Police have revealed a list of suspects in connection with the strange disappearance of Edwin Drood.
The young man has not been seen since Christmas Eve, which he spent in the company of guests at the home of his uncle, John Jasper.
It is feared that Drood may have suffered a dreadful demise and the public is asked to keep a watchful eye for clues to this mystery.
Cloisterham Constabulary has issued a series of profiles of those they wish to interrogate regarding the incident.
All of those who are in the frame are due to appear at Alnwick Playhouse, each night from March 12 to 16, to reveal the extent of their involvement.
The audience, with the help of Alnwick Stage Musical Society, will then be able to hear all the evidence and act as a jury to determine who is the culprit.
To help with the investigation, police have asked the Gazette to publish some information about each suspect.
As our picture shows, Cloisterham Constabulary is keen to talk to brother and sister Helena and Neville Landless, who recently arrived in the area from Ceylon, in connection with Drood’s disappearance.
It’s not just the siblings to have come under the police’s radar though.
Drood’s fiancée Rosa Bud has been named as a suspect.
This young woman, with her innocent charm and beauty, was clearly the focus of many male admirers. It is possible she wished to spurn her betrothed, Edwin, in favour of another?
Could John Jasper himself be involved? The rumour about town is that Jasper, who is choirmaster of Cloisterham Cathedral, may have fallen in love with Rosa. Could jealousy have over-ruled familial love?
Cloisterham Constabulary also wants to talk to Reverend Crisparkle. He had been entrusted with caring for Neville Landless on his arrival in Cloisterham. Crisparkle was once betrothed to Rosa’s mother, who subsequently met her death by drowning, having fallen from cliffs. Could a man of the cloth play a part in such a vile deed?
Another suspect is Princess Puffer. A woman of ill-repute, she has experienced the worst of mankind’s sin. Her East End opium den is frequented by Jasper, and many years ago she worked as Rosa’s nanny. Would her sinful life or vestiges of love for Rosa have prompted her into violent action?
A man named Bazzard has also found himself on the wanted list. He is an insignificant fellow who seems to have no hopes of raising his station in life. He was waiter to Jasper’s guests on the night of Drood’s disappearance. May he have longed for greater recognition?
The final suspect is grave-digger Durdles. He is keeper of Cloisterham Cathedral crypt and tombs and prodigious imbiber of wine and spirits. Could the evil influence of alcohol, conjoined with his morbid life, lead him to do this?
You can help solve the mystery next month. For tickets, visit www.alnwickplayhouse.co.uk or call 01665 510785.