In 1947, a young (and unknown) actress, Gay Gibson sailed from Johannesburg to Southampton. Except she never actually reached her destination. One night she disappeared and foul play was immediately suspected. A particularly amorous stewards was questioned, but it was the answers he gave when back on shore in Britain which really shocked and launched this case into the public imagination.
It’s seventy years since all this happened and so it’s not surprising that the story has slipped from the public imagination. (I had never heard of it.) Anthony M. Brown does a good, if unfussy job of placing the details of the case before us, and his matter of fact tone – if anything – makes the whole seem all the more eyebrow raising. It could have been melodramatic, but instead it seems coldly brutal.
The conceit of this book (and the others in the series, so it seems) is that the evidence is put in front of the reader who can then decide whether he or she thinks the accused is indeed guilty of the crime. If I’m honest, I think Brown is probably trying to sway the jury a little towards one particular theory, but this is still an entertaining and informative read of a forgotten part of British history.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free! A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!.