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theories: the purposes of the tamam shud slip

A Collection.

Everyone has to have a theory about the book and the slip, it goes with the territory, trouble is thinking up a new one.

This is what we have so far, suitably scored.


The Tamam Shud slip and book it was torn from were used as a covert means of identifying a motor vehicle sold on the black-market. Scribus. (1/10)

The Tamam Shud slip and the book it was torn from were used as a covert means of identifying two people to each other. John le Carre. (10/10)

The Tamam Shud slip was used as a suicide note. John Citizen. (5/10)

The Tamam Shud lip was planted by James Cowan. Byron D. (2/10)

  • or, it was put in his pocket by the man who killed him. See pic on the right, available in paperback and ebook. (?/10)


Anyone care to add another?

Sanders, is that your hand I see waving?



47 Comments Post a comment
  1. john sanders #

    There wasn’t any tamam shud slip perse.

    August 25, 2017
  2. Ellen #

    The tamam shud slip was supposed to spook a spy cell that was involved in a previous murder. Somerton man was a decoy.

    August 26, 2017
  3. Misca #

    I think it was there (either planted or with SM’s intention for it to be found). It wasn’t found. Stumbling fools. Cleland was sent in to “find” it. It was a message that should have been sent when they found him. Unfortunately, it was sent quite a bit later.

    August 26, 2017
  4. Misca #

    Someone in ASIO.

    August 27, 2017
  5. Misca #

    Pete – Not sure if I have posted this before…T E Cleland represented the wife of Horace Allan Pile (Rivka) when she was involved in a car accident in 1954. Might give an idea of sympathies?

    August 28, 2017
  6. Misca #

    My pleasure.

    August 28, 2017
  7. Dude47: a spy outside the Maid and Magpie, waiting for another spy wearing a pair of brown horn-rimmed glasses and carrying a black briefcase and and folded copy of the Age. That’s three visual checks. Ina Harvey’s man comes to mind, the fellow waiting in the lobby of the Strathmore carrying a small black case. Never took a drink, she said, and his English wasn’t too mangled.

    August 28, 2017
  8. Thedude747 #

    We know for sure that SM had the slip but how do we know FOR SURE that SM ever actually had possession of the Rubiyant ?

    The accepted version of events is that they became separated.

    Maybe the two never came together as they were supposed to.

    Whatever business SM was in town to do , and my opinion is well documented, and I believe it was to meet with a contact and the slip was to match/identify a person not otherwise known to him, but spy , lover or thief, things went pear shaped.

    So did the slip and the book ever come together ?

    Did SM get stood up/ did he turn up to Mosley St and get told “yeah your man will be meeting you later down the beach, long journey you must be hungry says the attractive lady , here have a pasty then off you go to the beach”

    We assume SM wrote “the code’ but there’s no proof he ever actually had the book. Maybe SM never wrote “the code” or whatever it was Maybe somebody just casually dumped the Rubiyant after he’d taken care of business.

    By the way Pete great pub the Maid and Magpie. Its my local !!

    August 28, 2017
  9. Misca #

    Well. ok. Thedude747 (good to see you back). There might not be any proof that he (SM) ever had the book. But…he had a scrap that was torn out of it. So, there’s that. That’s a connection isn’t it? Maybe he didn’t have the book but someone tore out a piece of it and shoved it into his pant pocket fob. So?

    September 2, 2017
  10. Thedude747 #

    Hi Misca
    Good to be back. That said I’m always around to some degree.
    I have no doubt that the slip and the book were intended to be reunited and there is an un doubtable like between the two. I think the book may well have been in SM s possession at some point
    BUT There seem to be certain matters taken as read in this case. Is this why all leads turn in to dead ends ?
    One of thing taken as read is that the phone number was a link to Jessica. My hypothesis challenges this and hence the idea that SM was in town to meet Jessica .

    Every time the number is mentioned it is referred to as “the phone number of a local nurse” or similar. This seems to be because the number was listed in her name. Why do you think the phone was listed in Jessica’s name? Its a bit odd for the times don’t you think? It is my belief that this was because of PT s somewhat erratic employment and financial woes forced them to put the phone in Jess’s name because PT may not have had the best credit rating at the time.

    Its seems that PT needed the phone number to run his little “Steptoe and son’ like enterprises. His small adds appeared regularly and to my mind is far more likely to have been scribbled into a book by someone reading such an add or another link to PT.

    Another matter taken as read is that SM wrote the code. Maybe he did but again we don’t have any proof that he ever actually had the book in his possession. Yes we have a link and they are liked but no proof that the two ever came together so who’s to say the code if it was one was written by SM.

