A Radio 4 Book of the Week. In 1888 Louis Le Prince shot the world's first motion picture in Leeds, England. In 1890, weeks before the public unveiling of his camera and projector - a year before Thomas Edison announced that the had invented a motion picture camera - Le Prince stepped on a train in France - and disappeared without a trace.
He was never seen or heard from again. No body was ever found. Le Prince's family were convinced Edison had stolen Louis's work, and so they sued the most famous inventor in the world.
By the time the lawsuit was over, Le Prince's own son was dead under suspicious circumstances - and modern Hollywood was being born. Paul Fischer's new book excavates one of the Victorian age's great unsolved mysteries, and in the process offers a revelatory rewriting of the birth of motion pictures.