The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
On page 152...
On page 152...

When Books Play Trick or Treat... 


Various family members have historically marked books with whatever paper has been handy - which means whenever you open a book in our homes it's possible you'll find a surprise piece of paper or a mystery note of some kind. (Or in my case an old gum wrapper or postcard or bit of junk mail.) This particular newspaper clipping had been tucked into the book since sometime around April 1970 - and has left a yellowish mark on the page, sadly. It's not exactly a treat, but at least it's unexpected and interesting.


So now it's a familiar game - does the clipping have anything to do with the book in question? Or was it merely another handy bookmarker? This particular clipping and book belonged to my great aunt, so we don't have anyone still living to question. So let's look at the evidence...


Book: The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (wikipedia, booklikes)


Article: Kidnap Threats Worry Britons

The Roanoke Times (Virginia, US), April 1970


Connection between book and article? So far as I can tell - none. I've skimmed a bit of the book and the pages around the bookmark/clipping don't have anything to do with kidnapping of royalty or anything similar. But of course the final answer would have to come from my great aunt. She was a really interesting person, and had eclectic taste in books - that I continue to appreciate. I suspect that the answer has something to do with Broadway, Worcestershire and either family genealogy or trips my aunt had taken to that area. I can't see that Broadway has anything to do with Cellini.


Meanwhile I think my aunt would be very amused that I'm writing about this as a mystery.


For those of you curious to read the entire article? (Because that would be me - if I had only the photo to look at I'd imagine it was wildly interesting just because I couldn't quite make out all the text.) Here're the contents, including spelling errors (ex: identies?!), and the part my aunt had underlined (a clue?). The Kray twins reference is interesting - they're probably not known to many Americans. (Links in the text are to wikipedia.)



Kidnap Threats Worry Britons
The Roanoke Times (Virginia, US), April 1970


LONDON (AP) - Police kept watch Tuesday over the 8 year old nephew of Queen Elizabeth II and the 19 year old daughter of a member of Parliament following anonymous warnings of underworld kidnap plots.


Authorities set  up a roadblock at Ashdown House, 35 miles south of London and checked identies of persons entering the boarding school attended by Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret's son and sixth in line for the British throne.


There were reports several other prominent persons had been named as possible kidnap victims but police declined to identify them.


Police escorted Sir Gerald Nabarro's daughter, Sarah, nearly 100 miles from her London apartment to her family home in Broadway, Worcestershire, a village in central England.


A Scotland Yard spokesman said there was no evidence to back up any of the kidnap reports but that all were being investigated.


He declined to name other persons mentioned as targets.


"It happens in cases of threats like these that people jump on the bandwagon," the spokesman said. "Nearly all of this is anonymous information and not really worth worrying about, but we are looking into all of it."


The first warning came in a telephone call to a London newspaper last week. The tipster said that Lord Linley would be kidnaped as hostage for the release from prison of twins Ronald and Reginald Kray, gang-leaders serving 30 years in jail for murder.


A call to a Birmingham newspaper Monday night said the plot had been shifted from the boy to Miss Nabarro, a student at the London School of Economics.



Randomly, while looking up Gerald Nabarro, I bumped into:


Sir Gerald and the roundabout
The Guardian, Sunday 26 December 1999


...But Nabarro's world crashed in 1971. It was his flamboyant practice to drive an expensive car with the personalised numberplate NAB 1. His driving style was more "audax" than "fidelis". On the night of May 21, NAB1 was seen to swerve at speed the wrong way round a roundabout at Totton, in Hampshire. It had two occupants. Sir Gerald and his company secretary, Margaret Mason.


Witnesses positively identified the reckless driver as Sir Gerald. Given his fame and vast moustaches, he was one of the most identifiable men in England. None the less, Nabarro insisted that Mrs Mason was at the wheel. She loyally backed up her employer...


Which has nothing to do with anything, but I've added just because it seemed interesting.