    September 6, 2017
  11. I remember reading years ago of an ad placed in one of the Adelaide papers for someone to look after a child at 90a Moseley … a little after the event I think. Can’t find the bloody thing now of course. How’s your memory, Misca?

    September 6, 2017
  12. Thedude747 #

    I recall seeing that add.

    September 6, 2017
    • I had it once, and turfed it in a pique of fit ..

      September 6, 2017
  13. Misca #

    Pete –

    The Advertiser 29th November 1948 page 9
    “A Nursery-housemald. for 4 weeks. From Dec. 6, at Somerton. Ring McTaggart. X 1863. after Dec. 2.”

    Before you drive yourself crazy, I did manage to track this family down way back when. I couldn’t connect them to Prosper or Jessica.

    September 6, 2017
    • Do you remember anything about them?

      September 7, 2017
      • Misca #

        Um. You’re welcome. ; )

        September 7, 2017
  14. Misca #

    Not much. They went on to do some other advertisements. I was curious enough to follow up because of the McTaggart name but eventually let it go because I couldn’t link a connection. If it’s important I’ll go and dig up but they are PAINFUL searches so it would be good to be motivated! Watch’a got?

    September 7, 2017
  15. Misca #

    Thedude – I am always open to your theory. Read it a while back and see no reason why it couldn’t in fact, be the case. Simpler than most of what we look for/discuss. An alternate thought as to why the number may have been listed under Jessica’s name…He was still married and some have posted that his wife was looking for him…Queenie had relatives in Adelaide. That could be a reason???

    Nonetheless, I looked into the whole car theft/fraud business for a while and I am still open to the possibility that it was related to Prosper and not to Jessica. If so, she sure screwed up when she blabbed about the remote and completely unrelated Rubaiyat in her life! (I don’t mean that sarcastically – if that’s what happened, I mean it seriously.)

    September 7, 2017
  16. Misca #

    The Horrie Pile bit…There’s something else I found in Walter’s files that you might find of interest.

    In one of Walter Sedan’s files it mentions that he went to Adelaide in 1950 because of an alleged “security” raid at a Glenelg cafe. After a lot of searching I found this:|||dateTo=1950-12-31

    I also found an naa file on the matter that has never been requested. Search “Tim Hamilton Pascoe” and the file should come up. I am sharing because it occurred just a year and a half after SM in Moseley Square and just before Horace was sent to Glenelg.

    Bit of research I’ve done. Tim Hamilton Pascoe was Edward Theodore Pascoe (dentist)’s son and the Mahoney mentioned was most likely his cousin as Edward’s wife was Mary Agnes Mahoney ( a nurse that served and then married Edward in Egypt).

    Only interest here is that there was some sort of a security raid and that Walter came to Adelaide. Sharing what I know in case it connects to other bits that others know.

    September 7, 2017
  17. Misca ~ if I search Trove using the name and the phone number ~ should do it?

    September 7, 2017
    • Misca #

      Huh? Don’t understand? What are you looking for? So many things discussed.

      September 7, 2017
  18. Misca #

    Pete – Do you still have trolls? It has been a while not. Why all this waiting for moderation? You could link the ten of us or so to go through? It would make for easier/breezier conversation instead of. us waiting for you to come back from the pub or fancy restaurant.

    September 7, 2017
    • I’m down the back paddock leaning over a fence post, smoking and gazing at the cattle … then I’ll have another half-hour reading le Carre.

      September 7, 2017
  19. Misca #

    Oh. you’re still onto the family searching for help with children? Ok. I’ll need some time. It ended up nowhere though. Why do you think it’s relevant?

    September 7, 2017
  20. Thedude747 #

    Yeah Misca that is also a definite possible re PTs reason for putting the phone in Jess’s name.

    For some background I grew up the son of an Adelaide car salesman. My dad knew of Prosper or George as he was known and mixed in similar circles but did not know him personally at all. .Most of dads mates who frequented our back yard barbies were old car salesman. These guys were a breed unto themselves. Watch the move Tin men which gives an accurate portrayal of the salesmen of that era. It was my dad who randomly mentioned that on the car yard you would carry a slip of zinc or aluminium foil because you could slip it behind the ignition switch to fire the ignition of cars of that era. He even recalled using a lifesaver wrapper to do this when moving cars around the yard. A similar tactic employed by car thieves of the era as it turns out.

