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Has new biography solved Josslyn Hay's murder?

27th April 2010

A debut biographer claims to have solved a murder mystery which is almost 70 years old.

In 1941, Josslyn Hay, the 22nd Earl of Erroll, was shot dead in the middle of the night in Kenya, leaving a case which has been scrutinised over the decades by biographers, filmmakers and amateur detectives.

The Daily Telegraph pointed out that Sir Henry 'Jock' Delves Broughton is widely considered to be the murderer as, although he was acquitted of the crime, he later committed suicide - which was seen as 'tantamount to an admission of guilt'.

However, author Paul Spicer claims to have solved the mystery almost by mistake when researching his biography of American heiress Countess Alice de Janze.

Spicer, who has connections to many of the people involved with the case, argues in The Temptress that De Janze killed the earl after an affair between them turned sour and he took a younger lover.

'She had the motive and she certainly had the nerve. She would not fear carrying out that act. She was consumed with jealousy. The clues, one by one, began to stack up,' the 82-year-old told the newspaper.

A review of The Temptress in the Daily Mail pointed out that the case is unlikely to be solved now, but admitted the book presents a strong argument for De Janze's involvement.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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