The ‘Other’ Phone Number.
Littlemore: “Chief Inspector, you said there were two ‘phone numbers in – in the book.”
Littlemore: “What about the other one.”
Brown: “The other one – er was of er – business premises and we were not able to trace or find any person that had -er spoken to the deceased person. Um – we were satisfied that er- this was just probably noted down in a – in a general way that any -er ordinary person would note the ‘phone number down.”
Littlemore: ” But not necessarily so satisfied about the first one.”
In Gerry Feltus’ book ‘The Unknown Man’ he writes that there was mention of another phone number(s) written on the back of the Rubaiyat but goes on to say he had seen no evidence of them. Feltus also makes no mention of DS Leane or any other detective following up the other number despite Brown’s response, saying there was.
The Somerton Man was not ‘an ordinary person’ as Brown intimated as everything do with him was subjected to a painstaking analysis: his clothes, possessions, tools, fingernails, cigarettes, calves, skin, genitals, teeth, fingers, hands, feet, underwear, thighs, shoes, shirts and ties, the code, his brain, stomach contents, hair, pencils and envelopes – everything but the other phone number, the one Feltus found no evidence of, the one Brown was happy to write off as irrelevant.
Irrelevant? The police spent months trying to track down who the Somerton Man was, how he travelled to Adelaide, who he might have seen and if he had any connections in the city.
And here they had a slam dunk connection. A local phone number unaccountably deemed irrelevant by the investigating police despite their not being able to find and interview who it was the Somerton Man wished to talk to or why, leaving us to wonder what made them decide to walk away – unless the decision was made for them.
Because no mention has ever been made of the type of business Brown said was linked to the other phone number or the police who were unable to trace or find who may have spoken to the Somerton Man. Was it Detective Canney? Detective Inspector Brown himself? Detective Sergeant Leane?
Not a whisper. Nothing in print.
Making this look like an unwritten chapter in the true story of The Somerton Man.
We don’t know the telephone number of this ‘business.’
We don’t know its name.
We don’t know its address, assuming that’s where the police went in their search for someone who may have spoken to TSM.
We don’t know who was tasked with interviewing the employees of this business and we don’t know what the employees did.
We don’t know what the business did.
We don’t know if the ‘business’ was a private concern or something more on the official side.
And we don’t know why Gerry Feltus was unable to unearth the information Len Brown was privy to, or why Brown kept it from him.
Which might make this other ‘phone number the missing link in understanding why The Somerton Man was in Adelaide.
Either that or trust Detective Inspector Brown’s word that the phone number was irrelevant despite being written on the back of a Rubaiyat together with an undeciphered code and the phone number of a woman thought to be involved in the possible murder of the writer.