Police are investigating a new and dynamic twist in the case of a Sydney teenager targeted in an elaborate bomb hoax last week, after it was revealed the ransom note contained references to a famous novel that appears on the recommended reading list at a school attended by her brothers and mates.
It has emerged that James Clavell's 1966 novel Taipan is recommended reading at Sydney Church of England Grammar, also known as the Shore, a north shore private school.
Hoax victim Madeleine Pulver, 18, attends the school’s sister college Wenona, in North Sydney.
Last Wednesday the bomb squad was called to Ms Pulver’s parents’ luxury Mosman home, where they found the teen with a device, at the time thought to be a collar bomb, around her neck.
Ms Pulver spent ten hours in the device, which she said was attached to her by a masked intruder, but it was later revealed there was no explosive material in it.
It was accompanied by a ransom note which police have declined to describe in detail but have said that the note did not demand money.
The note made references to Tai-Pan and was signed using the name of the novel's violent protagonist.
Police are rather reluctant to draw a direct link between the book and the elaborate extortion attempt but State Crime Commander David Hudson advised police would investigate every lead.
"We start our investigations wide and then we shrink them — nothing is excluded which may assist us with our work," Assistant Commissioner Hudson told The Sunday Telegraph.
"I am not commenting on our present situation because it may compromise the investigation which we are conducting."
Shore headmaster Tim Wright has issued a written statement saying Taipan was not included on the school’s "wide reading list for 2011".
The Pulver family are moving forward with their life.
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