    These car salesmen were smooth talkers and got around in flashy cars and suits. On the surface they were the picture of success but behind the scenes that were living hand to mouth often desperately waiting on the next sale. There was always a dodgy deal being done out the back of their local and always a mate in Sydney or Melbourne shipping (or driving) something over that had fallen off the back of a truck. These guys would drive home in the latest Jag which was on consignment in their yard to a house that had the power cut off 4 weeks ago and eating bread and dripping for dinner.
    These boys rarely had anything in their own names because either their credit was in the toilet and owed money all around town or had people looking for them for all manner of reasons. These could include angry husbands un paid creditors, shafted business partners or as you say ex wives. In the worst cases it was to hide from someone who for reasons unknown was looking to do them serious damage. Everything I read about George points to him being in that mould.

    You make a good point re Jess “blabbed about the unrelated Rubiyant” In a way this exonerates her for mine. This is why I think she was oblivious.

    So my question to the spy theorists is this. If Jess was such a well connected highly trained and trusted covert undercover super spy WHY would she give up Alf Boxal to the local plods when there was absolutely no need for her to mention Boxal at all. This Marta Hari, this white mouse operating under deep cover gives up her mentor to a local copper just like that?? I doesn’t pass the pub test for me I’m afraid.

    I think her response to the coppers was genuine. The book was very popular and she happened to have given one to a bloke in Sydney a few years back. If a slip was torn from the pages of fifty shades of grey today and you questioned a random suburban wife chances are she would either have a copy of have given one to someone. A coincidence yes but not a smoking gun.

    This is why I see the Boxal Rubiyant and Boxal himself as red herrings.

    September 7, 2017
  21. Dude: what it boils down to is whether you believe the code is an acrostic or an example of steganography.

    September 7, 2017
  22. Misca – it might be relevant if the ads only appeared in December and January.

    September 7, 2017
  23. Thedude747 #

    If its either it has to be a an acrostic given on that on face value it has no message or meaning making it unlikely to be a steganography but it doesn’t have any baring on wether the book was linked to Jess or George. A large section of the adult population were armed services or war veterans and may have been using their previously acquired skills to get ahead in the black market post war rationing era of the late 40s

    September 7, 2017
  24. Pelling thinks the slip and book were incorporated in a car deal where the initial seller, knowing his buyer’s poor black market form for paying up the difference, would be able to prove to the final owner that the car was once his.
    I don’t buy it for a minute, Dude, what do you think?

    September 7, 2017
  25. Thedude747 #

    Put it this way and this is for all the under 30s on this page. In a Legit transaction at the time and in the pre digital era BEFOR EFTOPS AND PAYWAVE you hand wrote a recept with thing called a “biro” yes that’s right kiddies you actually wrote a recept out in a “recept book” available in all good stationary shops or chemist probably. This book had blue insert between two identical pages called a carbon sheet and this made a “carbon copy” of the recept. Same way the “code” got on the ROK but more efficiently. Original on the first page , carbon copy on the second.

    So it went like this the seller wrote out the recept and tore out the top page and handed it to the buyer as proof of purchase. The seller retained the recept book which contained the “carbon copy” of the recept. This was for proof of purchase in case of dispute and for tax purposes.

    BUT what if the transaction was not legit? You don’t write out recepts in the usual way but both parties still want to be protected.

    So Pellings theory is in this scenario is worth considering. Instead of the traditional recept book with an original and a copy linked together the original was the ROK which is retained by the seller and the purchaser takes a torn out sheet that fits perfectly with the book. It would be a clever way to complete a black market transaction for sure. Why not. This makes SM the purchaser rather than the seller in town to buy a black market motor and with a wad of un traceable cash in his wallet and no return ticket.

    September 7, 2017
  26. The code was immaterial to the deal then, done by persons unknown, possibly someone who had possession of the book at some earlier time?

    September 7, 2017
  27. Thedude747 #

    The “code ‘ is a red herring. Its nothing more than a tracing on a book . What other information was attached to it ???? Its lost forever only those four lies of scratches remain. The author may have simply turned over the book and continued but any extra information is lost for all timre. By the way a correction on my previous post the “TAMUN SHUD” was torn form the original in Pellings theory. The seller keeps the ROK the buyer takes the torn out sheet as his receipt. Simple

    September 7, 2017
  28. I’m not clear on that change of theory Dude, could you place it into a narrative, please? I’m sure you can manage a small script for us, thanks.

    September 7, 2017
  29. Misca #

    Pete – If you trove “X1863” they’ll come up. There’s one in December 1947, February 1949, and another in February 1950.

