The Third Man
It may be out of order to suggest that not many who visit this site have had a similar lifetime of reading and absorbing tales of history and espionage; both fiction, fiction based upon truth and the undecorated truth itself. American, English (Australia as a footnote), Russian – all their internal agencies twisted together into a tight knot of permanent distrust.
More so now.
If this was not the case, perhaps we could be discussing the mundane possibility that the TS slip and the page it was torn from were to be used by two people as a means of identifying each-other prior to an exchange of intelligence. But before this meeting took place there was an interception orchestrated by one of the twisted agencies.
The ones responsible for covering the only available image of the code with ink. But that would mean dismissing the Francis aka Freeman revelation in its entirety and entertain another theory.
That the Rubaiyat was not the means of carrying coded intelligence; that may have been written on a loose piece of paper about the same size as a Rubaiyat page. A detached flyleaf say. And that was what was sought by the twisted sisters.
SAPOL got the book.
Then DS Leane found the imprints on the back cover. But he apparently didn’t have the time to photograph them before the book disappeared from view, to be replaced by a doctored image .
As a note.
SAPOL was not incapable of taking a clear photograph of evidence. The one below is of a carefully arranged number of evidential items placed on a leather folder on the desk of one of the detectives involved in the case.