I know that no one has posted a comment on this thread in 5 years, but those visiting here may be interested to know that my book on this case, Death of an Actress, has just been published. It is the second book in the Cold Case Jury series of books about unsolved historical crimes, typically murders from decades or even centuries ago. Each case is puzzling, strange and utterly compelling, not least because it is true. Every reader is asked to weigh up the evidence and different theories in each case and reach a decision concerning what most likely happened. My job is to also act as an impartial advocate, explaining to the readers the strengths and weakness of the rival theories, which have been propounded by different authors. Readers are invited to enter their decision at the Cold Case Jury website and, as others do the same, the verdict for each case will emerge.
I have included the Porthole Case in the series because the verdict has been questioned by many commentators because the prosecution had not dispelled reasonable doubt. The expert opinion on the physical evidence suggested that a death by natural causes was possible. When I read Denis Herbstein’s The Porthole Murder Case, I realised that the interesting question was not whether the jury was justified in its verdict, rather, how did Gay Gibson most likely die? Clearly, the jury thought she was murdered. But was this correct? It seemed a fitting case to put before the Cold Case Jury. In the book the fateful scenes on the Durban Castle are replayed: one showing it was natural death, the other that it was murder. At the moment, the verdict of the Cold Case Jury is murder, with 70% of jurors backing this verdict. This will change as more verdicts are polled.