Plymouth social circles were in shock last night when it was revealed that noted local author and literary critic Dr Edward Maxwell has never published a book. The fraud was uncovered following an anonymous tip by an unnamed Professor to leading local newspaper "The Herald Voice of Plymouth".
Dr Maxwell or Fast-Eddie as he was known in the snooker halls where he spent several hours every day, became a well known character since moving to the area 5 years ago. Known to enjoy drinking pints and talking about any subject that comes to mind he was considered convivial company by anyone who happened to sit near him, although there was some resentment that it never seemed to be his turn to buy a round.
"We always thought he was an Oxford Don having hard-times" said one local "but to find out he was just a fraud is very unsettling". "He always seemed so clever" said another man at the local pub where Eddie is a regular patron "and when he told us he was a published author we just believed him".
But local Judge Jane Dorman was trenchant in her criticism. "He said he used a pseudonym and wanted to keep it quiet to avoid publicity." "I just hope to get him in my court one day soon".
Meanwhile Plymouth High Society Ladies were red faced to discover that they had been taken in by the bearded fake. "Why we let him come to our book club after my gardener told me there was an author at his local pub" said Shirley Huffington, of the Plymouth Ladies Tea-and-Book club.
"His criticisms were rather singular one must admit and he used a scoring system which we found bizarre, but who knew, we just thought it was his literary quirk." Sighing glumly she added "It made us feel quite self-important really, in an upper class sort of way, to have had an author in our midst." "We don't get many chances to feel like that in Plymouth", she noted,adding quickly "At least he is a Doctor".
Meanwhile Maxwell is believed to be in hiding since his fraud came to light although there was a possible sighting of him working at a building site in the Elephant and Castle area of London.