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three. francis pulls his first string

.. continued from here

January 1949


Francis stood by his office window, a drab Adelaide laid out before him, some greasy soot hanging in the air. His assistant, Nick, was standing by Francis’ desk flicking through the contents of a manila folder.

‘What is that shit in the air?’

Nick looked up.



Nick carried the file over to the window. Looked out. Shrugged.

‘Probably radio-active.’

Francis grunted.

‘You know what might be useful to know?’


‘If their clothes spark up a geiger-counter.’


Francis wanted more than have someone break into the lock-up and wave a geiger-counter over the two men’s belongings, he wanted someone to search through their clothes again.

‘Who, me?’

Francis looked at his assistant, they were sharing a platter of Coffin Bay oysters at the Grosvenor Hotel. Both men had been together since 1948, when the Englishmen who got off a plane in Canberra turned everything upside-down.

Nick wasn’t pretty. Too much Rugby as a youth and prize-fighting as an adolescent. He’d also spent five years with the Metropolitan police without making any enemies.


‘Who then?’

‘Someone who likes getting his face in the papers.’

Nick smiled.


adelaide city baths

Adelaide City Baths

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