The Chaplin Conspiracy
Publisher: Accent Press
When hard-up aristocrat Lord ‘Ratty’ Ballashiels finds an old film reel in his attic he discovers that it’s a home movie of Charlie Chaplin’s visit to Rennes-le-Chateau in the south of France. But Ratty spots a strange anomaly: clearly visible behind Chaplin is the famous millionaire priest of that village, Bérenger Saunière. The film tin is labelled ‘Chaplin 1932’. Saunière died in 1917. Before Ratty can process the implication of what he has witnessed, the heat of the projector lamp ignites the film and starts a fire which rips through a wing of his manor house. Investigators subsequently discover a body amid the charred ruins and issue a warrant for Ratty’s arrest. The aristocrat has no intention of handing himself in. Knowing that Saunière reputedly buried a fabulous hoard of treasure, and convinced that the Chaplin film is a vital clue to its location, he stows away on a boat to France and becomes embroiled in a frightening and dangerous race to uncover the astonishing truth about Saunière’s legacy.