But first, my apologies to the Armchair Squid and the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. I was supposed to post about a book I read in November but traveling and the holiday got in my way. I promise to make up for it with December's post!
And now for our mystery...
On December 1, 1948, a man’s body was found on a beach in Australia. He had no identification,was dressed in a suit with the
labels deliberately cut off, and apparently dies as a result of poison - except that no
poisons were found in the man’s system.
The first clue to the man came when a suitcase was found at a nearby train station which had been checked in the same night the mystery man died. Unfortunately, all the items in the suitcase were without labels as well. The second clue discovered was a hidden pocket in the man's pants with a piece of paper which said "Tamam Shud" ( the phrase means "ending" in Persian - in transliteration, the “n” became a second “m.”). A photo of the piece of paper was released to the public, which led a man to come forward and relate how he happened to find a very rare first edition copy of The Rubaiyat in a car the night before the mystery man was killed. On the back was a cipher (pictured above) and in the front a phone number belonging to a former nurse. She had a small child and was recently married and somehow convinced the police to keep her name secret. She claimed to have given the book to a man named Albert Boxall but when the police located Mr. Boxall, he showed them the book with the phrase “Tamam Shud” still intact.
To date, the identity of the mystery man remains unknown, as does the
meaning, if any, of the cipher. To read a full account of this case go here.