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the black market theory: was francis’ car hot?

The Francis Fiction

The cast: Mr Francis, his sister and his brother-in-law.

The place: inside a Hillman Minx.

The time as given: the second or third of December 1948.

The location: Jetty road, Glenelg.

Act 1

At the commencement of the outing all three got into the car, the brother-in-law took a back seat next to his wife.

The brother-in-law saw a book in the backseat footwell.

He picked it up and fanned through a few pages.

He placed the book inside the glovebox upon leaving the vehicle.

Act 2 – eight months on

Mr Francis reads a July headline and remembers all the details of Act 1.

He phones his brother-in-law and has it confirmed that he too remembers the details of Act 1.

Mr Francis went to the Hillman Minx, opened the glove-box and found the book.

Mr Francis delivered the book to DS Leane the next day.

Mr Francis requested his identity be kept confidential.

DS Leane agreed because he wouldn’t like to see Francis hounded by the press.

The Black Market Scenario.

November 1948: Mr Francis buys a vehicle from Prosper Thomson at the blackmarket price of say, £850.

The car was initially sold to Thomson by a blackmarket vendor at the control price of say, £400 with the balance to come after Thomson sold it on.

This vendor distrusted Thomson to such a degree he left a marked Rubaiyat in the car he sold to Thomson to prove it was once his, just in case Thomson thought to dupe him out of the balance when the car was sold on.

Nine months on.

Mr Francis found the Rubaiyat after reading a newspaper article about the Somerton Man case then attended the Adelaide Police station to meet Detective Sergeant Leane and hand over the book.

Mr Francis requested his identity be kept confidential.

DS Leane agreed because he wouldn’t like to see Francis hounded by the press.

 Where it fails

Mr Francis, dealer in black-market goods with a known villain, walks into a police station and hands over evidence crucial to an open murder case. He says he found the evidence in his car. He probably parked it outside.

(1) In doing this, Francis linked himself and his car with a murder that took place nine months earlier. The body in that case, coincidentally, was found close to the home of the known villain who sold Francis the car, Prosper Thomson. The murder victim, coincidentally, was the blackmarket vendor.

(2) There is no record of the police taking any interest in who sold the car to Francis. Instead they agreed to keep his identity secret.


“I will not go into the possibility that the man purchased his car from Prosper. It is an absolutely rubbish suggestion that has no credibility. Poor old Prosper. He must have been the only ‘black market’ racketeer in Adelaide. From my knowledge of the climate during that relevant period he was a ‘nothing’.”

G Feltus, lifted from Cipher Mysteries.

pic is of Jetty road premises, 1948

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ellen #

    Would you remember rubbish left in a car after 8 months, much less a missing person case’s arcane details. Besides Rubiyats were supposedly common. Why would the paparrizi care?

    June 15, 2017
  2. Clive #

    If Mr Francis was a known black market dealer, and the police knew this, why didn’t DS Leane ask more questions as to the dealings Francis had made? Why the big cover up? Perhaps certain members of the police were themselves into black market rackets, and DS Leane knew this so, a deal was done a win-win outcome for all concerned.

    June 15, 2017
  3. The police didn’t question Francis because Francis couldn’t be questioned. The police invented Francis because that was what Francis asked them to do. Francis told them to invent him because he had the authority to do so.
    That’s my view.

    June 15, 2017
  4. Back then, anyone who wanted to sell their car for more than the Price Commissioner’s pegged price sold it on the black market. If Ronald Francis bought his car on the black market (as 90% of all car buyers did), then he was a professional who had been criminalized by the price control regulations. Which hardly makes him a black market dealer.

    June 15, 2017
  5. That infers you know more about him than we do.

    June 16, 2017
    • I won’t hear a bad word said about Uncle Ronnie.

      June 16, 2017
  6. Ellen #

    Was the Ronald Francis book just a device, made up by the newspaper, held back information ….to trap the spies?

    June 17, 2017
    • Ellen, that would mean the police and the press were working together to help the government. That’s a lot of cooperation and a lot of people involved, so maybe not.

      June 17, 2017
      • Ellen #

        It’s called propaganda.

        June 17, 2017
  7. bdid1dr #

    Have y’all caught up with the recent DNA sampling which was done on “Somerton Man” ?. We’ve come full circle by comparing the DNA results with very old discussions we’ve had in the past. Do you remember my discussing Somerton Man’s disappearance from Los Alamos ? AND his re- appearance on Somerton Beach (Australia) ?

    I had lost all hope that DNA studies could be done on him (because of the radioactivity which basically “roasted” him before he could run for cover).. Adding to my hopelessness was the premature embalming procedure. I am so very pleased that they DID eventually run a DNA test .
    So, he ran anyway. Then we also have to blame his ‘melt-down” status on even more running in semi-desert areas of Australia.

    . He WAS a member of Professor Szilard’s AND Oliphant’s AND Oppenheimer’s teams.
    He just was not able to attend the earlier conference which occurred several months earlier ABOVE (CITY HALL) in the town of Somerton.

    He ran for cover (so to speak) so as not to be anywhere near the retaliatory efforts of any surviving Japanese military (airplanes, boats, submarines). …… whether the United States or America or Australia or…..

    And then we also got some of the Japanese filthynest bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    Do you wonder (anymore) that I may be foaming at the mouth ?.

    June 17, 2017
    • Photographs, Bids, there must be one of your man somewhere.

      June 17, 2017

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