IT SEEMS that Miss Marple may have to be called in to help with the

Mystery of the Disappearing Funnels.

A call to the dear old lady's cottage may be the only solution to a

puzzle which is confounding people all over Scotland.

The funnels at the centre of the case, 18 in number and painted in the

colours of the shipping companies which used to ply the Clyde, made up a

working sculpture called Arrivals and Sailings which featured at the

Glasgow Garden Festival last year.

The work by Gourock-based sculptor George Wyllie was bought from the

Scottish Development Agency by a design company who wanted to put it in

a marina at Rothesay so that it would it not be lost to the Scots


A ''nominal sum'' was paid, papers were exchanged and the company

waited until arrangements could be made to collect the funnels which

were on a pontoon and moved meaningfully with the rise and fall of the


Here the plot begins to thicken. The sculpture was not there when

agents of the new owners went to pick it up. They were told it had been

taken ''down south'' by someone but no-one was quite sure where.

Needless to say James Day of Scottish Design Works (offices in

Strathaven and Rothesay) was not pleased that the sculpture he wanted to

be part of the resurgence of the Clyde coast, which he is convinced is

going to happen, was not where it should have been and could not be

moved to Rothesay.

He said: ''We have an agreement with the SDA to buy the sculpture and

we were told it would be stored until we were ready to pick it up. When

we went to collect it we were told it had gone and so far we have been

unable to find out where it is.''

A spokesman for the SDA said: ''We have papers which say that the

sculpture has been bought by Scottish Design Works and a fee paid.

Unfortunately it seems to have disappeared from where it was stored and

we will be looking into what has happened and trying to sort it out.''

Sculptor George Wyllie, who has been famous for unusual works of art

including the straw locomotive and paper boat which graced successive

Mayfest celebrations, said: ''The whole thing seems a puzzle. On the one

hand I have heard that the funnels are going to Rothesay, on the other

that they are going to Carnforth in the north of England for some steam


''I just hope it goes to the rightful owner and is seen by many more