Joan Brady turned to writing thrillers after winning the Whitbread for her first novel because of a real-life incident. But as the Oxford Times reports, now she has yet more criminally minded fodder after burglars made off with hundreds of pounds worth of electrical goods and personal items – including rare 80-year-old letters sent to her father-in-law, the American poet Edgar Lee Masters, concerning H.L. Mencken – and she managed to use actual sleuthing skills to track them down.
How so? Thank some seeds, and a mystery man who knocked on Brady’s door to return a handbag after he had found it in bushes. Using seed pods caught in the purse, the mother-of-one tracked down where the handbag had been dumped and, with the aid of her son Alexander Masters (author of STUART: A LIFE BACKWARDS), discovered some of the stolen property dumped by the canal. The pods, believed to be from willow trees, pointed to bushes near Port Meadow where addressed envelopes and a magazine stolen from her house were discovered.
But the letters are still missing, and Brady’s arranged a failsafe drop to allow whoever has the letters to return them safely for a Â£1,000 reward.