Whrere is Colin Dexter when you need him?
I’m perplexed by the twists and turns of a baffling whodunnit set in Oxbridge and involving a central character called Morse.
The plot, in brief, is this: a much-loved characted has been ruthlessly offed, causing much grief-stricken wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The most likely suspect is known for being scheming, aloof, unapproachable and motivated almost solely by money. In other words, the polar opposite of the popular and highly thought off victim.
Yet all may not be as it seems. Indeed, scratch the surface and it would appear the victim may have made enemies with cause to celebrate his demise. As the mystery deepens who knows what other skeletons may fall out of closets?
I am of course referring to the departure of Murray Morse from the Cambridge Evening News. Many in the Scottish media know him from his time at the Edinburgh Evening News and the Daily Record, two stop offs on a career which has taken him to virtually every corner of the UK.
Whenever I worked with Muzza he was the type that polarised opinion (for the record, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of his team). Yet he seems to have united feeling – at least in the newsroom - at Cambridge where the staff loved him.
All of which contributes the mystery surrounding exactly what has befallen Murray. All appearance suggest he has been clincially dispatched from a job he loved and where he brought considerable success.
Consensus (again, among the newsroom staff) is that he was killed off by the management. When Muzza’s initial departure was announced by Hold The Front Page, it prompted a chain of comments from gutted staff, who applauded him all the way out of the building. You can read the full list of comments here.
Yet, heartfelt as those messages may be , they offer no real answers or inisght into what has gone on. Indeed, they serve only to confirm that no-one saw this coming. A real mystery, indeed.
Meanwhile, the supportive messages are peppered with gripes from at least one disgruntled reader, claiming many have been unimpressed by Morse’s robust editorial style. They’ve even gone so far as to claim he had it in for minority groups, echoing previous disapproval over his paper’s stance of travelling people. Clues to a possible hidden agenda, perhaps – or simply a red herring?
Then there’s the contradictory messages from the man himself. Only last Friday he was approached by HTFP and expressed astonishment that there could or shoud be any speculation about his future. A short time later he exited the buidling with what amounted to an honour guard of tearful newsroom staff applauding him all the way.
Following the amazing emotional scenes surrounding Muzza’s departure (I’ve certainly never heard of scenes like that before) the situation has shown no signs of calming. Indeed, it has reached even more jawdropping levels – with newsroom staff supporting a vote of no confidence in the management, who they blame for assassinating their beloved leader.
Now comes a fresh report from jounalistic bible, the UK Press Gazette, which has managed an interview with the man himself. Those following the saga and hopiong for an insight into what has really happened, will be disappointed.
But the unexpected plot twists continue. When Muzza got his chance to speak out he insisted to the UKPG that he left by mutual consent because the job held no more challenges for him (read the full UKPG article here). Ahem. Aye right.
The Muzza I knew was never one for management double speak. So, I can only guess he has been made the subject of some sort of gagging agreement. Fair play, as well as being an excellent boss and newspaper man, he is a doting father of two – and his thoughts now will be on doing the right thing for his family.
So we’ve gone from sudden and highly unexpected departure, through highly-charged emotional scenes to total information vacuum in the space of a few days.
I genuinely hope this potboiler of a mystery is solved soon. Otherwise it is inevitable that the rumour mill will begin to grind – and if that happens I just hope it’s not unfavourable for my old mucker Muzza.