11 March 2010

The case of the locked trunk

One of the filthy foreign blogs I follow is that of Jacques Monin, the London correspondent of Radio France. It's interesting to get an outre-manchard view of what goes in in England. In the past he's expressed surprise that in the English legal system, a defendant can plead guilty, and so stop any public examination of what happened. I'd never seen that as a weakness before, but he made the point that it weakens the possibility of learning from the case, and can deprive victims of a sense of justice.

This time, he's been reading the Daily Mail so we don't have to, and he's reported a story which I find vaguely unbelievable. When Agatha Christie died, she left her daughter, Rosalind Hicks, a locked trunk.  She in turn died and her belongings were auctioned by Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. A bidder put in a bid of 120 euros, sight unseen, won, and eventually forced the lock and found that the trunk contained jewellery which has now been valued at 120,000 euros. As Monin says, she has "touché le Jack Pot", and the auctioneers are going "d'eau!" (I made that bit up), and Christie's grandson is planning to bid whatever it takes if and when the jewellery is auctioned.

This is surely bolleaux, n'est-ce pas? Can we really believe that no-one in this chain of events thought it might be a good idea to open the box, and then take the money?

The story is not reported in the Guardian, so I'm inclined to believe it never happened. I don't want to go to the Mail's site to check the story; I'm very worried about the effects of passive bigotry. You know how it works: you find yourself unable to type the word foreign on its own, and you make references to 1960s tv shows that only old gits like you will understand.

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