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The question nobody has asked ..

We’ve all been around this mystery for a long time, flicking from site to site though mostly for entertainment’s sake: the problem being most readers haven’t read Feltus’ book or the inquest papers so all they have is what they’ve been told by a disparate and ever-diminishing group of bloggers. Last count there were only two of us.

Given that, it’s not surprising someone has yet to ask the question that nobody has yet to ask, which shouldn’t be the case because it’s a BIG QUESTION.

Here we have two spies engaged in determining each others’ identity by reconciling the shape and size of the Tamam Shud slip with the hole in the last page of the Freeman Rubaiyat, remembering Feltus was told by a reliable source that they fitted each other perfectly. That’s crucial here.

OK so far? Good.

Then some unknown variety of shit hit the fan and Spy number 1 with the slip laid down and died somewhere other than where he was found because we all know lividity doesn’t lie and the reported story is that he was carried away from wherever he died and was propped up by the Childrens’ Home steps.

But what about the other bloke? Where he?

Nobody seriously thinks Prosper was strong enough to carry the dead man on his shoulders along a sandy stretch of beach late at night: George was a grifter, not a lifter.

So who was the carryer?

I’m promoting him as the bloke with the book, Spy number 2. He was in the vicinity, up to no good, wary of any official involvement of Spy 1’s death and who knows, probably a witness to whatever went down if not the cause of it because these blokes switched sides like we do jocks, about once a week, longer if you’re an Englishman.

So, the body is set down, propped up against the wall then Spy 2 is up the stairs like a rat up a drainpipe but halfway down the street he remembers he still has the Rubaiyat in his pocket.

Yikes !!

That’s when it gets dumped, pronto, and remember some towns didn’t have a lot of public waste bins in the streets back in those days and it wouldn’t have been a good look for our man to be wandering up and down Main Street Glenelg in the dark looking for an open drain with time being of such an essence  … so into the back of the first unlocked car he can find it goes. Job done. Home free.

Now for the big question.

Why did Spy 2 chuck the Rubaiyat away when it’s widely thought he was the one who wrote Sister Jessica Thomson’s phone number on the back? The bloke was probably a trained man, adept, multi-lingual, familiar with knives guns and explosives. A man of many identities, good looking, suave. Would he have done that? Incriminated her? Given the game away?

As an aside and to lessen the tension, Gordon Cramer is of the firm opinion that the phone number in question is hidden microscopically in the smudge situated in the upper right corner but it’s only visible with a magnifying glass after being turned upside down, or something … so, we’re thinking what was Spy 2’s problem? Me, I’m thinking what’s Gordon Cramer’s problem.

Back to it.

Perhaps the reason Spy 2 didn’t know the phone number was written on the back of the book was because it wasn’t him who wrote it  …

and it wasn’t bought for him second-hand by young Jessica T. either because being a smart young woman involved in a shifty spy caper, she thought the seller might remember her buying it, if the book ever came to light and was connected to Spy 1’s death.

No sir, the Rubaiyat wasn’t bought second-hand by Jessica T as it was hers in the first place because being new in town with a small boy demanding her attention and the phone ringing every five minutes with blokes wanting to buy or sell cars, limos, watches, trips to a broken Hill, rifles and whatever else old Prosper was laying his hands on she wrote it down on the back of the book as a reminder when the number was first given her. Probably kept it in her handbag.

You know it makes sense.

28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    So, Spy #2 realizing he still had the Rubaiyat in his pocket, and, wanting to get rid of it asap, hurries down Moseley St and calls at 90A. Jessie answers the door and tells Spy # 2 that Prosper is on his way home and tells Spy #2 to get rid of the Rubaiyat at all costs. How he does it, she’s not bothered, but dump it. Jessie shuts the door in his face, she doesn’t want anything more to do with this matter. Spy#2 walks towards Jetty Road and casually tosses the Rubaiyat into the first car with an open window. A few minutes, after Jessie shut the door, she suddenly remembers that her telephone number is on the cover of the Rubaiyat, she cannot leave the house with Robin, as Prosper is due anytime. So, she has no idea what happened to the Rubaiyat, until a certain Detective, months later, contacted her.

