his life was in danger. He'd been researching for a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and had discovered the author was, allegedly, a plagiariser and adulterer who may have contributed to the death of his wife's mother. Hmm. Skeletons in the cupboard? Make no bones about it, this was dangerous knowledge (if knowledge it was). The family allegedly barred him access to crucial documents, whereupon he became morose. He spoke, too, of a mysterious American who wanted to bring him down. He thought his house was bugged and, with a friend on the night of his death, believed he'd been followed home. Bizarre theories abounded after his death. A rival Sherlock Holmes society had organised it. A curse on obsessive fans had caused it. The CIA, needless to say, was suspected. And there was speculation about auto-erotic shenanigans. One newspaper named an American Holmes enthusiast, who also happened to be a strategy adviser to Donald Rumsfeld, as a suspect.


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