A STORY OF GREED AND GOLD
The reason that I felt drawn to set a story in the beautiful Bahamas was not just because I fancied a glamorous research trip! It was because of a car. Not any old car, of course. It was a glorious monstrous coffin-nosed Cord automobile produced in America in 1936.
More than twenty years ago my husband owned one of these magnificent cars and through the Auburn-Cord-Duisenberg Car Club he met an author called James Leasor who also owned a Cord and who wrote action-packed crime novels. But James Leasor had also published a non-fiction book about a strange real-life crime that interested him, and out of politeness I read it. It was called Who Killed Sir Harry Oakes?
Immediately I was hooked. The book examined the unsolved mystery of how and why one of the richest men in the world was brutally murdered in Nassau in the Bahamas. The corpse was partially burned and scattered with feathers. This murder was committed in 1943 while the Duke of Windsor was Governor of the Bahamas, and the investigation that followed did nothing but muddy the waters. Suspicions and allegations were flung in all directions in the full glare of the spotlight of the world’s press attention. It became a cause célèbre, knocking war news off the front pages.
It was an extraordinary story, far more bizarre than any fictional tale, and it remained with me for years to come, hovering in the shadows at the back of my mind. To my surprise, when the time came to start plotting a new book, the questions about this mysterious unsolved murder elbowed their way to the forefront of my mind and I became excited at the prospect of examining it further. I wanted to dig deeper, compelled to find out more about what had precipitated the tragic event on the paradise island of New Providence.
During the course of months of research I discovered that it was a fascinating whirlwind of mystery and murder. Of glamour and beauty. Of secrets and corruption. And above all else, it was a story of greed and gold. I was powerless to resist it. I hope you will be too.