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The Living Legend
Book 4 - The Investigator


THE BIG SNOWS had come only that morning, Christmas Day. All along the Yukon River snow was steadily falling. It humped on the shoulders of the mountains. It shrouded the forest. It buried the tents along the gold-rich creeks to the north in the Klondike and was trampled to slush on the board walks of Dawson, that crowded, fevered center for the world's last great gold rush. It was the closing week of the nineteenth century.

In a low, log police post on the river trail south of Dawson, three men sat down to Christmas dinner, two wood-choppers and a corporal of the North-West Mounted Police. A fourth place had been set but it was empty.

The Mountie, Paddy Ryan, was a gay host. The men did not think of the missing guest again until nightfall, when a woodchopper, leaving, said, "I wonder what happened to Ole?"

The Mountie felt a momentary disquiet. The missing man, Lawrence "Ole" Olsen, was a close friend. Olsen was a repairman for the government telegraph line, a single wire strung from tree to tree along the river trail. He had stopped at Ryan's post at Hutchiku two days before and had promised to be back for Christmas dinner. Ryan shrugged away his apprehensions. "You know how it is. He probably started drinking up the line."

Two days later Constable Frank Bacon stamped into the post. He came from Five Fingers Rapids, eighteen miles south. "Paddy," he said, "where the devil is Ole? The line's down again."

"I guess he's nursing a hangover down at Minto," Ryan said. Minto lay fourteen miles north. "You can tell the Five Fingers operator I'm on my way to get him."

An hour out on* the trail, Corporal Ryan and his dog driver stopped to swap news with two south-bound travelers. Ryan described the missing lineman, a burly good-natured Norwegian. The travelers had not seen him at Minto.

Ryan began to worry. A break in the line could be dangerous. The great gold camp drew desperados from all over the globe, and with the snow, miners and businessmen bound for outside would be traveling south from Dawson to the ocean port of Skagway, their pouches heavy with gold dust and cash. When the telegraph key fell silent it isolated the Mounted Police posts strung thinly along the six hundred miles of trail, left them in ignorance of passing thieves and crimes committed downriver. It was not like Olsen, a conscientious man, to neglect his job.

Ryan left his driver and the dogs on the river ice and began to search along the telegraph line. He labored up the steep bluffs, testing each snow-covered hummock. It was rough country. Olsen might have broken a leg. He could be lying frozen, drifted over with snow.

At dusk, six miles north of Hutchiku, they swung onto the Pork Trail, a cutoff that skirted several bends in the river. They wound through darkening forest, Ryan studying the trail.

"Hold it!" he said suddenly. He had caught an almost imperceptible sagging in the snow, a faint furrow running off at right angles into the woods.

With the darkness the cold had increased. The dog driver spat; it crackled. "We'd better get on into Minto," he said.

Ryan hesitated. "Let's see where this goes first."

The snowed-over trail led through willow thickets that gave way to tall spruce trees. Beyond them the silence was absolute, lifeless. No bird, no creature stirred in the underbrush. They broke into a clearing. Through the shadowless dusk they could make out the silhouette of a tent.

Coming closer, they saw that this was no overnight camp. The canvas roofed a rectangle of peeled logs. Frost glittered dimly in the dark empty interior.

Ryan peered in the stove. "Looks like someone was here a couple of days ago. I don't like it. Why would anyone camp out here, half a mile back in the bush?"

"He didn't want to be seen, that's sure," the dog driver said. "Maybe you can find out at Minto."

The roadhouse at Minto was run by a rawboned river pilot, Captain John Fussell. His wife doubled as hostess and cook. They were dismayed when Ryan announced that he was looking for Olsen.

"Why, Mr. Olsen left here Christmas morning at eight o'clock," Mrs. Fussell told him. "I asked him to stay and have turkey dinner with us but he was bound he'd spend Christmas with you. He had two nice American boys with him, Fred Clayson and Jim Relfe. They were going outside to see their folks and were anxious to get on. I do hope nothing's happened to them."

"They may have changed their minds and stayed at some woodchopper's camp," Captain Fussell said reassuringly.

"Maybe," Ryan said without conviction. Three men traveling together pretty well ruled out an accident. He knew Relfe, a quiet-spoken lad from Washington state; his father, a prominent judge, had recently died and young Relfe, who'd kept bar at Dawson's Monte Carlo saloon, had gone out on the diggings to win a stake for the family. Clayson was well known, a stout jolly balding man, head of F. H. Clayson & Company, prosperous Skagway merchants. None of the men were greenhorns; they wouldn't lose the trail. "Were they carrying much money?" Ryan asked the Captain.

"Clayson's poke was heavy. He's been up in the Klondike buying gold. Young Relfe was carrying cash, about twelve hundred dollars. But good lord, Paddy — broad daylight on Christmas morning? I'd say it's more likely they went through the ice."

"There's only two places the river's open between here and Hutchiku, and they're both off the trail," Ryan said. The image of the deserted tent clung disturbingly to his mind. "Sure you've seen no strangers hanging around, Captain?"

Captain Fussell was thoughtful. "Well . . . now you mention it. You know how the sun came out day before yesterday, first time in a long time? I came out front to watch it and I saw smoke from a campfire. It looked to be coming from somewhere near the Pork Trail."

Early in the morning, Ryan and the dog driver went back down the Pork Trail through the woods to the clearing. No one had been back to the tent in the night. In the somber grayness of morning the tent seemed even more inexplicable, more real, more menacing.

They kindled a fire in the stove, made of two oil tins, and looked around. There were blankets on the double bunk. A rifle hung from the ridgepole. Cases of canned food were piled in one corner. Beneath a sack of spilled pilot biscuits Ryan found a pair of pliers. "My God!" he exclaimed. "Olsen had pliers like these!"

He examined the food. It looked like goods from McKay Brothers' cache, only a mile away. Several scows hauling merchandise had been caught in the ice at freeze-up. The goods had been cached, and although the Mounties had checked them regularly, several caches had been rifled. At Fort Selkirk, the first post north of Minto, Constable Alex Pennycuick was working on the case. Ryan wired him to come down. By now, another lineman had repaired the telegraph wire.

Pennycuick had been an Imperial Army officer and his trim figure still carried a touch of swagger. He talked little, seldom smiled, his gray eyes were cool and he held his head a little forward as if he was seeking something continually beyond him. He was only happy, he sometimes admitted, when working on a problem he could not solve.

Pennycuick examined the tent with Ryan on January 4. "I can swear to that stove," he told Ryan. "Never saw one with two draught holes before. The first hole wasn't big enough — somebody's punched a second one overtop. See how they overlap, like a figure eight? I saw that stove three weeks ago at a camp up my way. Two men who call themselves Miller and Ross and a big yellow St. Bernard dog. I caught them peddling supplies to the Beef Cache road-house. I checked my cache list afterward. Their stuff was stolen all right. When I got back with a warrant they were gone."

"You figure they moved up here?"

"Whoever lived here was certainly hiding out. Did you notice the wire around that spruce at the back — very handy for fastening a dog chain, wouldn't you say?" He fingered the edge of the canvas top. "Look, Paddy. This hasn't been cut — it's torn!"

Next day the two policemen fitted the torn piece of canvas to the edge of a bolt they dug from the ice at McKay Brothers' cache. It matched.

"How do you size these two up?" Ryan asked.

"Ross is a cockney. Short. Long arms. Body thick as an ape. Miller's the brains. Another Englishman, sorry to say. One of those chaps that thinks the world owes them a living. Around thirty, five-toot-ten, very sure of himself."

"Do you think he's a killer?"

"I wouldn't say no. There's a scar on his left little finger — I'll wager he got it in a knife fight. The mail driver tells me in Dawson they think the boys went through the ice.

"What do they know about it in Dawson?" Ryan said.

"I think you're right," said Pennycuick. "I think the tent ties in. We'd better wire in a description of Miller and Ross. This is January 5. Could be near Tagish by now."

Tagish was the last police post before the southbound trail crossed the border into Alaska, that strip of U.S. sea-coast fringing northern British Columbia. Strolling through the Tagish stables on January 6, Staff Sergeant George Graham stopped in front of two strange horses. Water dripped from their gleaming black flanks. Even under their blankets the horses were shivering.

A stranger passing through Tagish was police business. Graham walked across to the dog drivers' bunk house to make inquiries. Leaning against the wall near the door was an ice-sheathed sled. A huge yellow St. Bernard lay beside it. The dog growled as Graham took a close second look at the sled robe.

Inside the bunk house, beside the stove, a man in a plaid mackinaw was drying his socks. He was a big man, well built, very white-skinned. With a beard less shaggy he might have seemed pedantic. He had a high pale forehead, a broad fleshy face.

"Are those your blacks in the stable?" Graham asked.

The man regarded the staff sergeant with shrewd dark gray eyes. He showed neither alarm nor surprise. "My name's O'Brien," he said. His accent was English. "Those are my horses. Why?"

"Where'd you come from?"


"How'd you go through the ice?"

"Crossing the river." The confidence of his manner verged on arrogance.


"At the Indian village." The man was growing angry.

"Why?" The Yukon Trail by-passed the Indian village half a mile north.

O'Brien said nothing.

"You wouldn't be trying to get around the police post through the woods?"

