Riverville Murder - Chapter 29

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Twenty Nine


Annie handed the contents to Scott, saying, “It’s a Cablegram -- glad I noticed it in your pocket.”

“It’s from Karl von Ropp at Interpol.  He says that Gerald Smyth has been recaptured in Nice, France. He was masquerading as a seaman and trying to get a job on a ship heading for the U.S.A. It seems he had poorly forged papers. A port official alerted the police, who, in turn, called Interpol.”

“Isn’t that good news! Mic will be so happy to know, Annie exclaimed. “He has been really uptight about it, thinking he might have to use his new gun if Smyth isn’t caught.”

“I’ll call him immediately, or would you rather call?” Scott asked.

“Oh, yes, let me call. I want to hear the joy in his voice, Annie replied. You can listen in.”

Scott lifted the phone in time to hear, “I have news for you, Michael. Gerald Smyth is back in jail.”

“Oh, come on, don’t kid me about that,” Mic responded.

“I’m not, Mic, honestly. A cable from Interpol came this morning. Mister Wadsworth is listening. I’ll let him tell you.”

“Hi, Mic, it’s true. Von Ropp sent the cable. It was slipped under the door before I came in. I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. Annie saw the envelope and asked me about it, so I opened it. In Nice, France, Smyth was playing at being a seaman, with a disguise and poorly forged papers -- was trying to ship out on a boat to the U.S. as a crewman. The cops grabbed him and turned him over to Interpol

The phone went silent for several seconds before Scott and Annie heard, “WHOOPIE, Scott, I haven’t heard such good news since you told me you were taking me to Boston.”

“Annie, we must celebrate tonight. Scott, Can you and Nancy join us? It’s on me.”

“I’ll let you know later today. I first have to ask her, you know,” Scott said.

After the call, Allan said, “Boss, you never did finish telling me the story of Mic.”

“Here it is briefly. Mic had a lousy family life due to a brutal father and left at an early age. Before Mic came to the U.S., he was, for years, a finagler and a hustler. He ran errands for Smyth for a fee, which often got him in trouble with the police. Whenever Smyth was a suspect in a crime, Mic would be questioned as well. After Mic came here, mostly to get out of Smyth’s clutches, He worked as a plumber part-time, a trade he started learning in England, and hustled dart games for money. He is highly skilled at the game.

“Enter Smyth. He was under suspicion of murdering Baron Alfred Kunz in Austria and stealing the gourd pipe. And here is where it gets complicated. It is believed that under a contract, Smyth lifted the very same pipe years before, from an Indian museum for Baron Alfred Kunz. The same man he is suspected of killing. Smyth evaded the police and Interpol and came to New York looking for a pipe collector wealthy enough to buy the pipe. He looked up Mic, and it started over again, wanting Mic to find the pipe collectors, offering him a cut of the sale, which he refused. Mic turned to one Lucky Ryan, a pipe smoker and collector. Also, an antique importer of questionable reputation with underworld connections. Ryan became obsessed with having the artifact and was heavy-handedly pressuring Mic.

How I came into the picture isn’t essential and quite complicated involving the FBI’s Boston office. Suffice it to say, Mic was important to Smyth’s apprehension, so I brought him to Boston for protection from Ryan’s thugs. Later, I recommended him to Swenson’s Plumbing. You know the rest.

“Wow, Boss. I’d never suspect a background like that, considering what Mitchell is today. Thanks, you’ve elevated my perception and respect for Mic.”

Later in the day, Annie brought mail and the newspaper to Scott, “I see there is a feature story on the Simmon,s Funeral. How did your theatrical production come off?” Annie asked with a touch of disdain in her voice.

“The funeral went exceptionally well. The music was beautiful, other than the bagpipes. They are, as bagpipes are, you like them, or you don’t. If nothing else, their music is stirring. The Simmons family handed the whole thing well, knowing Mark is safe in Riverville. I estimate a hundred or so police officers from all over New England were in military formation on the street. Callan was there at the front of the BPD group, not out of any compassion, I’m sure – probably wanted to see who went in.  I’ll bet he got to thinking when Allan and I walked into the church. Now I know you don't like the idea of a mock funeral – a religious thing, I guess. Please remember, Mark,s life is in danger until this case is over. Superficially ending that life with a funeral takes the threat away, or if doubts remain, to a minimum.”

