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nine. canberra at war

Continued from here

14 June 1949.

The first body is interred, joining the second.


The inquest in three days and the Coroner in urgent need of DS Leane’s brief.

One more day, replied Leane, we have matters to finalise.

Thankfully, Coroner Cleland didn’t ask what they were. Leane had been unable to make any headway in finding Francis’┬ádepartment through regular contacts after finding the original line disconnected. The two Mi5 visits in the previous year had completely changed the order of things in Canberra. External Affairs was being pared mercilessly. The CIS filleted and backbone removed.

Canberra was at war with itself.

The outstanding matters were (1) interviewing the subscriber of what had looked like a telephone number written on the back cover of the book, and (2) regaining possession of the book itself and matching it with the Tamam Shud slip. Without these Leane knew his brief was stymied.

So he waited, itchy with impatience, anger building into a quiet fury at this wholly improper way of dealing with evidence in what was now a coronial matter. He rang Brown and told him to release news of the successful interpretation of the two words ‘Tamam Shud’ ┬áto the press, hoping it might get a response from Francis.

It didn’t.

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