Jessica’s (other) Rubaiyat
The story as we know it is that that Harkness gave a Rubaiyat to Alf Boxall in 1945, three years before Detective Canney knocked on her front door and asked if she had copy. We don’t know if she replaced the one she gave Alf, but given the book’s popularity it wouldn’t be surprising.
“During the first decades of the 20th century, the ‘Rubáiyát’ made its way into nearly every facet of people’s lives,” said Michelle Kaiserlian, co-curator of the exhibition and “Rubáiyát” scholar. “For example, the exhibition documents the popularity of ‘Rubáiyát’ parodies, written on subjects ranging from courtship to automobiles, and from religion to politics. The ‘Rubáiyát’ became a tool to explore both the thrills and the anxieties of modern life.”
So maybe she did ..
Perhaps there was a copy of the Rubiayat sitting in a bookshelf at 90A Moseley Street on the night of November 30th 1948.
We know she knew Keane.
And her shock* at seeing his likeness might have been because she’d seen him in the company of Prosper Thomson on the night of 30th of November 1948, sitting in her kitchen eating a late-night pasty that had been seasoned with something other than tomato sauce.
Which would mean the imprint of a code together with the phone number X3292 may have been her doing, or Prospers.
And point to Prosper as being the man seen carrying a man along the Somerton Beach foreshore later the same night.
Leaving the question as to which one of them understood what Tamam Shud meant before removing it and hiding it in Keane’s fob pocket.
* owe you one, Colonel.