13 The Francis family’s generations of silence
Picture four people out for a drive in a Hillman Minx. A family, two in the front and two in the back. A pleasant drive to the beach at about the time a man was found dead at the bottom of a set of steps that lead to the sand.
About six months later this conversation was said to have taken place after the driver read an article in the newspaper about the search for a Rubaiyat with a hole in it’s back page.
‘Do you recall.’ Francis asked his brother-in-law, ‘when we all went for a drive in my car ….
you were sitting in the back ..
with your wife …
and when we all got out ..
the book you were reading ..
you put in the glove box of my car …
The story, as it goes, is that Francis handed the book to DS Leane the next day and after a chat, asked that his name be kept out of it. His wish was granted and today, seventy years on, we still don’t know who he is, or was.
We also don’t know who his wife was, or his brother-in-law, or, indeed his wife, Francis’ sister. No only that, the code of Somerton Silence seems to have enveloped all their families as well because even after all these years, not a word has slipped out from any of them.
Nothing from any of their cousins, nephews, aunts or uncles. Nothing from mum or dad, granddad or nana, nothing from their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.
Not a drop.
.. down to you, Clive