It's a mystery - the strange death of the Irish peace process in three gripping chapters

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The Independent Online
Today I am bringing you a complete murder mystery story in which YOU the detective will be presented with ALL the evidence necessary to solve the CRIME and then, after you have failed dismally to do it, I will give you the SOLUTION and you will bang your head on the steering wheel, saying "Lordy, Lordy, I should have seen that coming!"


Get the idea?

Right, here we go then with the story of: "The Strange Death of The Northern Ireland Peace Process".


"I'm afraid it's dead, sir. There's nothing we can do."

The speaker was someone very high up in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. He was speaking to someone even higher up. He was talking about the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

"The Peace Process? Dead? But I saw it only the other day! It seemed quite healthy!" said the Very Important Officer.

"Healthy? In what sort of way, sir?"

The very important officer considered for a moment.

"Well," said the VIO (Very Important Officer - DO keep up), "it seemed all poised for action. It wasn't actually moving or anything, but then it never has actually moved or anything, has it?"

"No, sir," said the Quite Important Officer. "That was always its charm in a way. However much you insulted it, or praised it, however much you said you depended on it, it never lost its temper or reacted nastily."

"Or reacted at all, really," said the VIO. "Always behaved with true British sang-froid. Strange to have a French word for such a British thing, eh?"

"What French word, sir?"


"Right, sir," said the QIO, humouring him yet again. "So that's it. The peace process has been found dead."

"Completely dead?"

"Yes, sir."


"Yes, sir."


"Yes, sir. The IRA, Sinn Fein, the Unionists, Mo Mowlam and Angus Deayton."

"Angus Deayton? Why him?"

"Always liked the look of him," said the QIO, blushing. "Thought it might be quite nice to have him in for questioning."

"All right," said the VIO. "Round up all the suspects and let me have their statements."


Here are the statements of all the main suspects.

Sinn Fein: "Nothing to do with us. We were looking forward to the Peace Process. It sounded fun. The IRA felt the same. Not that we know what the IRA think. But that's what we're guessing."

IRA: "I'm sorry to hear the Peace Process is dead. Nothing to do with us. We have an alibi. We were out buying some new balaclava helmets. Look, here's the receipt. No, sorry, that one's for the Semtex. This one."

Unionists: "This is yet another example of the way the government, of whatever complexion, have consistently flouted the wishes of the majority of the population of Northern Ireland. We blame the government. And Sinn Fein/IRA. And Dublin. And the Pope. Anyone but ourselves."

Mo Mowlam: "It's a tragedy. It's another tragedy in the history of Ulster. Another bleeding tragedy in the bleeding history of this bleeding country, oh God, are you listening, Tony? Tony! Look, I'll take Health, Education, anything, I'll do anything but Northern Ireland, even Question Time, just get me out of here! Otherwise I'll go round the bend and start visiting prisoners in The Maze!!"

Angus Deayton: "And at the end of another motorway- monotonous round, we have Sinn Fein steaming along in the slow lane with a thoroughly legal 45mph, and the Unionists in the fast lane with an incredibly similar 45mph, and what's that ahead in the middle lane - it's the corpse of the Peace Process! So, no change there, then."

Ian Paisley: "It's a diabolical betrayal ..."


The Solution

Did you solve the mystery?

Did you notice that everyone had an alibi, except Ian Paisley, who is barking mad and doesn't count? And Mo Mowlam? Who has no motive?

Therefore the only possible solution is that no murder took place.

That's right! The Northern Ireland Peace Process was dead all along, and has been for years! It's just that nobody dares to point it out.

Except Angus Deayton. Did you notice the way he said that the peace process was dead ..." No change there, then ..."??

I think he knows more than he lets on.

I think we'll have him in for another session.

Should be fun. And get his autograph for the wife ...