    June 1, 2022
  2. The Sly Dog #

    The code letters are widely accepted as being indented into the back cover of the book, the result of someone using the book to rest a piece of paper on when writing those letters with a sharp pen / pencil… this could have happened days, weeks, months… who knows, before being left in Freeman’s car, c. 30th Nov 1948. We can see those letters as a photograph of the cover was marked up with ink after they were identified by SA Police detectives, and re-photographed for circulation – still doing the rounds today. The phone numbers; no where to be seen, discreetly covered. Took DS Leane with his magnifying glass to confirm these were also indeed on the back cover, small in size but definitely not micro. There is no evidence to infer that these were written at the same time the letters where indented or even by the same person who left those indents. Nothing to definitely say the letters or phone numbers were even left on the back cover by the person who had possession of the book on that fateful nite before it was discarded. Our suave, hardened covert operator may not have be so suave or hardened (who ever it was) and did not realize those indents & phone numbers, were actually on the back cover…

    June 2, 2022
  3. The Sly Dog #

    So… the person who dumped the book, not a skilled spy with poise and smarts, could have been an actual grifter, an opportunistic thief who at some point before dawn emptied TSM of his more valuable possessions (wallet, watch, book of poems, hat?) while walking along the foreshore heading towards Glenelg and discarded the ‘worthless’ book into Freeman’s car when passing through Jetty Rd. A question: when would the chemist be most likely to be parked outside his business on Jetty Rd outside on normal business hours? Late In the nite or closer to the crack of dawn?? I do not recall the Freeman’s living above or behind the chemist store.

    June 2, 2022
    • Who knocks off a hat? And nobody mentioned him having a tide mark caused by wearing a watch, the autopsy would have found that. The book too wasn’t likely to be boosted as it wasn’t worth anything. Freeman’s car parked by his shop late at night? Who knows, nobody asked him why so.

      June 2, 2022
  4. The Sly Dog #

    In the dark down on the beach before dawn, an opportunistic thief might lift the items that seem valuable… including a book of poems. Dump the items they assess as worthless once in a better spot to go over the loot. Yeah, a hat was a stretch but as for the the watch tan, his legs were well tanned but his upper body or arms were noted as not. If TSM was a habitual watch wearer there would be no discernible tanned tide mark.
    As for Mr Freeman, what would make mores sense / raise less suspicion for being parked near his place of work outside business hours? I would reckon being there early morning fits the timeline.

    June 2, 2022
    • Don’t buy the opportunistic thief routine, but Freeman being an early starter at his pharmacy sounds good.

      June 2, 2022
      • Plus, any thief worth the name would have boosted his smokes, whether to use or sell.

        June 2, 2022
  5. Clive #

    Well, if no wristwatch, perhaps he had a fob watch, which a possible thief took a fancy to and pawned it? Not too many questions asked at the pawnbrokers I would imagine, business is business.

    June 2, 2022
    • According to Cleland the pocket was small and on the secret side, probably not suited to a bulky fob watch.

      June 2, 2022
  6. The Sly Dog #

    I still can not reconcile the phone number written being solely attributed to the demure Nurse Jessie. I just can’t.
    If D Canney went to 90A MSTG and PMcTT answered the door, how would that change our conversations about this today?
    I truly think the focus on the nurse has been driven by the early work and pursuits of the Professor. I once asked him a question in an open public forum why there was absolutely no record or reference to PMcTT being questioned by SA Police in relation to this case. His response was a complete deflection; maybe he was away on business, he was frequently travelling for his work. The fact that there was no follow up by SA Police when the big man of the house returned just stinks. Even the impassioned pleas by the nurse for anonymity and for the cops not to involve her said-husband in the matter should have been a red flag to a bull!!
    If a full grown strong looking man winds up dead under increasingly mysterious circumstances, with links (the phone number) to a couple living happily in a domestic relationship close by, me thinks straight away about the current statistics on domestic violence, and how it may have perhaps been worse 70 years ago: man has issue with other man, bad happens – one man ends up dead is far more likely that woman has issue with man, bad happens – one man ends up dead.

