Harkness: only one lie was needed.
It is inconceivable that the senior detective in charge of the investigation into the Somerton Body would voluntarily lay aside a crucial piece of evidence for seven weeks, particularly as at least ten articles concerning the finding of the body appeared in Australian newspapers between April 11 and June 9th.
What is conceivable is that he was convinced to do so, meaning that a delay in that aspect of the police investigation was necessary in order to further another party’s objective.
And there was no hiding the slip from the inquest as Cleland mentioned finding it in his deposition.
Leane’s seven weeks of inaction may then be read as him allowing the other party enough time to prepare for the eventuality that somebody might come forward with the book in the couple of weeks before the inquest.
By preparing I mean having the time to construct an artifice that would withstand questioning.
Harkness had to lie when asked what date she gave her Rubaiyat to Boxall.
Harkness was ready when Detective Canney knocked on her door. She had remembered the three year-old Boxall story in all its detail.
His name, home address, rank, wife’s name, where he was stationed, the friends who introduced them, the time they were introduced, the hotel, the bar. The fact that he was being posted, where he was going, she probably knew what bike he was riding at the time as well … Then she ceased talking to the police and answered no more of their questions.
Her fiction of giving a Rubaiyat to Boxall in 1945 and the false trail it provided the investigation in 1949 proved to be an almost impregnable cover for Harkness’ involvement.
Though she almost betrayed it when she saw the bust.
And the book Alf produced for the NSW police when they accompanied him back to his Maroubra home from the Randwick bus depot was probably introduced to his bookshelf not long before the inquest.