"Go to hell," O'Brien said. "I bought those blacks at ShofFs roadhouse. I got the receipt. Two hundred dollars."

"Where'd you buy that government robe on your sled?" Graham asked sharply.

O'Brien laughed. His anger evaporated. "I don't mind telling you," he said in a confidential manner. "I did time in Dawson. I got out last September and your men couldn't find my sled robe. They gave me a police robe instead."

"That's a good story," the staff sergeant said. "You can wait in the guardroom. We'll check it."

In an hour Dawson wired that O'Brien was telling the truth. The man was smug as Graham apologized. "I'll be pulling out as soon as my horses are rested," he told the staff sergeant.

Late that afternoon Dawson sent a second wire:

description o'brien checks with man called miller.
hold on charge of theft from cache near selkirk.
suspicion o'brien implicated in disappearance of
olsen clayson and relfe missing since xmas. query
on whereabouts of partner ross alus little tommy

Graham hurriedly checked the stables. The black horses were still there. O'Brien, who could by now have been safe on his way to Alaska, had met an Indian girl and decided not to depart till morning. He was brought into the guardroom cursing.

"Search him," Graham said.

His pockets yielded less than a hundred dollars. In his German socks, folded between the leather sole and the cloth, were two $100 bills. A gunny sack on his sled held two revolvers, .41-caliber Colts. He was carrying a .30-30 Winchester rifle and a carbine with the serial number filed off. He had also a pair of field glasses, a queer piece of trail equipment.

"What are they for?" Graham asked.

"Surveying," O'Brien said shortly. He laughed off the charges of cache robbery. He would not admit knowing Graves. He admitted nothing, then or afterward.

Five days later a brief thaw melted the ice on O'Brien's sled. On a slat near the tow a sharp-eyed Mountie noticed a stain like a grease spot. Analysis proved the stain to be human blood. Like the arsenal, it carried suspicion, but it was not evidence. There was no proof that murder had been committed.

A half-dozen Mounted Police under Inspector Billy Scarth were now tracing O'Brien's movements from the time he left Dawson Jail. He left Dawson with ten dollars in his pocket. He moved southward slowly, accompanied by Graves. At the roadhouses the two men cooked their own meals, slept on the floor, and told conflicting tales of their destination. They were seen together last on December 19 near Fussell's roadhouse.

Two days after Christmas, O'Brien reappeared. He had no partner now. He was no longer traveling slowly. He had money for meals and bed. On January 5, he stopped overnight at the Nora, a river steamer frozen in the ice, and offered to sell the caretaker some gold nuggets. Among the stones was a twin, a double nugget, very rare. Relfe had owned a similar piece of gold.

Inspector Scarth, collating this information at Dawson, thought O'Brien had regretted showing the nuggets, that this may have led him to try to slip around the police post at Tagish. Scarth was worried. The nuggets had disappeared. He was holding O'Brien on six charges of cache robbery, none of them easy to prove, for O'Brien had had his partner Graves do the stealing and Graves, too, had disappeared. O'Brien, with arrogant unconcern, was demanding a trial or release and public opinion supported him.

The disappearance of four men had created a stir in Dawson. Fred Clayson's brother, Will, had brought in a private detective, Philip McGuire, from Minneapolis. He lost his job when the mail driver came through with news that the missing men had been seen at a rich new strike at Big Salmon.

Inspector Scarth had no faith in this information. He was more than ever sure that this was a murder case when Scotland Yard, in February, sent him his suspects' records. Graves had once been employed by the Chinese Army to shoot deserters. O'Brien had served six years for shooting a Birmingham policeman who had caught him robbing a store.

Scarth put McGuire, a stout, stolid, methodical man, on his payroll and sent him to Hutchiku, where Ryan was shorthanded. The corporal put him out on the trail with

Pennycuick, still systematically searching a tract of wilderness sixteen miles long and two and a half miles wide, wherein all clues lay buried in hip-deep snow.

Late in February, Pennycuick strode up a long rise in the Pork Trail. He was puzzling over the field glasses found on O'Brien. He could not get them out of his mind. They were too unusual; they had to be significant.

He paused for McGuire to catch up. From this height he could glimpse the river. His eye was caught by a gap in the cottonwood trees on the flats below.

McGuire, coming up, saw him frowning. "What's the matter?"

"Can you figure why anyone would be cutting cotton-woods down there?"

"The telegraph company, probably."

"Let's take a look," said Pennycuick. "I don't think they're that far down."

They plunged into the bush and emerged unexpectedly into a clearing. It was man-made. Pennycuick examined the stumps, then pushed riverward to the flats. Here they counted twenty-seven chopped-down cottonwoods.

"That's queer," said McGuire. "This isn't on the telegraph right-of-way."

Pennycuick scraped the weather stain from a stump. "They've been cut the same time as those trees up in the clearing. Not much more than a couple of months ago. And all cut by the same ax — devilish dull and three nicks in the blade. The same man felled them all, that's plain. Damned poor axman. Can't hit twice in the same place. Might as well chew a tree down."

They climbed back to the clearing. It was high land. Through the gap left by the felled trees they could see far along the river. The Yukon, a mile wide, lay entombed in four feet of ice, wrapped in a winding sheet of snow flung between the spruce-covered hills, pure white except for the dark and dwindling thread of the trail. They could see where the river trail and the Pork Trail forked. The fork moved out of view as Pennycuick stepped to one side. He moved to the opposite side. Again the fork vanished.

It was suddenly clear why the cottonwoods below had been felled; they had blocked the line of sight to the fork in the trail. The role of the field glasses found on O'Brien was now obvious. The clearing was a lookout post. From here a watcher with field glasses could tell an hour in advance if a traveler intended to stay on the river or cut off up the Pork Trail.

They searched and found a snowed-over trail from the clearing. They traced it through a grove of leafless aspen till it forked deep in a copse of gaunt green spruce. One spur ran down to the river. The other led them parallel to the bank and came out on a cliff. It angled sharply down to an incision in the ice.

The two men stared at the dark, swift-flowing water. "That's got to be it," McGuire said. Pennycuick agreed. There was no other place for miles where the river was open.

They came back to the fork in the spruce copse. The trail running down to the river had been hacked with the same dull ax through a dense dark jungle of willow. It ended in a thicket on a low earth bank close to the river trail.

"A perfect point of ambush," Pennycuick said. "A man can see in both directions and not be seen himself."

"There's no doubt about it, this is the murder trail," McGuire said. "But how are we going to prove it?"

Proof came through one of those flukes called "breaks" that come to those who persist. It came after three weeks of crawling on hands and knees down the murder trail, probing the snow with pointed sticks.

It was March 18. The sun was rising briefly at midday now. Pennycuick was in Selkirk for the day. McGuire was driving his dogs down the murder trail when a husky balked. The detective marked the spot: about twenty feet from the riverbank.

As the huskies whimpered excitedly, he cleared away the snow. The old snowcrust glistened red in the sunlight. He uncovered another frozen pool of blood twenty feet farther on.

Pennycuick returned next day with Constable Bacon, Inspector Scarth and O'Brien's big yellow St. Bernard. The four men followed Pennycuick as he led the dog to the Pork Trail, then stepped into the drifts to one side. "Go home!" Pennycuick shouted.

The big dog hesitated.

"Go home, Bruce!"

The dog trotted down the trail. Without a pause he left the hard-packed Pork Trail and plunged up the faintly visible, snowed-over trail to the tent. They found him lying on the snow beside the wire-encircled spruce.

"We'll make it stronger," Pennycuick said. He shoveled away the top snow. The crust beneath was littered with yellow dog hairs.

"Good work," Scarth said. "I think we can link O'Brien to the tent. But we haven't tied him to the murder trail. We haven't even proved there was a murder. We've got no bodies, no witnesses. We need evidence. I want to know what happened Christmas Day."

During the next six weeks Constable Alexander Pennycuick and private detective Philip McGuire conducted one of the most remarkable searches for evidence in the records of crime detection. They burned the moss from the trees and found three bullet marks. They charted distances with a surveyor's chain. They examined every bush and from nicks on the branches plotted the course of the bullets.

They were working in cold so intense that about them the branches of trees would break with sounds like pistol shots. Sometimes exposing their bare hands to feel for the old trail surfaces, they shoveled from one to three feet of snow from half an acre of forest. Along the ambush trail and around the tent in the woods they rolled the winter back three months to Christmas.

Along the trail they found a garter, a comb, two coat buttons, three cigars, a whiskey bottle, a medicine label, a piece of copper ore, more blood, six revolver and rifle shells, a slice of skull and a piece of tooth imbedded in a bullet. In the ashes of the stove in the tent—some brass moccasin eyelets and charred fragments of clothing. Strewn around the tent — a dog chain, keys, wads of chewed-up paper that pieced together into roadhouse receipts, and a dull ax with three nicks in the blade. They tagged each item and sent it to Dawson. Inspector Scarth dispatched Mounties as far afield as California to find witnesses to identify these articles.

At April's end, with a thunderous roar, the river burst from its tomb. Broken ice swept seaward in a steady white discharge and between May 27 and June 30 the Yukon delivered its dead. Three bodies were found cast up on a sandbar near Selkirk. All were identified. One had a tooth stump that fitted exactly — even to two small decayed spots — the piece of tooth imbedded in the bullet found by Pennycuick. The evidence was now complete. The silent testimony of trees, bushes, blood, bullets and bodies told a clear, awful and indisputable story.

