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Paul Lawson and I had much in common

Paul Lawson never spoke to Jessica Harkness, never met Alf Boxall and was not privy to the investigation in any way other than what he may have overheard while working on a seriously corrupt, long dead and embalmed body in the morgue, though I suspect the stink of the body’s decomposition and the accompanying stench on Lawson’s clothes and hands would have kept him a foot or two away from any of the detectives assigned to watch over the work, though I have little doubt he was included in their conversations, being a gregarious man with a robust sense of humour.

Unsurprisingly he became fascinated with the case and eventually settled on a pet theory that had Harkness and Boxall involved in an Intelligence operation while both were working in Sydney.

There is no evidence to support Lawson’s hypothesis just as there is no evidence to suggest Jessica Harkness was ever a member of the Communist Party.

After having had a few conversations with Paul shortly before he died I can only say he easily surpassed my pedestrian imaginative powers with his own and his memories of those heady days were as clear as if they had happened yesterday, though even Stuart Littlemore couldn’t fox anything of a confidential nature out of Paul when he interviewed him years later.

And as far as having something in common with Paul, he was a champion grappler and I was an almost champion surfboard rider.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    “I wasn’t quite sure who they were referring to” So,it would seem that every girl that Alf met with, for a drink. gave him a copy of the ‘Rubaiyat’? And, Littlemore didn’t ask for her surname.

    February 6, 2022
    • Now here’s a thing, now that we’ve dealt with Cramer’s latest distraction … when Littlemore was handling Boxall’s Rubaiyat the signature ‘Jestyn’ was covered with a piece of tape, that’s one. When Charles Woolley interviewed Kate Thomson he didn’t ask her if her mother was known as Jestyn, that’s two. When Littlemore mentioned to Boxall that ‘she had signed the book’ he didn’t mention who the ‘she’ was, that’s three. When Feltus interviewed Jessica he didn’t ask her if she was known as Jestyn, that’s four. When he published his book he gave her a pseudonym, that’s five. Finally, when Littlemore asked Lawson if he remembered anybody who might have recognised the bust, meaning Jessica, Lawson shut up like a clam, that’s six.
      That’s a lot of protection for a woman of no great importance in the wider scheme of things, especially when you consider the protection lasted decades and not even the ratbag element of the Press broke the mafia-like code of silence.
      Some reckon that it was done to protect her from unwanted publicity, like the ever-retiring Chemist Freeman, but with all the attention Jessica received, starting from Detective Canney’s visit then her subsequent arrival at the museum with a handful of Detectives … and knowing that a squadroom of Detectives with their telephones, contacts and hangers-on is not the place where secrets are safely kept, a man is left wondering if the decades of silence was enforced in some official capacity.
      Know what I’m saying?

      February 7, 2022

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