12/12/2013 12:36 GMT | Updated 11/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Why It's Better for All Of Us if The Lord Lucan Mystery Is Never Solved

It's very rare to hear this from a journalist, but there is one story out there, one huge monumental mystery, which I hope will never be resolved.

I am talking about the greatest and most enduring mystery of the 20th Century: The Lord Lucan scandal. It is a story which has so captured the imagination that countless books have been written about it and yet another two-parter on Lucan's is being screened on ITV tonight.

For any journalist in Britain today, it remains this great White Whale of an exclusive. Somewhere out there, submerged deep in the depths, we know there is an answer to this most perplexing or riddles.

The journalist who finds out what happened to Lord Lucan - genuinely and without a shadow of a doubt - will have the book deal and the film deal and the pick of the jobs on Fleet Street.

If anyone ever discovered the whereabouts of Lord Lucan - missing now for 39 years - then their reputations would be secure.

But what a tragedy for the rest of us.

What we love about the Lord Lucan story is speculating what might have happened to him, and wondering what we might have done in similar circumstances.

The story is widely known to Brits over the age of 40, but the mystery is so extraordinary that it has a huge fascination for anyone at all, regardless of age or nationality.

Very simply: Lord Lucan was a very good-looking 39-year-old man who had split with his wife, and who had been near bankrupted at the casinos by his crooked friend John Aspinall. The only way out, or so he thought, was to kill his estranged wife Veronica, but in a terrible mix-up, Lucan ended up bludgeoning to death his wife's nanny, Sandra Rivett.

He has never been seen or heard of since.

And although the story revolves around a tragic murder, and although there is some interest about what happened on that bleak November night in 1974, the reason that this mystery retains such a powerful hold over us is that Lucan is one of the few people to - quite literally - disappear off the face of the earth.

There are so few clues that any one theory is as plausible as the next. Did he take his own life, mortified at the shame that he had brought on the Lucan family name? Or did his devious millionaire friends manage to spirit him out of the country?

Who knows - who knows. But that is what makes it such a delicious subject to speculate about. For who hasn't idly wondered about cutting loose from family and friends, and hacking away at life's footling problems to start a new life in a new world?

If Lord Lucan were ever found, or if his body were ever discovered, then, for a short while, it would be big news. Immense news.

Just imagine that interview! It would be spell-binding!

I guess there's a chance that some old diaries might be found belonging to Aspinall, or that other millionaire scoundrel Sir Jimmy Goldsmith, in which they detail what happened to their old friend.

More likely though, Lucan's body will be found in some unmarked grave in Africa, where DNA analysis will eventually prove beyond doubt that it was the missing Earl.

And that will be the rather mundane end to the story. The mystery will be solved and the murder will quickly become just another quirky little footnote in history.

Better by far just to leave it as it is - this extraordinary story to which there can be only questions, but never an answer. Better by far for us all to be allowed to continue with our endless speculation as to Lucan's whereabouts.

And as for Lord Lucan's family and his three children, well I don't know for sure, but I'd hazard that they also would prefer it if the mystery was to remain just that: a mystery.