    September 7, 2017
  30. Misca #

    Mrs. Archie McTaggart. Ocean Hills Stn. Port Augusta. She’s the lady who posted the ads.

    September 7, 2017
  31. Thedude747 #

    Not so much a change of my theory Pete as an opinion of Pellings theory that the slip was a receipt of purchase on a black market transaction.

    To me it was still an identifier or secret handshake. My theory (the Thomson twins theory) is based on research of the black market car thieves at the time re birthing cars in Melbourne and Sydney. It takes into account PT s history of forging ownership papers with his WA conviction and the Daphne Page case which spells out his entire modus operandi and his propensity to shaft business partners in these deals.

    In my script SM Arrives in town packed for a short stay armed with the tools of his trade and a local contact details . If all goes well within 24 hours he will be sailing through Horsham in a near new Hilman Minx with legit papers and number plate to match just in case a nosey plod pulls him over for a routine. He has unique identifier (there slip) which was mailed across to Melbourne and will match the book carried by his Adelaide contact.

    The HM will be expertly liberated in the dead of night from a driveway in Henley Beach the address of which along with the legit papers will be provided by a local wise guy who has the identical HM on his car lot (the twin).

    Nicks script has the thieves using the ROK as a receipt book with the slip provided as proof of money changing hands.

    September 8, 2017
    • But SM is attacked from within by a deadly physical condition the day he arrives, he finds a spot on the beach near the steps for a last smoke before dying …. and despite all the people using the same steps to come and go that early evening he doesn’t ask for assistance, and even more strange was that nobody thought he needed any.

      September 8, 2017
  32. Thedude747 #

    Thats the million dollar question poison or natural causes. I wonder if a modern autopsy may have revealed a previously undiagnosed condition. Be careful never to die when you go off the grid because you end up a John Doe.
    Remember Herman Rockefeller the millionaire business man who liked to dabble in the swinger scene. To his family Herman was a loving father successful businessman , fitness fanatic. Unbeknown to his wife family and friends Herman lived a double life under the name Peter and he trawled the swingers scene. Problem was old Herman ended up dead on a lounge room floor at the hands of a disgruntled husband and wife for breaking the swingers code. His wife thought he was intestate.

    If not for the modern media Herman would have ended up a mystery stiff, no pun intended. No-one knew where he was and the people he was with when he died didn’t know his identity or needed any aggravation from the law so they disposed of him.

    If SM just dropped dead for reasons unknown at 90a Mosley what would PT and Jess do. The coppers would want to know who he was and why he was in town. Pt didn’t need that aggravation. He threatened to top himself in Perth when the cops showed up.

    September 8, 2017
  33. Misca #

    Thedude – Why would the police make a bust? A bust of a car thief? Did they make a mistake and think something else? What happened that they let it all get blown up into something so much bigger?

    September 8, 2017
  34. John sanders #

    I’ll say it once more, Prosper was never convicted of any felony in all is fairly long life that we are aware of, and that is not such a bad effort for a fellow in his sort of business. The thing in Perth when he was young only related to shonky papers and the presiding beak saw fit to give him a bond rather than to proceed further which he chose not to do due to remorse shown by the offender. If he ever did anything more serious later, he wasn’t nailed for it.

    September 8, 2017
  35. Thedude747 #

    I think its safe to say that the local SA coppers ballsed up. Its a tradition in SA as I’ve mentioned here in the past. SA has been known as the “murder capital of Australia’ Statistics show that this is not in fact the case. Our reputation comes from the many ongoing mystery’s SM included that remain unsolved. Why are they unsolved ?? because we have an incompetent police force. How is it that they just let the best and only lead in the SM case the link to 90 A Mosley st just drop off. ?? The book had the phone number and the guy was found meters from the house. I’ve been there its literally a decent drop punt from 90 A Mosley to where the body was found.
    AND by all accounts they never talked to Prosper!!! are you serious??? Never interviewed him.

    So my answer is yes I think they ” made a big mistake” . The red herring being the book and Alf B which seems to have thrown them off the main game and still does to this day for many.

    I don’t think they had thief in mind when they made the bust. The bust was made for practical purposes in that they just couldn’t hold onto the body any longer so the bust was made for future reference and then they laid our man to rest.

    September 8, 2017
  36. The ROK was handed in after the inquest, deliberately in my view, and the wiseness of this decision was confirmed when nothing was done to further the case.

    September 8, 2017
  37. …. in other words, Dude, the red herring approach worked perfectly.

    September 8, 2017
  38. Thedude747 #

    Best Red herring ever !!

    September 17, 2017

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