O'Brien and Graves had prepared their trap in December. Then, in their hideout, they waited for the snow. Watching from their lookout they saw that Olsen, Clayson and Relfe were continuing up the river trail. They hurried down their secret passageway to the ambush thicket.

In high good humor, the travelers came abreast of the thicket. Graves stepped out with leveled rifle. Then, from behind them, O'Brien appeared. With O'Brien backing up, keeping them covered in front, and Graves menacing them from behind, they were herded off the open river into the murder trail.

Clayson, in the lead, perhaps sensing something abnormal, bolted for sheltering timber fifty feet to his right. Before he had taken three steps O'Brien shot him through the body. O'Brien reloaded, stepped close to Relfe and fired. He must have been trembling with blood lust. He missed and fired again. Relfe fell. Olsen, running in frantic terror, was ten paces into the woods when O'Brien's bullet knocked him down.

O'Brien walked from one dying man to another and put a revolver bullet through each man's head. Olsen rose in his death throes and grappled with him. Graves had to smash the lineman's skull with a rifle.

The assassins stripped the parkas from the bodies, piled them on their sled and hauled them over their trail to the riverbank. One by one they slid them down and through the hole in the ice. Then — though this last is conjecture — O'Brien knocked Graves on the head, pushed him in after the others and returned to the tent to search his victims' clothing in comfort. Months afterward, a fourth body was found in the river, badly decomposed but bearing points of resemblance to Graves; and O'Brien, in jail, told a fellow prisoner, ex-U.S. Marshal George Scott, "You bet I fixed it so no one will give me away."

This enterprise had been conceived by O'Brien in Dawson Jail. Little Tommy Graves had thought that the proposition was sound, but two other prisoners had turned it down as too risky. One, a raucous thief and faro dealer named George "Kid" West, was located in Washington state penitentiary by S. H. Seeley, a Mounted Police secret agent.

Seeley arranged an unprecedented deal with the state government. West was taken secretly from the penitentiary at night, smuggled aboard the Skagway-bound steamer Topeka, and Corporal Ryan escorted him manacled over the Yukon Trail to testify in Dawson in June 1901.

Crowds packed the courtroom to see O'Brien. He sat lis* tening attentively, clad in a new blue suit, carefully manicured, cleanshaven, indifferent to the crowd, almost nonchalant except when he glanced at Pennycuick, for whom he did not try to conceal his hatred.

Never before in a frontier country had so much care or money been lavished on a trial. Inspector Scarth had mustered eighty witnesses. They identified some four hundred exhibits. But not until the end, when the colorful Kid West, reveling in his role as star witness, outlined the devilish scheme in detail, did O'Brien's composure lapse. The jury took only two hours to find him guilty.

In the death cell, awaiting the hangman, O'Brien feigned insanity; he pretended he was the Virgin Mary. When this failed to impress, he tried to kill himself. A Catholic, he would not see a priest; he refused to confess. In a letter to his sister in Birmingham, which the newspapers published, he proclaimed his innocence. But to Mrs. Belle Dormer, matron of the jail, he explained, "My people will feel better to know that I died protesting my innocence. I must make it as easy for them as I can." He died at eight in the morning, August 23,1901, cursing Pennycuick of the North-West Mounted Police.

The Case of the Christmas Day Killer does not resemble the classic whodunit. But it is typical of the real-life crime. The killer was in plain sight from the start. What little mystery there was — how the murders had been committed — was revealed by thorough, hard, persistent work. The facts were sordid. The killer, locked in his cell, filled with conventional concern for his family, twisting and turning desperately to escape his inevitable end, had dwindled into a rather pathetic figure. There was no romance to stimulate the policemen's imaginations, no mounting suspense to tighten their tired nerves. The drama is less intense than fiction — but more significant.

O'Brien's trial was reported all over the world. In his matter-of-fact brutality, in the callousness that would kill on that one day when men approach brotherhood, O'Brien seemed to personify man's evil. And opposing him, refuting the evil as in a morality play — the police ideal. It could be seen in this case with uncommon clarity. Here were policemen applying the laws of evidence as they would be applied in London or New York. Here, at one of the ends of the earth, in the heart of a sub-Arctic wilderness, at the height of one of history's maddest scrambles for gold, men were applying the finest police methods known, embodying the highest standards of justice they knew.

This police ideal is perceptible in the image of Constable Pennycuick crawling on his hands and knees down an aisle in the snow-shrouded forest while he marshals his facts with all the imperturbable patience of a Scotland Yard inspector working in Piccadilly Circus. Patience is the policeman's cardinal virtue. Not the patience of that modern crusader, the amateur fiction sleuth. Not the patience of a longhaired Sherlock Holmes. It is not sustained primarily by intellectual curiosity, much less by desire to right a wrong. It is more akin to the patience of the hunter for whom the hunt matters more than the kill.


1ATE last century, an Italian scientist, Dr. Cesare Lom-i broso, won wide acceptance for his "theory of atavism." Criminals, he claimed, were inferior biologically. A policeman could recognize them by their features: close-set eyes, receding forehead, brutal jaw. The theory is often tested today on law students. They are shown a number of photographs and asked to pick out the criminals. Invariably they select an assortment of brutal-jawed clergymen and shifty-eyed college professors.

Many criminals hold a somewhat similar theory about policemen. You can always spot a dick, they claim, by his flat feet, burly build, brusque manner and air of stolid nosi-ness. This conviction, unlike Lombroso's, is based on experience, though it may seem outdated experience to the large number of criminals taken in by policemen posing as crooks.

In a big gray stone building on a bank of the Rideau River in suburban Ottawa, a man called the DOCI studies reports and dictates memos. There is nothing to distinguish his plainly furnished office except a row of photographs on the wall above his desk, portraits of RCMP commissioners. If the man at the desk is wearing civilian clothes, as he fre-quentiy is, he looks like any other bureaucrat. His reports, however, deal with murder, rape, robbery, arson, fraud, smuggling, extortion and drugs. The DOCI, an assistant commissioner, is the Mounties' top-ranking detective, Director of Criminal Investigation, a branch called the CIB.

RCMP crime reports funnel into this central bureau at the rate of 170,000 a year. Readers study them, tabulate them, note trends in crime. They check to be sure the Mountie has followed every lead, that his conduct has cast no discredit on the force. They telephone or write any federal government department concerned to let the department know how the case is developing. They observe that a batch of counterfeit bills turned up in a dozen cities, clearly the work of one gang. They supervise. They coordinate. They act as liaison officers. In effect, the DOCI is the Mounties' chief of staff in the ceaseless war against crime. Under him, placed strategically in cities across Canada, are some four hundred Mounties in plain clothes. On the street a few may reveal themselves by their cataloguing glance and a certain stiffness of bearing. But most of them look like any salesman, businessman, scholar or journalist.

The criminals' theory, nevertheless, has more substance than Lombroso's. Criminals far outnumber policemen: they come in bewildering variety, they embrace many trades; detectives have only one, and it has long been a common belief that a man's trade leaves its mark.

Outwardly, this is no longer as true as it was. Sherlock Holmes would find deduction tougher today. The bookkeeper punching his adding machine no longer has ink-stained fingers. The invention of the power saw is shrinking the lumberjack's chest. Pushbutton production lines leave a man's contours unchanged.

Yet each profession is like no other in purpose. The methods peculiar to it develop unique combinations of talents. A postman and a plumber are guided by different codes of conduct. Each has his own way of looking at things. And the trade of the detective brands deeper than most, though the mark is seldom visible on the surface.

The Mountie is unlike all other detectives. In other forces, "detective" is a rank. The detective is of the elite, an aristocrat. Though the man in uniform walking his beat is the backbone of his force, the greatest known deterrent to crime, the detective sets the tone of the organization. His failure or success makes newspaper headlines. The publicity gives his job a romantic aura. The uniformed man looks forward to the day when, in plain clothes, he will step up from crime prevention to crime detection.

The uniformed Mountie is in a different position. Every Mounted Policeman, from the accountant in the supply branch to the man who plays the tuba in the band, has been trained as an all-round investigator. His first posting, usually bottom man in a large detachment, gives him a little experience in detection. He picks up more as he moves from low man to top man in smaller detachments. More than half his work is investigation: thefts, assaults, accidents, occasionally even a major crime. If he feels that a murder, for instance, needs a more experienced touch, or that it will take more time than his other duties allow, he calls his subdivision CIB officer, who details one of his plainclothes men to the case. Or the uniformed man may show skill in solving the murder himself, but his officers may be grooming him for command of a larger detachment or a desk job at divisional headquarters. Or he may be left where he is because he prefers to be his own boss, though at any time the needs of the force may override his preference and he will suddenly find himself in plain clothes. And just as unexpectedly he may find his work in plain clothes rewarded by a transfer back to uniform on detachment. The RCMP feels that every Mountie, the specialist excepted, is interchangeable.

