Weird News: Four News Stories That Sound Stranger Than Fiction

Bo Xilai, once a top Party Official in China, no disgraced after wife suspected in murder case.
No the top dog any more…
Is it just me or do recent events in the news seem like they were ripped from the pages of a mystery novel? I love a good mystery, and of course reality is much more, well, real than anything I could find in books, but recently, I feel like the truth has been stranger than fiction—or at least as good as.

Ain’t No Party Like the Communist Party

Back in April, Bo Xilai, a Chinese Party official with hopes of becoming one of the top dogs in party politics, was thrown into the papers after his wife was accused of killing a British businessman. It got stranger when the deceased businessman, one Mr. Neil Heywood, was revealed to have been threatening to expose Xilai’s wife’s plot to move money abroad—money she may or may not have collected by misbegotten means. Seems like a plot straight out of Inspector Chen.

The Curious Case of the Chinese Activist

Another Chen made the news when China was splashed into the papers again this month. An activist, Chen Guangcheng, was placed under house arrest—not the strangest thing to happen in China. No, the story took a a turn for the strange as Chen escaped house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy to seek asylum… while Hilary Clinton was there. Now this could have turned into (more of) an international incident of epic proportions, but luckily was defused. Chen may be able to move to the U.S. legally. Despite the semi-happily-ever-after, Chen has been pleading for the lives of his family, whom he believes to still be in danger from the Chinese government. The story seems to be endless but I’ll definitely be waiting with my popcorn to see what happens.

A Collector, a Groomer, and the Great Bambino Walk Onto a Racetrack

If Mr. Ed had been there the case would have been solved in a snap!
Finally, in two other cases that seem straight out of my favorite traditional mystery novels, we have the National Archives thief who was caught by a Babe Ruth record collector, and a groomer who was found dead in a barn after the Kentucky Derby.  The former, a.k.a. the Curious Case of the Collector, would have been a short read as far as mysteries go (Google really does take all the fun out of crime fighting). In the latter, much is still unknown about what happened or whodunit, but maybe the police should pull a Castle and get a mystery novelist to consult.

Can you think of any other real-life stories that resemble a mystery novel plot?

**Disclaimer: I do not think murder, discrimination, or general human suffering is funny in the slightest, however I can appreciate the humor in life reflecting art—I hope you can too!

Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance and watching crime shows, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt.

Read all Jennifer Proffitt’s posts on Criminal Element.


  1. Terrie Farley Moran

    This is why, as an editor, I rarely say–this could never happen.

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