Editor’s letter: I love a mad coincidence

Sometimes, pleasingly strange things occur at just the right time, such as happened to me last week when I was asked to be a guest on a podcast called Drunk Women Solving Crime. You can guess from the title that the tone isn’t exactly Crimewatch. It’s a fascinating – and, yes, at times drunkenly funny – look back at a historic crime. Hosted by three comedians – Hannah George, Catie Wilkins and Taylor Glenn – the aim is to hear about a misdemeanour of old and guess at the details, perhaps crack an unsolved mystery or at least devise entertaining theories about it, fuelled by lady petrol.

The host, Taylor, began: ‘Our story today centres on a man called Darcy Dugan. Any ideas on where we are in the world?’ I took a big gulp of my wine and paused for a few seconds. I thought I was supposed to be taking part in a big guessing game so I knew I was about to ruin that. I said, ‘Um, the crime is set in Sydney, Australia. And I know exactly who he is because… it was my auntie’s testimony that put him in prison.’

I couldn’t believe the coincidence. A career criminal since the 1940s, he gained notoriety in my birth city. He bit off more than he could chew one day in the 1960s when he held up a city jewellery store and his accomplice shot and injured a sales clerk. When my Auntie Pat saw the news of the robbery, she was stunned. She’d been across the road from that very jewellery store on the same day. Queueing for cinema tickets, she remembered seeing a man walk by and casually thinking to herself, ‘Oh look, that’s Darcy Dugan.’ Her eyewitness account was the death knell for his alibi.

Three earlier dates had been made for me to be a ‘drunk woman solving crime’ and for one reason or another they’d all had to be rescheduled. If I’d done an earlier date, we’d have been discussing an entirely different story. Granted, they chose this one because of the Australian connection. But they could never have known the family link.

I tell you this because I get such a kick out of eerie coincidences. As we’re all craving new things to talk about with each other at the moment, you can probably appreciate what a buzz this gave to the Elvin family conversations! Not least of all to my beloved Auntie Pat, now 87, who even swears she had thought about Darcy for the first time in years, just hours before I phoned to tell her about the podcast. Isn’t life strange sometimes? Well, we certainly enjoyed this collision of events.

Regular readers know how much I love hearing your stories, so if you have tales of the kind of jaw-dropping coincidences that give you a little thrill/chill, do share. You know where I am. I hope you enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

My hair’s new best friend until I can get that longed-for cut. Clip, £35, camilacarrilcollection.com

Thinking about bringing back old-fashioned movie nights. Projector, £369.99, argos.co.uk

A mean, green, ‘one and done’ dream. Jumpsuit, £180, LF Markey x whistles.com