Every Mountie's crime reports channel through the CIB. These reports never mention the word "detective." The force looks askance at any word that implies a difference in kind between the plainclothes and uniformed man. Crime detection takes so much of every Mountie's time that the word "detective" applied to the plainclothes man seems artificial and any remarks about the effect and nature of crime detection will apply to the RCMP as a whole.


THE SURFACE of crime is mercurial. It mirrors the fluctuations in national production. It shifts with the rise and fall of the market, wavers with the weather, changes color with each advance in science and alters form with each new law.

The most dramatic example is the Prohibition Act, which forbade the making or selling of intoxicants in the U.S., thus flooding the country with contraband liquor from Canada. The strongest, smartest U.S. smugglers knocked off their rivals and merged. Their combined profits bought policemen, judges and politicians. They spread their protection umbrella over gambling and call houses. They branched into narcotics, sometimes car stealing and holdups. The huge reserves of capital that the Prohibition Act put into criminal hands gave birth to the modern crime syndicate with its tentacles in political parties, big business and labor unions.

With repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the flow of whiskey reversed. The Legs Diamond gang gained control of the Montreal market. Their fleet of power boats ran the lower St. Lawrence on moonless nights and their souped-up Cadillacs, driven by experts, crashed the Mounties' blockades on the border roads of backwoods Quebec, ran on their rims when the Mounties spiked the roads.

One night in 1936, through an undercover Mountie, the RCMP seized seven boats, jailed sixty runners and crippled smuggling on the St. Lawrence. The Legs Diamond gang followed the pattern of most corporate giants who cannot get their goods across the border profitably. They set up branch plants in Canada. They supplied Canadian bootleggers with engineers and workmen to build illegal whiskey factories. For 25 per cent of the net they leased them to local management, under the watchful eye of a U.S. business manager. Workers were paid scale rates with wages guaranteed while in jail. When the Legs Diamond agent reneged on his jail benefits, Montreal's bootleggers broke their contracts and signed with the Purple Gang.

One afternoon in Montreal, in 1936, a plainclothes Mountie spotted a man he knew to be a bootlegger leaving a closed-down lumber mill. From the upper floor of a biscuit factory across the street he watched the vine-covered building through field glasses. He noted men in the lumberyard piling boards as children stack matches, in triangles that blocked the view from the street. Trucks came and went. A sixty-foot chimney was put up. As soon as smoke was sighted fifteen Mounties surrounded the mill. No machinery was running but seven men were inside. Each swore that he was the janitor.

The Mounties searched the building from top to bottom. There was no sign of a still. Then a Mountie, poking around with a stick in a ground-floor closet, was startled by a shift in what had seemed a solid cement floor. Inspecting it on hands and knees he found a tiny hole. A nail shoved into it triggered a catch. The raiding squad dropped into an underground chamber. It held a gasoline pump and a hose. The hose smelled of whiskey. They smashed through a cement wall and broke into a concrete sewer tunnel. It led them down 150 feet to a big square room, where circular catwalks banked a huge round vat. Fans drew the fumes from the bubbling mash up the smokestack. A pipe led to the gasoline pump from which the trucks were filled. The boiler was an abandoned railway engine. The entire operation, a maze of vats, containers and pipes, was buried beneath 620 tons of concrete and earth.

Two Americans were listed as "engineer" and "manager"; a Canadian was "president." They drew a year in jail and a fine of $2,000 — less than their profits for one day. It was a typical big-time operation. The Mounties seized similar stills in a chocolate factory, an oil refinery, a cheese plant and a bakery. They discovered liquor crossing the border by rail in drums marked "Insecticide." They found it in trucks carrying crated earthenware. They arrested peddlers in all guises: a milkman who asked his customers if they wanted "white" or "dark" — a bottle of milk or a bottle of liquor; an old lady whose clients were served from a hot water bottle; a couple who sold it out of a baby's crib.

On the eastern seaboard the traffic was in rum. The price of fish in the thirties would scarcely pay for a boat's gasoline and every second fisherman turned to rum running. Backed by businessmen ashore, including prominent politicians, smuggling became the popular sport of the day. Mother ships steamed up from the Indies with thousands of gallons aboard and lay offshore while small boats towed fish nets filled with rum kegs into deserted coves for hiding. And the traffic was not confined to liquor. When the government placed a prewar duty on raw sugar, smugglers ran it from St. Pierre and Miquelon, a cluster of tiny islands off the south coast of Newfoundland, last remnant of the once great French empire in North America.

This new pattern in crime altered the structure of the Mounties. In 1932 they took over all customs and excise policing and formed their Marine Division. The rum runners switched from sailing schooners to fast power boats, guided by illegal radio stations ashore. The Mounties countered with radio-equipped aircraft for spotting, and fast cars to speed to the point of landing. Sometimes the smugglers would send out three fast ships, one carrying rum, and the Mounties would have to guess which one to follow — the old shell game. The Mounties would occasionally catch the smugglers off guard by appearing suddenly from behind the bulk of an outgoing ship. When the chase became too hot, the smugglers would lay down a smoke screen by injecting oil under pressure into their engine exhaust, a synthetic fog that not only blinded but half scalded their pursuers. There was only occasional shooting; it was mainly a game of wits. When one well-known Mountie, disguised by a wig, false eyebrows and mustache, posed as a buyer and picked off a rum-running ship's captain and his shore agent, Bill the Boat-Builder, the smugglers agreed that the joke was on them and the captain swore that, by God, if he could be fooled that easy he had better get out of the business, which he did.

One night in 1942, the smugglers' fastest ship, the Henry Joe, slipped lightless out of St. Pierre and headed across a calm sea, heavy with contraband. A French sloop flashed a challenge. The Henry Joe ignored it. The sloop opened fire with pom-poms. Like a broken bottle the Henry Joe went down. There were no survivors.

It was the end of an era, the romantic era of crime. By now, most Maritime smugglers and Marine Division Mounties had joined forces in the navy. "The only real seamen I've got," one naval officer told another at a conference on ships' personnel, "are the Mounties and the rummies they used to chase."

War brought new restrictive laws. Counterfeiters switched to ration books. Traffic in illegal permits, coupons and stamps became common. In Edmonton, the oil controller's staff would take used coupons to the basement for burning in the incinerator. The janitor would stand by, stoking the fire with sheets of paper. The heavy paper, falling flat on the blaze, dampened it. Left alone, the janitor would fish out the sheets of paper and retrieve the unsinged coupons sandwiched between them. But he showed less finesse in selecting his distributor, whose carelessness gave the game away.

In Ottawa, a flood of black market coupons led the Mounties to a Hull paper plant where used coupons were sent to be destroyed. Mounties disguised as workmen were placed in the plant. They watched the coupons being fed to machines with whirling knife blades that shredded waste paper for beating machines to mash into pulp. Amazed, they watched the machine tenders wade between the slashing blades, grope in the waist-high, pulpy, swirling mixture, and emerge with an armful of coupons. Twenty-one craftsmen — papermakers, millwrights, beaters, repairmen — had conspired to set the machines so the coupons — and the men — would not be pulped.

As in a chess game each government move is matched by racketeers. When the War Conservation Act banned the buying of U.S. slot machines, smugglers did a flourishing over-the-border trade. At war's end, when cloth was short and its price fixed, the Mounties caught some wholesalers collecting a "bonus" from tailors afraid they would not otherwise get enough cloth.

In 1946, when the United States lifted price controls, racketeers bought grain at Canada's ceiling prices and ran it across the Maine-Quebec border. In 1947, when Canada clamped down on U.S. imports in a "dollar-saving program," cars became the hottest item in smuggling circles and the Mounties and the FBI collared one stolen-car ring in the middle of Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and

Windsor. The following year, Canada raised her tobacco tax, made American cigarettes the fashion in smuggling, and the Mounties stopped a funeral procession enroute from Detroit to Windsor, boarded a hearse and found that the coffin held nothing but cigarettes. In 1953, when the tax was eased, smuggling dropped.

In 1954, the RCMP reported that "the decline in beef prices discouraged cattle thefts to some extent, although there has been a trend toward the theft of hogs, which are bringing higher prices." The report also noted a drop in the number of prosecutions for drunkenness among British Columbia's Indians when the B.C. economy dipped slightly in 1954. At the same time the number of prosecutions rose in Alberta, where Indians drew more income from new oil wells on their land.

Crime follows national developments like a dark misshapen shadow, a perverse reflection of human progress. A new uranium strike will spark fevered activity in the bucket shops of Toronto and Montreal, where phony stockbrokers yearly swindle Canadians and Americans out of millions of dollars by mail and telephone. Floods, fires and hurricanes draw con men in their wake, to snatch at the victims' insurance.

Ancient con games are camouflaged with the latest jargon of science. In the summer of 1953 a cultivated old gentleman, Fred Hossell, opened a gadget shop on Winnipeg's Portage Avenue. Over the next twelve months he turned out an array of inventions: a radioactive flashlight that lasted twice as long as the ordinary battery torch; a radioactive machine for making gasoline from water; a mercury-pot for drawing gold from sand; and a radioactive machine that made gold pellets. The working models were so impressive that one factory owner retooled his entire second floor to produce the flashlight. Another built a thirty-foot trailer to house the gas-making machine. Other people invested their life's savings to put the machines on the market. Before the Mounties picked him up on a tip from one of his suckers, Hossell rooked fourteen people of $31,000 in what is no more than a new twist on the venerable greengoods game.

