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The Unknown Man: A Suspicious Death at Somerton Beach (2010)

by Gerald Michael Feltus

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1121,416,616 (4.17)None
On the 1st of December 1948, the body of a man was found on Somerton Beach in South Australia. No identification documents were located and the name tags had been removed from his clothing. A validated bus ticket in his possession indicated he had travelled from the Adelaide Railway Station to his final destination the previous day.During the Coronial Inquest, suspicions were raised that his death had been caused by an unknown poison. At the hearing a small rolled up piece of torn paper with the words 'Tamam Shud' was located in a fob pocket of the trousers he had been wearing. It was established these words had been torn from the last page of a copy of 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam'.As a result of intense media coverage a copy of the book with the words 'Tamam Shud' torn out was handed to the police. It had been found in an unlocked car near where the body was located, and during the relevant period. The tearing matched.A series of letters written on the rear of the book and coined as a 'Code' by the media, brought to the fore the spy theory. Also written on the book was a telephone number that was traced to a Sydney nurse who had moved to South Australia, and was living a short distance from where the body was found. Was the 'Unknown Man' known to the nurse?The 'code' has baffled followers of the 'Unknown Man' story for over 60 years. This book will entrap a new generation of detectives.'Poisoned' in SA - was he a red spy?One of the most baffling mysteries in South Australia.… (more)
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Just the facts. Only the facts. A retired Australian detective has done us all the favor of compiling all the official police narrative evidence of the "Tamam Shud" case into one handy volume and I am completely thankful for it. Yes, there is certainly a lack of engaging narrative, but Feltus sets that police procedure tone right off the bat and makes no apologies for it. Every so often he will slip into his own opinion, but he clearly states this in the text. One of the most solid and interesting moment for those who know the case, is when Feltus states that he believes the "nurse" knew the unknown man. That convinces me as well. One should know what they are getting into when reading this book, it is a small press and clearly for a niche group of readers, if not I am sure one would rate it lower. I however found the police procedure type approach to be refreshing and convincing. Great background on the point in post WW II history for Australia as well in regards to the world arena and uranium and other spy stuff. ( )
  noblechicken | May 10, 2018 |
The Taman Shud case, whereby a dead man is found on a beach with no identification and nearly seventy years later, he still doesn't have an identity or even a definite cause of death, is one of the most compelling mysteries in a world full of them. Until recently it's also been an obscure mystery, even in South Australia, so it has taken over 60 years before the first book has been released on the case.

Sadly, while "The Unknown Man" has been written by a police officer who worked on the case over the years, it's an underwhelming affair. The facts are there, with a few minor errors, and the uber baffling details and possibilities that keep leading to dead ends make this my "favourite" mystery of all time. I just hope someone writes a really gripping account of the case. ( )
1 vote MiaCulpa | Feb 6, 2015 |
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This book is dedicated to the members of the South Australian, national and international law enforcement agencies, other official organisations, the media and the public, who directly or indirectly over time have contributed greatly to the very frustrating investigation in the identity of The Unknown Man. Despite their commendable efforts, most of the participants have died without his identity being established.
First words
On the last day of spring 1948 a stranger at the Adelaide Railway station purchased a train ticket to Henley Beach and booked his suitcase into the Cloak Room.
Quotations
An unknown man on a beach to die.
A rejected admirer or expendable spy?
The mystery potion supplied by another or thee.
The answers known only to you, or a few, but not me.

Gerald (Gerry) Feltus
2010
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On the 1st of December 1948, the body of a man was found on Somerton Beach in South Australia. No identification documents were located and the name tags had been removed from his clothing. A validated bus ticket in his possession indicated he had travelled from the Adelaide Railway Station to his final destination the previous day.During the Coronial Inquest, suspicions were raised that his death had been caused by an unknown poison. At the hearing a small rolled up piece of torn paper with the words 'Tamam Shud' was located in a fob pocket of the trousers he had been wearing. It was established these words had been torn from the last page of a copy of 'The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam'.As a result of intense media coverage a copy of the book with the words 'Tamam Shud' torn out was handed to the police. It had been found in an unlocked car near where the body was located, and during the relevant period. The tearing matched.A series of letters written on the rear of the book and coined as a 'Code' by the media, brought to the fore the spy theory. Also written on the book was a telephone number that was traced to a Sydney nurse who had moved to South Australia, and was living a short distance from where the body was found. Was the 'Unknown Man' known to the nurse?The 'code' has baffled followers of the 'Unknown Man' story for over 60 years. This book will entrap a new generation of detectives.'Poisoned' in SA - was he a red spy?One of the most baffling mysteries in South Australia.

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