Sheepishly, Annie said, “I know that in the back of my mind, but it still feels a bit uncivilized to me. I apologize for being sarcastic.”

Allan, sitting by the window drinking coffee, can feel the tension rising and hopes it doesn’t go further. He relaxes when Scott says with a smile, “It’s OK, Annie, we love you anyway.”

South Boston:

Outside the Italian Club, a block away and almost obscured by a hedge, Qualter, and Guatino sit in their car. Both wondering what Callan can be doing in there all this time.

“This is getting monotonous,” Guatino said. “He’s been there, apparently alone, for five and one-half hours.”

“This is what we get paid for. I wish we could get inside and find out or even look in some windows, but we have orders to just follow and keep a log.”

“Well, a couple of more days like this, and I think we should talk to Wadsworth.”

Callan finally left the club an hour later, and the two detectives followed him to his regular bar.

“Holy smoke!” Qualter complained. “I could do this with my eyes closed, from the club to the bar, and then to the restaurant and home. Doesn’t Callan have a life? Wait and see, I bet you lunch it’s the same tomorrow, only he’ll go to police headquarters instead of the club.”

“Don’t like the odds, Guatino replied.”

Another day at police headquarters and the next at the Italian Club, Callan held true to form. They decided to go to see Scott in the morning after Callan gets settled somewhere.

“What’s bothering you, Buck? You seemed upset when you called last night.”

“Like I mentioned, Callan is in a rut. He spends hours at the Italian Club, alone, it appears. Or at BPD headquarters. His routine never falters, and he has no social life.” Qualter stated. “ I was telling Al, I wish we could go in and find out what he is up to. It’s monotonous.”

“Detective work can be that way,” Scott replied, “but you have given me an idea.”

“Think about it,” Scott said after a little thought. “What does Callan get at the club – solitude. Why does he need privacy – to do paperwork or make calls pertaining to the gang.

“He does carry a briefcase, always,” Al Guatino said.

“Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll talk to Judge Millstone about a phone tap on the club’s phones. I feel confident he will give us a go. We might get some useful info. It’s also an opportunity to try out a new gadget from Salinger Radio Company – a tiny transmitter on the phone bug that works for a half-mile. No one needs to be in the building; just sit in your car with the receiver and listen while recording at the same time. The bug has a battery life of a week, and the receiver is rechargeable over-night. It is a slow-moving wire recorder good for twenty hours.”

“Where do you come up with this stuff, Boss?” Buck Qualter asked.

“Salinger is local and contributes to the state’s economy. They are very innovative and make top-quality radio equipment. After internal testing, Salinger does extensive field testing. We, bring a state agency, cooperate when possible.”

Arrangements were made with Salinger for the phone tap kit and training for Qualter and Guatino. The training took them away from Callan for three days, but everyone thought it worth it and would pay off in the long run.

After Salinger company training, Qualter and Guatino resumed tailing Callan with renewed enthusiasm and as boys with a new toy. On the third day of Callan’s habitual movements, he went to the Italian Club immediately after breakfast. An hour or so later, the light on the receiver started blinking, telling the detectives that a call is in progress. The detectives listened intently to a conversation between Callan and Alice Nadeau.

When the conversation ended, Qualter asked, “Did you understand any of that?”

“Only that they were talking about money, Guatino answered. Nadeau didn’t want to go that far out on a limb. Did they discuss the purpose of the money?”

“Not that I heard, but I didn’t understand much beyond the money. Later, after we get Callan to his favorite bar, we’ll take it to the Chief  Investigator, Wadsworth.” Qualter said. “Call him and let him know when we are coming.”

At the office, it didn’t take long for Al Guatino to acquaint Annie with the play-back features of the Salinger wire recorder and explaining its relationship to the telephone bug. Annie plugged in the earphones, started transcribing the words in shorthand. Then, typed six pages and took them to Scott in a titled folder.

“Thank you, Annie; quick job!”

“It could have been faster if I typed directly from the recording, but wanted to be sure I had it all as it was spoken..”

“Laudable, Annie. I just might start using that Dictaphone you’ve been after me to use for months.

Annie threw up her arms in resignation and swiftly returned to the outer office.