The changing shape of crime defines the investigator's role. The government, which once winked at all but flagrant tax evasions, now calls in the Mounties ten thousand times a year. And several times every year they pile up the mountain of evidence needed to prove conspiracy under the Combines Act. Investigating bread making in 1947, they called at every bakery in Alberta. When the evidence showed that big bakeries from Winnipeg to Vancouver had put pressure on the small ones to keep prices high, Mounted Policemen seized thousands of company papers, helped the Combines Commission staff to sort them, held the papers in custody and four years later, after twelve companies were found guilty of conspiring to "unduly prevent or lessen competition," it was the Mounties' job to return the papers.

As laws grow more complex so does crime and crime detection. During the war, when beef was scarce, Canadian farmers were not allowed to export beef cattle. Canadian drovers and U.S. buyers teamed up to beat the law by shipping cows due to calf across the border as dairy cattle.

They would milk them for a couple of months, then sell fheir beef on the black market. A Belleville veterinarian tipped off the Agriculture Department and a CIB corporal uncovered a dangerous racket. He found that cows untested for TB or Bang's disease were being smuggled into a tested area. A vet would draw blood from one healthy cow, fill twenty-five bottles, and send them to the government lab for analysis. Then, with a false certificate, the cows would be shipped to the United States. The RCMP corporal, CIB man Gordon Greaves, spent his first ten days on the case doing nothing but study the export rules and his evenings thereafter with veterinarian manuals.


THE MOUNTIE has only one piece of standard equipment: a notebook. It signifies his approach to crime detection which breaks, roughly, into two parts — observation and information.

Murder and manslaughter, armed robbery, breaking and entry, thefts of all kinds, are usually solved by observing facts at the scene of the crime. The investigator's notebook connotes accuracy. He writes down every detail. He tape-measures all distances. Nothing is left to guesswork or memory. And though he himself is no scientist he knows all that science can do for him.

One October afternoon a bus came wheeling out of Saint

John. The driver glanced casually through his side window, then jammed on his brakes. Sprawled in the ditch a young woman was bleeding to death.

The bus driver called an ambulance and the Mounties. Corporal Philip Hughes and a constable searched the blood-soaked ditch. They found nothing. The highway shoulder showed the skid of a swerving car but no tire marks that could be traced. In the grass beyond the ditch Hughes picked up a rear-vision mirror, the kind that clamps on a car door. Its bracket was sprung.

Hughes telephoned the hospital. The woman had died. She had been able to say only that a "big shiny car" had hit her. Hughes and his men checked every car, house and garage on the highway. They worked all night. But a "big shiny car" wasn't much to go on. It looked as if the hit-and-run driver had made a clean getaway.

Next day Hughes stopped on the street for a chat with a friend, who remarked that a mutual acquaintance of theirs had been hitting the bottle of late. Immediately alert, Hughes asked, "What kind of a car does he drive?"

"I don't know. A big car of some kind."

This was the slimmest of leads. Nevertheless Hughes sent a constable to the man's place of business on a side road outside town. "He's got a Buick," the constable telephoned back. "There's a dent in the front right-hand fender."

"Bring it in," Hughes said. "The owner too."

The owner admitted nothing. Inch by inch Hughes went over the Buick. Under the chrome trim he found a few twisted fibers; when he bunched them together they looked faintly brown, the color of the dead woman's coat. The rear-vision mirror was missing from the front door. And the door had a tiny dent that could have been made by the mirror bracket being forced back against the metal.

Hughes took off the car door and crated it. Separately, he packaged the rear-vision mirror, the fibers and the coat, and sent them all to the crime lab in Ottawa. The chemist could not say definitely that the fibers had come from the coat. But another lab expert, Staff Sergeant William Sutherland, comparing the dent on the car door with a dent that he made by striking the bracket against a sheet of lead, showed that both dents were identical and that the dent in the car door could only have been made by the bracket found at the scene of the crime.

This was the first conviction for motor manslaughter in New Brunswick and the Crown would not have had a case if the Mountie had not been alert, lucky, and experienced enough to know what a dent can mean. In another case, attempted arson, a Mountie noticed a cat hair on a felt wick used by the arsonist. The identification of this one hair led to the cat's owner's arrest.

With experience, some policemen develop perception into a knack. In the Niagara peninsula a couple of Mounties on highway patrol were driving behind a truck loaded with baled hay. One of them thought the truck was riding oddly. He checked the license by radio with the Ontario Provincial Police and found that the truck was registered in the name of a known smuggler. The Mounties stopped the truck and found nine hundred thousand smuggled cigarettes buried in the hay.

Minor crimes are usually the hardest to solve. A Mountie ;annot muster all the resources of his force for an unimportant breach of the law. He must cope with the petty :riminals as best he can alone and this often results in some of the neatest examples of detection.

There was, for instance, the unlucky thief who drove into a farm in Saskatchewan, loaded fifty bushels of oats onto his truck and drove off. No one saw him, the tire tracks weren't clear and the farmer had no suspicions.

A Mountie looked over the granary and observed that a swallow's nest had been dislodged from a rafter above the oat bin. He asked about oat purchases at all nearby elevators. One farmer's son, he discovered, had sold forty-eight bushels of oats the day after the theft. Sifting this grain the Mountie recovered some pieces of clay from the swallow's nest. Some of the pieces still carried the impression of the rafter. When the Mountie confronted the farmer's son with this evidence, he confessed.

And there was the prairie-town Mountie who was roused at 1:20 a.m. by the local hotel manager. A third-floor guest asleep in his room had been startled awake by robbers. One had smashed a bottle over his head and held him under the covers while the other located his money, a couple of hundred dollars. They had left him stunned. He couldn't describe their faces or their voices. He could only say that he thought there had been two men.

The Mountie pieced together the broken glass in the bed: a beer bottle. He checked the fire escape exits; they were all locked from the inside. He searched the linen closets, the lavatories, all the hiding places down to the basement. Since the manager was positive that no one had left by the stairs, the Mountie was reasonably sure that the robbers were guests in the hotel.

It was now 2:30. The manager did not want his guests disturbed. The Mountie could only listen outside the closed doors. A few doors down from the victim's room he heard two men's muffled voices. The manager agreed to open their door. Two men were in bed. Indignantly they protested this intrusion. They knew nothing of any robbery, they said. If the Mountie thought they were lying he was welcome to search their room.

Concealed in the wastebasket, the Mountie found the money. The two men said it wasn't theirs and they didn't know how it had got there. The Mountie had to prove they had put it there or he had no case.

He checked his facts. The robbers had hit their victim with a beer bottle. These men had been drinking the same brand of beer. He counted their empty bottles: seven. He counted the bottle caps: eight. It was enough to induce a confession.

No two cases break the same but there is a general pattern. The Mountie comes to a dead end. He lays out all the facts. Something in the picture seems out of place. It doesn't quite fit. He may deduce its meaning — usually after a good deal of work. But once in a while he seems to arrive at it almost intuitively.

In September 1951, Constable Robert Morris, on detachment in a small Alberta town, was called to the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Roe.* While they had been away on a visit

* All names in this story, except that of the Mountie, have been changed.

to Calgary, a thief had broken into their bedroom and looted their piggy bank. Roe hadn't wanted to bother the Mountie with it but his wife had insisted it was their duty.

Morris checked the window for tool marks but it had not been locked. There was mud on the floor but no footprints clear enough to be of use. The piggy bank had no fingerprints on it.

The robbery seemed to be the work of a tramp. Morris questioned the neighbors but no one had seen any strangers. He came back to the bedroom. As he looked about, baffled, he became aware of the bed. It was slightly rumpled. A possibility suddenly formed in his mind.

"Did you make the bed before you left?" he asked Mrs. Roe.

"Certainly," she said.

"Has either of you lain down since you got back?"

Neither had.

"It looks a bit mussed," the Mountie said. "Maybe the thief slept in it." He did not want to alarm the couple needlessly. "Would you mind stripping it, please?"

They found nothing.

"Now let's lift the mattress," Morris persisted.

There, under the mattress, in the center of the bed-springs, wrapped in the pages of an illustrated weekly, were two flat boards with some brown granular stuff between them.

"Keep back!" the Mountie warned. He leaned over and sniffed it. "There's enough dynamite here to blow up this house. Whoever planted it wanted you to think that he was a sneakthief."

James and Sara Roe were aghast. They couldn't think of anyone who hated them enough to try to blow them up in bed. Morris sent the deadly homemade bomb to the crime lab, which replied in a deadpan report that it could have been detonated by "pressure, friction, jarring or heat."

There are coal mines in that part of Alberta and Morris knew that miners have access to dynamite. The Mountie made the rounds of the local cafes and kept asking questions till he learned that Sara Roe had once spurned advances from a heavy-drinking miner named Alfred Kirwan who for days had brooded over it.

The Mountie picked up a warrant and searched Kirwan's house. He found part of an illustrated weekly. The missing pages corresponded with those wrapped around the bomb. At the bottom of a pile of boards Kirwan used for carpentry was a small piece of freshly sawn board that fitted exactly to a board in the dynamite package.

Kirwan confessed. He also confessed he had planted another bomb, a piece of drilled-out firewood filled with dynamite, in the woodpile in James Roe's woodshed.

