AN explosive new book about an unsolved Hagley murder that has baffled locals for 75 years has been released.

Halesowen schoolboy author Alex Merrill and his dad Pete have taken a new look at the mystery of how a woman's body came to be found in a Wych Elm tree in Hagley Wood in 1943.

The case has gripped locals, authors, historians and film-makers for decades but the release of two new movies in 2017 triggered new interest in the story of Bella, as the dead woman came to be known, and the subsequent cryptic message 'Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm' that appeared on the Wychbury Hill obelisk afterwards.

And now new book 'Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?: Volume 1: The Crime Scene Revisited' offers up an intriguing new theory about Bella's fate - casting doubt on the original parameters of the forensic examination and subsequent police enquiries which followed after the decomposing body was discovered by four teenaged boys.

The book, published by Stourbridge publisher Andrew Sparke of APS Books, started out as a school project for 15-year-old Alex, who is currently studying for his GCSEs.

Mr Sparke, former chief executive of Dudley Council - who has himself written about the Bella mystery, said: "We're ecstatic to be publishing Alex Merrill's book.

"He’s been exploring the Bella crime scene, physical evidence and forensic reports in detail and has reached some startling new conclusions."

The book is available to buy from Amazon, priced £7.99.