“Buck, you men come to the statehouse in the morning. I’ll take the evening to analyze these, and tomorrow we can decide to change our plan or continue on for more captured phone conversations.

That evening, Scott studied the transcript, reading it over several times, and had Nancy look at it. Conferring, both arrived at the same conclusion. Scott returned the papers to his briefcase and tried to get Alice Nadeau off his mind for the rest of the evening.

In the morning, at the statehouse, Scott reread the transcript, coming to the same conclusion.

Qualter and Guatino arrived at nine-thirty and quietly sat opposite Scott.

Scot told them, “I’m quite anxious to see what Alice Nadeau will tell us. I thought about approaching her with this transcription. But there isn’t anything in it other than a discussion concerning the amount of money Callan wants, not one word referring to the money’s use. I don’t want to put her off. She is a strong, self-minded woman who might tell me to go to hell and walk away.”

“So, what’s next, Boss?”, Qualter asked.

“Continue your surveillance of Callan and recording phone calls. Keep a log of all who meet with him. I gave you the names associated with the license numbers, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Sir, we have them,”  Guatino offered.” We’ll be off then. I think we can pick up Callan at his breakfast place.”

Matt Hart, after discussing the transcript with Scott, commented. “You did right. Nothing is incriminating here. Best to continue on. Either the phone calls will divulge something of what Callan and Nadeau are up to, or we will have to wait until she tells us. In the meantime, let’s concentrate on bagging the lieutenants. At least that will retard efforts to rebuild the “C” Street gang. To arrest Callan, we will need solid evidence of his association with Goddard and the gang.”

“You are absolutely correct,” Scott agreed.  “I suppose the trials for the gang members are well underway by now. I’ve been watching the newspapers but haven’t seen a word about them. Have you heard anything?” 

“Not a peep, Matt replied. “That doesn’t surprise me one bit, however. Considering the international flavor of the case and the ramifications it can have overseas, The federal court, more than likely, put a news blackout on the trials.”

“That seems logical. The entire thing, starting with the murder of Clarence Anderson, an ATF agent, and the assault on Kelly Adams, has been intertwined with IRA support and illegal arms sales to a foreign customer. Since Frank Sullivan told me what he is and what he found out as an undercover Interpol Inspector, I’ve concentrated on Massachusetts state matter. With the arrest of Albert Nunsay for that murder, federal issues are just a curiosity. Court results and how our state efforts helped will be interesting to know,” Scott recounted.

That afternoon, Frank Sullivan, his testifying duties in federal court over, deplanes in Boston at two o’clock and takes a taxi to Charles Street South. Approaching Scott’s Building, Sullivan spots Scott and Allan entering and shouts, You, Scott Wadsworth, wait-up.”

Scott turns and is surprised to see Sullivan moving quickly toward him, his hand extended in greeting.

“Inspector! It’s good to see you again. Are you through at New York Federal Court? Sorry, excuse my rudeness. Please come with me to my office.”

“No apology necessary, Sullivan said as he throws an arm over Allan’s shoulder. “And how about this young man? How are you doing, Boy? Is your boss treating you well?

“The best, Inspector. How about you? How is it to be back in the states?”

“OK, plenty of time for talk,” Scott interrupts as he pushes the elevator’s call button. “Let’s get upstairs. It hasn’t been healthy for me to dally in public.”

So, Inspector, How did the trials go,” Scott asked when they were all settled in Scott’s office.

“It’s Frank, please. I can’t speak for all of them, although I did sit in on James Hurley’s and Albert Nunsay’s trials. And those for which I was called, namely, Alfred J. Connors and the Global Mortgage and Loan Company and Nathan Goddard. Naturally, this being an on-going case, I was admonished not to talk to the press. But then, you are not the press, and I’m sure you will not repeat what I say, Sullivan explained.

“Hurley was convicted on the gun-running charge and money laundering, but rather than sentencing him, he was ordered deported to Ireland. Racketeering charges are at the discretion of this state, but I think they will want to save the cost of a trial and get rid of him. I’m only sorry I won’t be there to meet him as he gets off the plane and present him with charges against Ireland.”

