Top Cases Solved
I was first offered the chance to become a PI a few years ago, when a clock fell off a wall in a small town in Yorkshire. When the caretaker went to sweep up the mess, he discovered a spy camera hidden in the back of the clock - but why? Who had put it there? And when?
From Morse, track down all the witnesses. And from Scooby Doo, hide in a barrel when it gets scary.
This case - the Mystery of the Hoyland Fish-Eye - became my first investigation, and since then, I have been out on the trail of some fascinating mysteries.
These have included, among others,
- why hundreds of false legs were hidden under some floorboards in Dorset,
- why a non-existent town suddenly appeared on Google Maps in Lancashire,
- why a Cumbrian pensioner left a cache of firearms and ammunition in storage in Morecambe, and
- whether TV Detector vans ever existed.
There have also been a couple of unsolved murders
- the extraordinary case of the Poisoned Partridge,
- and dark tales of witchcraft in the south Midlands
This year I have been assigned to a series of new cases, beginning with the bizarre but true story of the millionaire who managed to fall out of his own aeroplane. This apparently unique example of aviational carelessness happened in 1928, and sounds like an Agatha Christie plot - the third-richest man in the world vanishes from inside his own plane, in the company of several other people, over the English Channel. How, and why?
Next, an audacious bank robbery in 1971. The culprits served time in prison - but did they really organize the tunnelling, boring through solid concrete and opening dozens of safe deposit boxes by themselves? How did they know the alarms would be switched off? Was there a mastermind behind it all that got clean away?
In Yorkshire, I follow the trail of the MP Who Vanished - Britain's first-ever Independent Labour MP, who disappeared from a central London hotel in 1920, never to be seen again. Was he about to bring down the government? Or something even murkier?
Lastly, in a small village south-west of Birmingham, I look at one of the most bizarre cold cases on the files - the case of Bella in the Witch Elm, in which the body of a woman - apparently murdered, but no-one's sure - was discovered inside a hollow tree in a lonely stretch of woodland. It's a wartime tale of German spies, black marketeers, and a suspect with a deeply dodgy death certificate.
Punt PI - The Rules
In approaching all these cases, I always try and remember lessons learned from my detective heroes.
- From Sherlock Holmes, observe only the facts and don't jump to conclusions.
- From Morse, track down all the witnesses.
And from Scooby Doo, hide in a barrel when it gets scary.