ON A SEPTEMBER evening in London in 1978, Georgi Markov, prize-winning Bulgarian author and BBC broadcaster, felt a stinging pain in his thigh as he mingled with rush-hour commuters waiting for a bus on Waterloo Bridge.
A heavily built man in the queue momentarily dropped an umbrella, mumbled “sorry” and quickly crossed the road to hail a taxi.
An exile from the communist regime of Todor Zhivkov, the Bulgarian dictator, Markov, 49, had been aware of the danger he was in. An anonymous caller had told him he would be poisoned and he ate and drank only in the company of close friends.
But Markov thought little of the seemingly trivial incident and continued his journey home. He was dead in three days.
It remains one of Britain’s most famous unsolved murders — made all the more notorious by the James Bond nature of the killing. The murder weapon was an umbrella, partly developed by the Soviet KGB, which fired a pellet the size of a pinhead, containing the poison ricin.
Last week, in a serialisation containing leaks of secret service files in the Bulgarian daily newspaper, Dnevnik, the identity of Markov’s killer was finally revealed.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
I remember reading about this assasination years ago. Now they reckon they've discovered the identity of the killer.