“Nunsay was convicted on the murder of Clarence Anderson, the ATF Agent. And attempted murder of Martin Wolfe, undercover ATF Agent. Alfred J. Connors and the Global Mortgage and Loan Company were jointly convicted on international money laundering and aiding and abetting the selling of firearms to a foreign entity. He’ll be sentenced in a week or so. Other charges brought by the IRS and the Treasury Department are pending. It looks as if he will be away for life. All of his crimes require long sentences. New York state has withdrawn pending litigation against him.

“Nathan Goddard, now there is a character for you. All through the trial, he vehemently denied any knowledge of the murder of Clarence Anderson and the attempt on Martin Wolfe. The jury didn’t buy it for a minute. Being the master of two gangs, Goddard was also charged with complicity in federal crimes committed by those under his control – he even had to testify at Nunsay and Hurley's trials. He, too, is in for life. What the state of Massachusetts does, at this time anyway, is anyone’s guess. You would know better than I what will happen here with the case still open.”

“I really don’t know. I submit reports and talk to the State’s Attorney, but I’m not in on what he and the D.A. discuss. Things will get much clearer when Callan and the remaining gang lieutenants are brought in. We are rigorously attempting to gather enough evidence for solid arrests.”

Sullivan followed up with, “There is little doubt you are doing a splendid job. A lot has transpired to aid your country and mine since I left the envelope at your home. Although I work for Interpol, The work is primarily for the Republic of Ireland, maintaining international law.”

“What are you working on presently?” Scott asked.

“When I get home, I’ll concentrate on bringing to justice Gus Malone, the top Provo. A considerable amount of documented evidence against him came out at the New York trials. I’ll use what I can to get him – might need some help from the Brits up there in the North. In the meantime, with the cooperation of the Homeland Police, I’ll work at getting Hurley sent down.”

Good luck with whatever you do, Frank. There is no describing the value of the information you gave me. Without it, we could not possibly be where we are in this case. The one thing slowing us down is confirming that Captain Claud Callan, BPD, is, in fact, an advisor/informant to Goddard. At this time, we are gathering information concerning him and three top men recruiting new thugs to bring the C Street Gang back to full power. At which time, we would expect Callan to replace Goddard. The Commonwealth can not allow that to happen.”

Sullivan turned to Allan, “And I suppose you are a big part of this, young man.”

“As Much as possible,” Allan proclaimed. During the years I have been the Chief Investigator’s driver, I have learned an immeasurable amount about police work, things never explained at the academy.”

“He’s modest, Frank. Sergeant Allan Rockford is a fine officer. One doesn't attain that rank easily, and I’m happy I selected him for the job. Recently I was shot at in front of the Federal Court. Allan and another officer immediately left the vehicle, weapons at the ready, to protect me – rushed to a building across the street and collected evidence the shooter left behind. Unfortunately, the shooter was no longer there. He is a valuable, easy-going, and pleasant companion and often realizes things about people or a case that I fail to see.”

“With those virtues, Allan, What are your ambitions as a police officer?” Sullivan asked.

Laughing, Allan replied, “State Police Commissioner, Mister Sullivan, what else?. Actually, I’ll let time, and Mister Wadsworth, decide my future. Until then, I’ll happily do this job.”

Sullivan smiled broadly while removing a pipe from his suit pocket. Scott slid his glass humidor across the desk, gesturing for Frank to help himself. “How long will you be in Boston, Frank?”

“Sorry to say, I have a flight booked for London at eleven tonight. I would like to stay on as a tourist. Boston is a historic and fascinating city. However, too much is waiting for me in Dublin. Perhaps another time.”

“Then let me show you at least one of  Boston’s splendors. It’s close to closing, so let’s head for the Parker House for a couple of drinks, some dinner, good conversation, and then we’ll take you to the airport. Where is your luggage?”

“In a locker at British Airways terminal,” Sullivan answered. “I took the time to take it there before looking you up.”

Qualter called before the three left for the Parker House. “Where will you be in the morning, Boss? There are conversations on the recorder you will want to hear. Things are popping, and I think you will soon be hearing from Alice Nadeau. These conversations will give you a jump on her. We’ll be there at eight o’clock if you like.”

“At my law office,” Scott answered. “Eight o’clock is fine.”


Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired. Oh, and in case you didn't notice.... he's a pipe smoker too.

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2020
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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