IT sounds like something out of a TV crime drama – a mystery man leaves a package on a doorstep and walks off into the night, never to be seen again.
But this actually happened in Worthing, when musical instrument maker David Simmons arrived home to see a shadowy figure walk down his pathway and drive off.
When he got to his front door, he said he almost tripped over what turned out to be a violin case, but despite his best efforts to turn detective, more than a month later the owner has not returned to collect it.
David, 60, said: “It’s a total mystery. When I arrived home that day, I thought I had just missed somebody coming to visit.
“When I opened the case, I thought there might be a note inside, but there was nothing, and nobody has been in touch to claim it since.”
David, a luthier, said the instrument was not playable in the state he received it in, but after carrying out about £50 of repair work on it, he said it was now in good working order.
He believed it has a value of around £150, and said it could be of German origin.
“It’s quite a nice violin, and there was a nice old bow in the case, too, “ he said. “I’ve been racking my brains to work out who it might be, as I talk to a lot of people, but I don’t usually give them my home address. It could be somebody who knows me, but I just don’t know.
“I would like for it to be able to go back to its owner, but if they never get in contact, then I suppose I will put it up for sale – it could be a very nice violin for children who are learning.”
As well as making instruments from his studio in Worthing, David is an associate tutor at West Dean College in Chichester.
He also spent 10 years working at Glyndebourne Opera House, where he was commissioned to make a set of Papageno’s pipes for Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.
It is thought he is the only maker of these working pipes in the country, and he has now made at least six sets, which have also been played at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in Montreal, Canada.
Anybody who believes this is their violin should contact David on 07831 288370.