    June 2, 2022
    • The problem there is that we have empty air about McTag’s whereabouts at the time. The other problem is as you say, did the police ask about him? If they did it must have been off record as Feltus would have found a mention …

      But it doesn’t explain the TS and Rubaiyat link. How could you put that together if MCT was involved?

      June 2, 2022
  7. The Sly Dog #

    But it is also empty air for the whereabouts of the nurse, other than the day D Canney popped past and we know she was home. I think we all assume she was pretty much always home at 90A MSTG tending to baby Robin, perhaps running quick errands to the shops, answering the phone.
    I think it is plausible that the TS, or more likely the Rubaiyat with the TS removed, was a symbolic present being delivered with the intended message; live life to the full, we don’t know when our gig is up, yadda yadda, yadda AND you and I are not finished. I desperately don’t want this to be some soppy matter of the heart. Neither did PMcTT.

    June 2, 2022
    • Symbolic present … not with you on that angle Dogger, what are we looking at, a Barbara Cartland plot? Bodice ripper stuff?

      June 2, 2022
  8. The Sly Dog #

    The book is the gift with The End symbolically removed. There is no Taman shud. The present giver saying to the present receiver that you and I are everything mentioned in these poems AND we are not finished, in a discreet kind of way. A message to a enthusiast of the Rubaiyat!
    I really do wish this was all somehow something out of the KGB hand book… but smells more like Mills and Boon?

    June 2, 2022
    • You’re a lover, Sdog, and that’s a good yarn ..

      June 2, 2022
  9. The Sly Dog #

    But it’s not THE good yarn I would prefer. I want it to be international spies or links to emerging organised crime i and around Adelaide. I just can’t place the nurse as some well trained covert agent. Spilled her guts to D Canney about Alf and the Rubaiyat she gifted him, served him up in a plate. Could be a devious diversion tactic, but sounds like nervous verbal diarrhoea in presence of a cop. And almost fainting at the sight of the bust, not the composure of a covert operator.
    Isn’t it recorded that back in Sydney she was so upset and distraught that she was about to throw herself off a cliff only to be talked down and rescued by PMcTT? Her knight in shining armor?? St George hisself, she called him George, her saviour who wasready to defend her and slay any Dragon or whoever it was that attempted to harm or upset from that point on…

    June 3, 2022
    • She didn’t necessarily have to be well trained, all the Communists needed in those days were devoted political followers, members of the CPA, couriers, drop off volunteers, listeners, watchers, people with the ability and position to knock off restricted correspondence, others who would vacate their homes if needed for a day or night, statistic gatherers, journalists, politicians, lower paid staff in the armaments industry, clerks in banks, nurses with an agenda … a smorgasbord to choose from.

      June 3, 2022
  10. Clive #

    And, working in the RNSH with servicemen recovering, an ideal place to note idle chatter/information regarding the war to interested parties?

    June 3, 2022
  11. The Sly Dog #

    Yep yep, with a hierarchy from the wannabes and many minions right up to the mighty puppet masters… everyone has their allocated and isolated role to play. Strictly controlled and finely filtered.
    So if there is such an important rendezvous in play on the 30th Nov 1948 that results in one spy dead how is it a low level, under trained operative (the nurse), who blabs to the cops and almost faints at the ghastly sight of a plaster bust, right there in the thick of it?

    June 3, 2022
    • She knew one of them … the dead one. My view is that she met him while playing her in and out part in the plot as her home was the centre of this particular universe. The body. The slip. The book.

      June 3, 2022
  12. The Sly Dog #

    If 90A is central to the universe how is it old PMcMTT is just a grifter and not a commie lifter??

    June 3, 2022
    • No money in it, dogger, McTag was a man of opportunity, not politics.

      June 3, 2022
  13. The Sly Dog #

    Just a passive observer of the little lady playing a dangerous game?

    June 3, 2022
  14. Depends on how long she was playing it when with him. Perhaps just this once.

    June 3, 2022
  15. The sly dog #

    The beauty of this whole thing being nothing to do with international spies or domestic organised mafioso is two fold:
    1) Mr Micro code’s whole storyline is a redundant mute point not even worth wasting thought or breath on, and
    2) the professor is left with a very public expose of a possible incestuous family heritage that was discretely covered up back in the day.

    June 3, 2022

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