The Mountie rushed with the miner to the Roe home. He evacuated the couple. Then, in the darkness of the shed, he stood behind Kirwan, flashing a light on the woodpile, very much aware that if the pile fell down they'd go up, while the miner searched till he found his lethal weapon.

Morris's close attention to what at first seemed a trifling matter probably saved two lives and got Kirwan four years. His starting point was the bed, a detail that seemed irrelevant. Some policemen would say he had broken the case on a hunch. But a hunch is no more than the mind relating facts unconsciously after being set in motion by hard thought.

The RCMP investigator has something in common with the army infantryman: no matter how his weapons improve, his techniques do not change. He depends first of all on his physical equipment: wide-open eyes and ears and a mind to match.


SERGEANT Jerry Carroll is a chunky blue-eyed man with a fondness for mystery stories. He is one of a trio of plainclothes men stationed at Ottawa, a central squad of trouble-shooters who may be assigned to difficult cases anywhere in Canada. The trio includes a lawyer, an accountant and Carroll, who directs it. A quiet, diffident, almost self-conscious bachelor in his forties, he is one of the most experienced of RCMP investigators.

Carroll won his reputation in Saskatchewan. Two of his cases there — arson cases, the most difficult to solve since most of the evidence is burned — illustrate the second phase of investigation. It involves questioning anyone who can throw any light on the crime.

Carroll's questions are not the kind detectives usually ask in the stories he reads. They would make the hero seem far too simple, too unimaginative. But they show what policemen mean when they say that an investigator begins to be good when he knows what it is he is looking for.

On the prairie at the edge of Saskatoon one summer's day a big deserted farmhouse was gutted by fire. The fire chief could find no reason for the blaze. He called the Saskatoon CIB and Carroll drove out.

He checked first with the power company. The electricity, they told him, had been cut at the pole when the last tenant moved (leaving some of his furniture). Neighbors had seen no children playing about. There had been no electrical storms. An accidental fire seemed unlikely.

The house was owned by the government, there was no insurance angle, no arson for profit motive. The Mountie's next question, self-directed: had someone tried to buy the farm and been turned down — arson for spite. He traced the former tenant and questioned him closely, noticing that the hair on the back of the man's hand had been singed (which later proved to be a coincidence). The man had not been trying to buy the property. He lacked any arson motive — unless he was a pyromaniac, a person who gets satisfaction from starting fires.

"What furniture did you leave in the house?" Carroll asked him.

The man listed some articles, among them a small radio. Carroll searched the ruins. The metal radio framework, which never burns, could not be found. The Mountie asked the tenant where he had bought the radio and got its serial number from the dealer. He was now fairly sure that the motive was to cover up a theft.

Questioning the neighbors again he learned that a naked man had been seen by day on the bank of the river about a mile from the farmhouse. Carroll sent for a police dog to search where the man had been seen. The dog unearthed a towel and a man's undershirt. At the crime lab, infra-red rays revealed the laundry mark. It was traced to a hospital night orderly. Carroll found the missing radio in his room. It was one of the few arson cases where the confession was superfluous.

The skillful investigator knows not only the questions to ask, but how to ask them. There are times to make people feel that whatever they say is already known, times to make them feel that whatever they say is important, times to be tough (within the law), times to be sympathetic.

One hot August afternoon when Carroll was stationed at Yorkton, he took a telephone call from Corporal Patrick Beach at Balcarres, a nearby prairie town. "Jerry?" said Beach. "Frank Catlack's house has burned down. There's a body in the ruins. I think it's Florence Brabant."

Catlack was a well-known farmer, thirty-seven years old. Florence Brabant, twenty and strikingly pretty, was a lively half-French, half-Indian girl. Catlack spent all his money on her clothes and entertainment. Almost every night they went partying in his new car.

At Balcarres, Carroll found that Beach had picked up Catlack in town. He was a big, muscular, darkskinned man, handsome in a faintly sinister fashion. His features were marred by several fresh scratches.

"Where's Florence, Frank?" Carroll asked him.

"I left her at home, Corporal." Catlack lived about ten miles out.

"When was that?"

"Around noon."

"Did you have any insurance on the house?"

"It's covered all right."

"Where do you keep your policies?"

"In the bank."

"Is that where they are now?" It was an obvious question, precisely the sort a more subtle man than Carroll might not have asked.

Catlack hesitated. "Well, no."

"Where are they then?"

"In my pocket," said Catlack reluctantly.

Carroll's voice sharpened. "How did you get the cuts on your face, Frank?"

"I don't know. I had a lot to drink last night. I must have hurt myself. I spent the night in the hotel here. There was blood on my pillow this morning when I woke up."

The hotel owner couldn't recall Catlack's face being scratched when he checked in. The Mountie was certain Cat-lack was lying. He wanted to keep him in town but he couldn't hold him without evidence. "You know, Frank," he told Catlack, "if Florence really died in that fire, people are liable to blame you. It might be safer for you to bunk in with us till we clear this up." To Carroll's relief, Catlack agreed.

The embers of the burned house were still smoldering that evening as the two Mounties shoveled a curled charred body into cartons. They shipped it by RCMP plane to a Saskatoon pathologist. In the morning they sifted the ashes but found no evidence.

Carroll spent the rest of the day asking questions. Neighboring farmers had seen Florence in Catlack's yard the morning of the fire. A section hand had seen Catlack walking toward the train stop, glancing back repeatedly in the direction of his house. Two hours later a farmer had sighted the first smoke. The conductor of the train in which Catlack rode to town recalled that Catlack's face was scratched when he got on.

The pathologist's report, on the third morning after the fire, established the victim's sex, build, approximate age and color of hair. The description fitted Florence and Florence was missing. It was adding up but it was far from enough to place a charge. Carroll needed a motive. He got it late that day in his third talk with the owner of the hotel.

The Mountie went back to Catlack. "Frank," he said, his manner no longer relaxed, "you've been lying. You're covering up. You were seen leaving the farm all scratched up around one forty-five. You were looking back. You were watching for smoke. You had the insurance policies in your pocket. You'd had a fight with Florence. Florence was going to leave you. She's a girl who likes a good time and you've spent all your money, Frank. You can't even keep up the payments on your car. She was going to work at the hotel, starting the end of the month. She was going to to leave you and you loved her. You loved her, didn't you, Frank?"

Tears began to roll down Catlack's face. "I may have something to tell you tomorrow," he said. Again he slept in the unlocked detachment cell. Carroll, in the next room, could hear him tossing and turning. In the morning he said, "If I tell the truth, will I get my wish, Corporal? Will you take me to Regina and hang me right away?"

"Sorry, Frank," said Carroll, "that's up to the court."

Catlack sat silent for a long time.

"Would you like me to write it for you, Frank?" Carroll prompted softly. He needed a confession; the case was far from airtight.

"I thought too much of her," Catlack blurted suddenly. "We were too jealous of each other. She always said that same thing. She said she was leaving me. After that I lost my head. I told her, if I can't have you no one else will, and I told her, I am going to kill you. She jumped up and scratched me." He stopped. The Mountie said nothing. Presendy Catlack continued.

"This other part is hard. If I tell you, you're not going to jump me?"

"No," Carroll said quietly.

"So she ran in the kitchen." Catlack's face was working. "So I put my hands around her throat and choked her. I might as well tell you, I set the house on fire. I got nothing to lose."

Carroll had been writing this in his notebook. The case seemed open-and-shut now. But he knew he could still lose in court; confessions are almost always contested. At this point he showed the touch of the seasoned policeman.

"Frank," he said, "we didn't find Florence's watch or rings in the ruins. Do you want to tell us where they are?"

Catlack nodded mutely and led him to the spot where he had buried the jewelry. The investigation had ended; the double climax came later.

As Corporal Beach was escorting Catlack back from the coroner's hearing to his cell in the RCMP detachment, the big farmer suddenly went berserk with pent-up despair. Locked together, the two men fought savagely through the cell room, through the office and into the garden. The Mountie's wife, running frantically down from their quarters upstairs, snatched up a soft-drink bottle and struck Catlack on the head. It stopped the maddened man only momentarily. He was killing Beach, throttling him, banging his head on the ground, when two neighbors came running over and pulled him away.

In his death cell Catlack was given pills to enable him to sleep. He managed to save a handful, swallowed them all at once and died on the night before he was to hang. Behind him he left a note to Florence Brabant.


ACROSS the Mountie's desk flows a steady stream of facts, borne on a turbulent tide of humanity. This is his second source of information: the public. Troubled, anxious, fearful, suspicious, demanding, dutiful, the public tells the Mountie what it saw, heard, thinks and feels — a car parked overlong in an alley, a shot heard during the night, a feeling that the boy next door is the rapist sought by police. It is vital information but the vital facts must be winnowed from much that is trivial or meaningless.

In an incident typical of its kind a man came into the RCMP's Vancouver office and asked for police protection.

the living legend

Someone had tried to gas him at his house in Victoria, he said.

"When was this?" asked an RCMP inspector.

"Last night. They tried last night while I was in bed."

"How do you know it was gas?"

"It was hissing."

"Did you get up to see where it was coming from?"

"Yes, but they're clever. I couldn't find it."

