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It's been an interesting winter at Crime Guy HQ. In some calendars, it is already spring - so what might you have missed?
Sophie Toscan du Plantier
This is the case that started Crime Guy last summer, and it continues to unfold and evolve. It is the only case I get regular emails about, and you will already know that I don’t hold out a lot of hope that it will get fully resolved. But still it brings me back in. If you have missed any of the articles, or you are new to the case, please see the Crime Guy home page for a list of links to my Sophie content. (The links are all on the bottom-right corner if you are on a large screen, or scroll down to the very bottom if you are on a phone.)
This case from 1991 fascinates me because it happened so close to home. Also, Penny was killed in a public place in full daylight. It is a cautionary tale about the false safety of the public place, and all the more frightening for it. Incredible that there were no witnesses, or none who came forward.
The disappearance of Claudia Lawrence fascinated me from the day it happened. Most of us are drawn to crimes close to home, and this one happened near my home town. The longer it dragged on with no sign of Claudia, the more the rumours multiplied. In the eyes of the criminal law, the lack of a body or any other significant evidence makes a trial virtually impossible. And yet in civil law, Claudia was declared dead many years ago. I would like to revisit this important idea in a future article because it raises challenges for the families of those who disappear without a trace.
Another missing person, although nobody expects to hear that Suzy Lamplugh has been on holiday since she vanished during her lunch break from a leafy London suburb in 1986. This case hit the national headlines almost immediately, and the efforts of Suzy’s family have ensured that it will stay in the national conscience for many years yet. As recently as last year, retired detective David Videcette published a really good new investigation into the case.
Although true crime is what Crime Guy is all about, and it is true that so many of us find the puzzles addictive, there is a serious ambition behind these cases. At the very least, each of us contributes to keeping the cases in peoples’ minds. Perhaps someone will switch allegiance, or remember something important, and come forwards to police. Perhaps one of us will see something from a new angle that cracks a case open. I continue to hope, but when hope is in short supply, Crime Guy turns to Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and their many colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic. If you prefer crime fiction, then I put most of that stuff on my Instagram account. Please do follow me there! For longer pieces about crime fiction including the movies, I have a sub-substack called After Hours which you can read right here! (Making it a separate list within Substack means that you can drop off the After Hours list if you only want to hear about true crime and vice versa.)