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What do the tools tell us?

What was he ?

Opinions vary.

Nitkeeper? Car-thief?

Engraver? Ballet dancer?

Prospector? Spy?



We’ll take Nick (Dome) Pelling’s nitkeeper first.

Dome uses a firm basis for his nit-keeper claim, one that is based on a strong identification of the body by a couple of baccarat players in Victoria. Though nameless baccarat players, which wasn’t surprising given the illegality of the game and wishes of the men who ran and played it to remain anonymous.

But Dome cannot find any connection between his nitkeeper and the tools other than proposing he moved into the car-stealing racket after leaving Victoria. The committee applaud his thinking here but cannot allot him a score for a second preference. A man gets only one bite of this cherry.

Score: 1/18


Next: Dude47’s car-thief.

Dude is consistent, he’s a believer, so much so we have serious doubts about the circles he moved in as a youth – some stuff he knows you didn’t learn at school.

Dude has found uses for twelve of the listed tool items in his quest to identify the dead man as a car-thief and no-one can argue with an 80.125%. If I had a couple of those scores in the Leaving Certificate I’d be operating on brains today rather than being an online smart-arse.

Score: 13/18


Next: Petedavo’s engraver.

Pete’s a dark-horse here. Some time ago and on another site he suggested our man might have used the knife and brush to assist him in an engraving task … the committee’s recollection is faint and in Pete’s case will allow him a score adjustment if he can bring a few more items into the fold once he gets his head out of the spy manuals.

so, for now he’s 3/18


Next: Bozo’s ballet dancer.

I have to own up to this theory but it’s looking a bit shaky if we discount the crook feet, high calf-muscles, year-old lower body tan and metal traces in his hair. This is a tools only thread. And already I’m not liking him for building, repairing or cleaning ballet flats with the tools. That was a fair stretch. So now I’m way down there score-wise.

Score: 4/18 – including 3 for the safety-pins: a man needs something to hold up his tights.


Next: Byron’s Prospector.

Byron came on strong with his theory of a lonesome prospector digging out rocks that made his geiger-counter click, even withstanding a strong challenge made about the svelte condition of our dead man’s hands and fingernails. Because Byron, despite spending half his life eating jerky under the shade of a mulga tree has the hands of a man who has spent a lifetime adding numbers in a ledger. This I know. I’m looking at mine now. But it paid well.

Score: 11/18


Next: Gordon Cramer’s spy.

I’ll try to be objective. Promise.

Gordo is at a great disadvantage here because it’s his opinion that the suitcase was comprehensively ransacked and the items we are considering as tools were ALL placed there by persons unknown so as to deflect any investigation as to the true reason of the dead man’s visit to Adelaide.

This, unfortunately, puts him on a level with the Dome (how’s the irony?). However, if at any time Gordo wishes to reconsider his options the committee is always open to amending his score. If it’s ok for Petedavo, it’s ok for him.

Score: 1/18


Next: Boris’ Artisan.

Boris, otherwise known as пожалуйста, which translates from the Russian to ‘you are welcome‘ – has indeed made himself welcome because he has not only achieved the highest score, but done it on the back of two of Adelaide’s greatest post-war detectives, Lionel Leane and Len Brown. {Sound of applause}

A stranger in town, Boris hit his high notes from the start, and incidentally gave me better stats than this site has seen in many years. You’re a champion, Boris, and if its vodka you drink then that’s what I’ll buy.

Score: 18/18 


Next: John Sanders’ phantom.

Johnno has posted more words on this subject than any man alive but has kind of slipped around as to what he was, the who he’s covered from Bob Wake to The Everley Brothers. On this basis we are unable to score the old lad with any certainty, what’s more he cannot even qualify for a screwdriver. Because if he had one he’d fix the loose one.

Score: 0/18



The Tools

(1) A square of metal foil. 

(2 and 3) The scissors. One broken, the other whole.

(4) The table-knife snapped to a point.

(5) The brush. 

(6,7,8,9,10,11) The six pencils.

(12) The black powder shaken from the brush.

(13) The Razor Strop.

(14) The piece of light board.

(15,16,17) The three safety pins.

(18) The screwdriver.*

*Nearly everyone got this one because nearly everyone has one.


Late news. Information just received from dude47 may put him in an equal first position if he can prove false licence plates were made by stencils in about 1948.

No pressure.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Byron Deveson #

    Hey! Wait a minute there! What are you doing with that elephant! (that’s a line from a Jimmy Durante movie). My prospector, Charles Mikkelsen, can claim all 18 of the tools and, in addition, Charles has many other connections in addition to the tools. Yes, the ears aren’t a good fit but the recent discovery of a doppelganger in the Danish Census 1940 strongly reinforces the identification of SM as Charles Mikkelsen or his doppelganger. Charles was always getting a free pass from the authorities and this screams “under official control”. The maritime unions, not just in Australia but world wide, were full of people whom were under the watchful eye of the various authorities. Customs (drug smuggling etc), intelligence and police would have had paid informers and agents watching. I think Charles was recruited as eyes and ears for the Australian authorities and was later recruited by Allied intelligence. The Danish Census entry is just too much of a coincidence to overlook. Denmark was under German occupation from April 1940. This does not preclude any, or indeed all, of the other activities that have been suggested for Charles. Ballet. Theatre. Shoe maker. Car thief. Gaming house cockatoo. Artisan. Etc.
    Regarding hats, I prefer to identify every plausible hypothesis and keep each and every one of them in the “active” file. As new evidence comes in these “hats” (hypotheses) advance or receed in the probability list. Some fall off the list and new hypotheses, or adjusted hypotheses advance.

    April 11, 2020
  2. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Account name: Bozo. BSB 102 9876. Account number: 1119 654 7861.
    You want an 18 Byron ? Then you know what to do.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’m trying to locate some bulk toilet paper for someone in the business.

    April 11, 2020

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