"Who do you think was trying to gas you?"

"That's your job to find out."

"But gas is very complicated," the Mounted Policeman said patiently. "It takes a lot of pipes and equipment. Wouldn't it be easier for them to push you off the ferry coming over from Victoria?"

"No. It's a gas they're using."

"Don't you think, if you couldn't find the gas pipe, it might have been the water faucet you heard?"

At this the man became highly indignant. He left the divisional office convinced that the Mountie was in on the plot. And the Mountie, from the first mention of "they," had been equally sure that the man was mentally ill.

One common "they" is "the radio gang," who try to kill their victim by transmitting a "voice" that tells him to walk into moving traffic. At one time so many complaints came into the Montreal office for action against the radio gang that a sergeant assigned himself to the "case." He sawed a lead pipe into three-inch lengths and placed them on his desk. Soon, a man came in and said, half-belligerently: "Now, I know you won't believe me, but the radio gang are out to get me."

"Of course, I believe you," the sergeant said. "We know all about this gang. We've been after them for years. Now, you won't believe me, but our scientists have found a way to fool this gang. Take this. It looks just like a length of pipe. Put it under your pillow at night. Don't let it out of your sight. It will ground the reception from their transmitter." In Montreal, the radio gang is now under control.

People come into the Mountie's office with tales of foreign spies, Martian invasions and buried bodies. There was the veteran trapper, seventy-odd and eccentric, who mushed out of the bush in the winter of 1950 into the RCMP detachment at Flin Flon, a mining town in northern Manitoba. His name was Donald McLeod, he said, better known as "Skipper." His partner, Paddy Allen, was missing, drowned in a lake near their trap line. How did he know? He had dreamed he saw him breaking through the lake ice.

It was scarcely a story to which a logical man could give credence. Yet in the spring, after break-up, Allen's body was found on the shore of the lake McLeod had seen in his dream.

The following June, McLeod trekked in to see the Mounties again. He had had another dream, he explained. He had dreamed of a canoe abandoned in the narrows of Lake Athapapuskow. Four days later a prospector reported that while flying over the narrows he had sighted a sunken canoe.

Searching the shore the Mounties found amongst a litter of wreckage a scarf belonging to Bertha Johnson, part-Indian wife of James Johnson, a young Flin Flon resident who had set out with Bertha the fall before in search of a sawmill job. Again the Mounties were visited by Skipper McLeod. He had been afraid to tell them all his dream, he said, for fear they would laugh at him. He had seen the canoe pulling up to shore, a couple getting out, the woman walking away ahead of the man, the man firing a rifle bullet through the woman's head, another through his own.

The Mounties organized a second search party. In from the lake several hundred yards were two bodies, half-eaten by wolves. Each skull had been bored by a bullet, one from the front, one from the back, and beside them lay the rifle.

McLeod's dreams are reminiscent of the famous Hayward case, wherein a sea captain went to bed at his home in Kent, England, one night in mid-September 1904, and dreamed he was in, yet not quite part of, a strange brooding land, a wilderness of rivers and woods unlike any he had seen. He woke, unaccountably frightened, laughed at himself and went back to sleep. Again the forbidding landscape unfolded before him, shadowed but startlingly clear in the light of a full moon. He saw a dying campfire and two men sleeping beside it. The moonlight shone on their faces and he recognized Edward, his brother, who was in the far Canadian Northwest. As he watched in gathering horror, the other dream figure stirred, crept from his blankets, lifted a rifle, and shot Edward twice through the head.

Next day, the captain jokingly described the dream to some friends. One of them told a newspaperman, who published a full account, dated a few days before a northern Cree chief named Moos Toos, six thousand miles away, paddled into a Mounted Police detachment on Lesser Slave

Lake, far north of Edmonton, with a story almost as bizarre.

Moos Toos was grateful to the Mountie, Staff Sergeant Kristjan Anderson, for stopping two crooked white contractors from cutting trees on his reserve. He told the Mountie that two strange white men had camped three nights near his settlement. One was tall with a black beard, the other was short and brown-bearded. The tall man had said they were headed outside via Athabaska Landing. But when the short man left he was alone. He was leading four pack horses loaded with traps and a black collie dog. The dog would not obey him, which was queer. Visiting their campsite to salvage anything left behind, some squaws had found the ashes of a huge fire. The poplar leaves above it were filmed with fat.

At the campsite Anderson found a heap of ashes six feet long, three feet across and a foot high. Raking through them with his bare hands he extracted some charred bits of bone, some flesh, and what looked like a human heart. Anderson rode after the man with the brown beard.

He found him in Athabaska Landing waiting for a boat out, a mild, middle-aged ex-farmer from Utah named Charles King. The black-bearded man, said King, was a stranger who spent only one night with him, then passed on to Sturgeon Lake. A barge arrived from Sturgeon Lake next morning. Its skipper said no white man had arrived there. Anderson had no evidence, but King had sold his outfit and was obviously on his way back to the States. The Mountie took a long chance and arrested him for murder.

Back at the campsite, Moos Toos helped the Mountie screen the ashes while his half-naked tribesmen waded around in a nearby slough, waist-high in icy water, probing the slippery bottom with bare feet. In the slough they found a broken needle, a pair of boots, a gold pin, a watch and chain, and a gold sovereign case. The other half of the needle was found in the ashes.

Mounties now traced King and the missing man back to Edmonton, where the blackbeard was indentified as an E. Hayward. They mustered eighty witnesses to prove that the two men were partners, that Hayward had bought the outfit which King had sold, that the articles in the slough had belonged to Hayward, that the two men had quarreled repeatedly, that while camping on the reserve a pretty sqaw had visited Hayward at 2 a.m. on the morning that King departed alone, that King had been jealous, that two shots were heard that night, and that Hayward had never again been seen. The needle linked the slough to the fire and the flesh and bone in the ashes were identified by an eastern doctor as human.

But the star witness was a sea captain who had come all the way from England, Captain George Hayward, the victim's brother. Anderson had located him through the maker's name on the gold sovereign case. The captain said that the case had been a gift from his father to Edward. Captain Hayward's dream was not introduced as evidence. The chain of facts that began with the information given by Moos Toos, that dutiful citizen of the north woods, was enough to hang Charles King.

Every story brought in by the public must be evaluated; a policeman cannot take anything for granted. He must learn to distinguish between the mentally ill and the mentally disturbed. At teatime one February afternoon in 1947 a dark heavy-set stranger walked into Saskatchewan's Yorkton detachment.

"I'm Charles Martin," he said. "Give me a smoke and get me a priest. What I got to say will knock the heads off you guys." Then Martin recited a fantastic tale of murder.

In 1944, he said, at Mission, British Columbia, he had shot a man, encased his body in concrete and dropped it into the sea. Two years later, at a mine north of Lake Superior, he had gone hunting with the mine owner, Joseph Grant, and a miner. Carrying an ax and walking ahead, as he said they told him to, he had caught the click of a rifle bolt, whirled and threw his ax, cutting Grant down as the man was about to shoot him. Then, snatching up Grant's rifle, Martin had shot the other man.

"I know I'm putting my head in a noose," Charles Martin said. "You may think I'm nuts. But I wanted to get this all off my chest."

Investigation proved Martin's murder in Mission to be brain-spun. He was known there as a strange character, a consummate actor who wanted people to be afraid of him. He had drifted east to Montreal, then westward again, a sometime woods worker, trucker and railway hand. He had called at three other RCMP detachments in the past month telling of having been doped, waylaid, of knifing a man in a fight. All the stories were fabrications.

Martin was interviewed again. He admitted that he had spells of imagining things. He suffered from epilepsy, he said.

But a wire from police at Fort William showed that one part of his story was true. The two men he said he had shot were missing. The Ontario Provincial Police dynamited a road through the bush to the mine, brought in bulldozers to clear the ground of snow, and found the bodies of Grant and the miner, both shot twice. The evidence showed that they had been hunting, as Martin said, and Martin had gone ahead. He had ambushed the two men, stolen their wallets, hidden his .303 rifle, and headed south for the highway in Grant's jeep. Then he remembered that just before they had set out on the hunt Grant had snapped his picture holding the rifle. He snowshoed back but he could not locate the camera.

All winter long that snapshot had haunted Martin. Did the police have it or not? Finally he could no longer stand the uncertainty. He determined to find out how much the police knew (nothing — a hunter named Emil Pilon had picked up the camera). But first Martin tried to establish a pattern of insanity, thinking that if the snapshot had not been found — if he was not wanted — he would be dismissed as a crackpot. It was a desperate scheme that cost him his life on the gallows.


EVERY Mountie cultivates a circle of special informants, his third and often his most important source of information. They might include a bank manager, a mailman or a bookie. Even when he is not on a case a Mountie spends much of his time just building up his contacts, keeping in touch with what's going on.

One night in Port Alberni, B.C., a Mountie dropped into a hotel for a chat with the new desk clerk. The new man hadn't yet learned how his switchboard worked. The Mountie offered to show him. He put the headphones on just in time to hear a voice say, "We're out of rum, will whiskey do?" A few minutes later a bootlegging taxi driver delivered a bottle of whiskey right into the Mountie's waiting hands.

