Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
In the spring of 1927 the young nurse May Daniels disappeared while visiting Boulogne with a friend on a day trip from Brighton. Despite the best efforts of the French and British authorities, it was five months until her body was found in woods north of the city. Even then the sensational case remained unsolved and continued to draw the attention of “many London and Paris newspapers (who) have sent correspondents to Boulogne to deal with the mystery.” As rival journalists and “special correspondents” scrambled to be first with the news, Netley Lucas, ex-crook and “special-crime-writer” to the Sunday News, arrived in town. Staying at the Hotel Christol et Bristol, he “joined a happy band of newspaper men who were trying to unravel the mystery,” including Ex-Chief Inspector Gough, working as “special investigator” for the Daily Mail, and Leslie Randall of the Daily Express.