`Perfect Mystery' of Writer's Death Plot; Claim on Sherlock Holmes Expert

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HE DEVOTED his life to the murder mysteries of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.

But his death earlier this year was to become an unsolved riddle that could have come straight from the pen of his fictional hero's creator.

Richard Lancelyn Green, a biographer of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was discovered gar rotted with a shoelace tightened around his neck with a wooden spoon.

Now a close friend has sparked yet more intrigue by claiming the Wirral-born man spent days meticulously planning to kill himself while making it look like murder.

John Gibson, who co-edited a Conan Doyle bibliography with Mr Lancelyn Green in 1983, has told how he believes his former colleague set up a false trail of clues to make the death look like foul play.

In an interview with the New Yorker magazine, he said: ``I think he wanted it to look like murder. That's why he didn't leave a note.

``That's why he took his voice off the answering machine message.

``He must have been planning it for days, giving us false clues.

``He created the perfect mystery. ''

The 50-year-old free lance writer and scholar, who was born in Bebington, achieved world-wide recognition for his work on Conan Doyle.

He had been fanatically devoted to the author since his school days amassing a large collection of works, which he bequeathed to Portsmouth Library.

But he had become deeply distressed in the days leading up to his death over the imminent auction of Sir Arthur's books and letters at Christie's, which he had spent 20 years trying to track down.

He attempted to stop the pounds 2m sale going ahead and insisted they should go to the British Library where scholars could see the collection.

He become convinced there was a conspiracy against him, and believed an American rival intended to besmirch his name. …