On New Year’s Day, 1963, the bodies of a man and a woman were discovered by a river in a Sydney suburb, which gave rise to a fascinating mystery. Dr Gilbert Bogle and former nurse Margaret Chandler—both married but not to each other—left a party the night before for unknown reasons and suffered a decidedly suspicious fate. The riddle of their deaths was never solved, but that wasn’t the strange bit—no one even figured out whether or not it was murder, because no one could discover what killed them. Forensic evidence strongly suggested poison but there was no trace of any such thing in their bodies, nor clues to how it was administered. Many years later, the shadowy Mr Chandler wrote a book (which I didn’t bother to read) delightfully titled “And So You Think I Did It” which included a very sinister picture of himself on the cover, but he was never charged with anything.
Speculation was rife. The argument of the possibility of an untraceable poison continues unresolved to this day, as do theories concerning death rays, aboriginal bone pointing, the Hand of God, alien intervention and, most joyous of all, because Bogle’s work on solid state physics had faint security implications, the paranoid suggestion of a KGB plot continually surfaced. As far as we know, no one else has ever died of whatever it was that killed them.
A genuine X-file but, lacking Mulder and Scully, it was never solved. But at the time I was entranced by the realisation that strange and mysterious things could happen in the world after all. It was an idea that, once sown, never left me.