I wrote a short piece back in December 2007 about the novelistic qualities of some of the year’s news stories. The ‘canoe man’, now hitting the bulletins once more as he attempts to find a publisher for his memoirs, and the ‘polonium murder’ are two prominent examples. Now, in 2009, we have the ‘Arctic Sea mystery’ in which a four thousand ton ship vanished for three weeks and then reappeared in puzzling circumstances.
Russia claims to have apprehended eight hijackers whom it alleges stole the vessel. But intriguingly it appears that they did not use force and nor were the fifteen crew members ‘under armed control’. The Russian navy’s recovery of the ‘Arctic Sea’ has, in the short term, added to the mystery, rather than solving it. However, the authorities have undertaken to provide a full explanation, once they have concluded their investigation.
What is certain is that few fiction writers have dreamt up a plot so pregnant with suspenseful possibility.