The most useful of these special informants are criminals, small-time crooks who doublecross their fraternal brothers for a drink, a loan, because the Mountie once gave them a break, because they expect another, because of fear, hatred, envy, or simply to earn some money. If their information leads to arrest and conviction, the RCMP may pay them from ten to several hundred dollars, depending on the importance of the case. The Mountie pays the informant himself, keeps his identity secret from even his own superior officer. In the crime report the informant's role is camouflaged by the phrase "from information received."

It was an informant's tip that broke the most sensational of all RCMP smuggling cases. In 1923, Montreal was a smuggler's paradise. A half-dozen smuggling rings were flooding the port with contraband. Black market sales were displacing legal sales in Canadian stores at the rate of fifty to one hundred million dollars a year.

None of the Mounties' regular informants knew how the goods came in. Staff Sergeant Ernest Salt, head of Montreal's plainclothes squad, met secretly with a prominent racketeer named Delane, who agreed for a consideration to leak word to the underworld that he was interested in buying drugs. At the same time Salt put two undercover Mounties on the job.

In two months Delane had contacted one ring. "They buy the stuff in Barcelona," he told Salt. "It's routed through Liverpool packed in trunks and comes in here with phony bills of lading."

"It's coming in here through customs?"

"That's the deal." Delane named a high customs official who he said was in the pay of seven different operators. "They wise him up when it's coming and his boys see it gets through the warehouse. The fix is a thousand bucks a trunk, four dollars a gallon for liquor."

This confirmed in detail what Salt had been told by one undercover Mountie, Sergeant Charlie Brown. Salt asked Delane who was behind the gang he was dickering with.

"I don't know," Delane said, "but I'll tell you who their front man is." The racketeer smiled in malicious anticipation of Salt's discomfort. "Don Miguel Maluquer y Salvador, the Spanish consul."

Salt's confidential report, passed on to headquarters, faced the commissioner with a delicate chore: breaking the news to the disbelieving heads of the Customs Branch, under whom came all customs and excise policing. At last, after hearing Brown testify, they agreed to cooperate.

And now there booked into the swank Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montreal a millionaire racketeer from Chicago. He gave his name as Robino. He was six-foot-four and broad, with a bold, hard, swarthy face. His manner was expansive. He had that unmistakable to-hell-with-the-consequences air of a born adventurer. This was Sergeant Charlie Brown.

Delane introduced "Mr. Robino" as his backer to Don Miguel, the Spanish consul, and the three men lunched together at the Ritz. The plump suave diplomat was impressed by Delane's backer and the sums he seemed prepared to spend.

"It will be a pleasure to do business with you, Mr. Robino," he said. "My friends in Barcelona can get you anything you wish. The merchandise — we refer to it as cognac — will be packed inside cases of olive oil."

"You mean that's supposed to get it through customs?" Brown said scornfully.

"No, no," Don Miguel assured him. "A friend of mine takes care of that. He is out of town at the moment. When he returns I will try to arrange a meeting."

Days passed before Don Miguel again appeared. With him was a man whom he introduced as Tey de Torrents, a small assured man with prematurely gray hair. He was one of Montreal's wealthiest importers. He questioned Brown so sharply, his bargaining was so shrewd, that the Mountie was convinced this man was the mastermind of the ring.

They reached an impasse when "Robino" refused to pay in advance. "You ask us to take all the risk, Mr. Robino," de Torrents said. "There is only one other way. You must yourself go to Spain. Don Miguel will give you a letter of introduction to our associate, Felix Martorell of Barcelona."

In Barcelona, Brown took a room at the Ritz. Then he waited for Staff Sergeant Salt, who was also enroute to Spain in the guise of an English army captain; he needed Salt's testimony to support his own evidence. Salt arrived on the next ship and Brown went to see Martorell.

Felix Martorell was a prosperous wine merchant and landowner, a pudgy, popeyed little man whose appearance masked an acute mind. His son, a youthful replica of his father, interpreted for him.

"You have come at a bad time, Senor Robino. We have just had a revolution, you know. We are under martial law. The soldiers search everyone on the street. The goods you want, we cannot get them at any price, not even to oblige our good friend Don Miguel. My father wishes me to say how exceedingly sorry he is that you have come so far for nothing."

Brown talked it over in private with Salt, then went back to Martorell. "If I can't get drugs," he said, "how about alcohol?"

Martorell's shrewd popeyes studied his face. "I can give you a good price on alcohol," he agreed at length. "How many cases would you require?"

Brown had no authority to spend government money on alcohol. He hesitated. "How about fifty?"

"Fifty!" Martorell exclaimed in astonishment. "Fifty cases? It is nothing!" Brown could see that he had suddenly grown wary. "My dear Mr. Robino, do you ask me to believe that you, an American millionaire, would come all the way to Spain for only fifty cases of alcohol?"

"Look," Brown said, "I might as well tell you the truth. I didn't expect to make money on this trip. I came here for two reasons — to contact you and to see if your friend de

Torrents is telling the truth when he says he can get the stuff through customs. If he can I'm prepared to spend millions of dollars with you. But it's drugs I want, not alcohol. This is a test case. I don't intend to risk any more than I need to."

Martorell and his son conferred in rapid Spanish. A smile broke over the son's face. "Ah, Senor Robino, my father agrees. You are indeed a wise man. We will send your fifty cases in care of Senor Tey de Torrents. It will take us a month to get the proper receptacles. There is no need that you wait. Leave the money with our bank. They will pay us when we have made the shipment." Later, Martorell suggested that if their big deals went well he and Brown should form a world-wide drug syndicate. He had contacts, he said, in Central Europe and North Africa. "Robino" would head the North American branch.

Back in Montreal, Brown found de Torrents suspicious. "Robino" had been shadowed by one of Martorell's men, who had seen him in conversation with a certain Captain Parker (Salt), who could be an English secret service agent. Brown passed it off as two English-speaking people meeting by chance. But four months passed and the shipment did not arrive. Salt and Brown were worried. Not only was this their only hope of exposing the scandal in customs and of smashing the biggest smuggling ring in the city, but their very reputations were at stake, for an Ottawa customs official, in a letter to the commissioner, insinuated that Salt and Brown had fabricated the whole affair for a profitable holiday.

By December the conspirators were accusing each other of treachery. Then de Torrents received a cable from Martorell. The delay had been caused by a shortage of containers.

It was only the first of a comedy of errors. The ship that was to carry the alcohol caught fire and burned. Martorell canceled the next sailing, via New York, when he heard of a big drug seizure in that port. With the shipment due to arrive any day, Brown was called to Vancouver to testify in another case. He returned in time to hear that part of the shipment had been lost. The missing cans were found in Pittsburgh, damaged and leaking, as reported by the United States customs, "a liquid curiously thin for olive oil."

It passed the Montreal customs nevertheless, and "Robino" agreed to pay de Torrents $3500 to bribe the customs officials. At this critical juncture, negotiations paused, suspended precariously, while the Mounties talked Ottawa customs officials out of their stubborn demand that Brown ask de Torrents for a receipt, a course tantamount to Brown showing the smuggler his badge.

On the day of the payoff de Torrents walked into a downtown bank. He gave his name to the teller who handed over "Robino's" check. De Torrents cashed it at once, receiving $100 bills. He did not know that the bills were marked or that Mounties were shadowing him.

Meanwhile, Salt and two other Mounties were searching the Spanish consul's apartment while Don Miguel, white-faced and shaking, blustered, threatened and pleaded by turns. Salt was unperturbed. The consul had no diplomatic immunity.

"You can at least," Don Miguel said, "spare my country

the embarrassment of escorting me through the streets like a common criminal."

Salt agreed. He sent his two men ahead and he and the consul walked alone down the street toward the RCMP office. They met another Spaniard. Don Miguel stopped. Talking hurriedly in Spanish, paying no attention to Salt, he tried to pass some letters to his friend.

Salt took his arm. Don Miguel wrenched away. He lifted his cane in a threatening gesture and shoved Salt toward his friend. Salt sprang aside and the consul took a pratfall over a doorstep.

The scuffle, protested in London by the Spanish ambassador, had the makings of an international incident. But Salt could prove that the consul had been treated courteously. Don Miguel and de Torrents were jailed, the importer's license was canceled, Martorell was banned from ever again exporting to Canada, and an inquiry into the customs led to a royal commission report, a shakeup, and complete reform of the system.

Most narcotics cases are broken by tips. It seems a simple method but the Mountie must inspire confidence. He must be a man whom even the faithless will trust to keep faith.


THE MOUNTIE at the scene of a crime leans heavily on routine. He turns frequently to what he calls the Ident (Identification) Branch, to a group of police methods

so astonishingly successful that their use has become as automatic as using a cliche. And even as people who talk in cliches are sometimes considered dull, so the investigator is sometimes thought to be using routine as a substitute for judgment.

"Routine" is perhaps the weariest word in the lexicon of police terms. Yet it is based on one of the most mysterious facets of life: of the myriad creatures that burrow, crawl and walk this earth no two are exactly alike. Beneath its apparent solidity, all matter is constantly changing; in the very act of creation the womb is altered, the mold is broken, never again to create in precisely that form. Police routine, the methods of the Identification Branch, are founded on this birthright of singularity — of mind, skin, features and odor.

An alert Mountie keeps tab on the crooks in his district, including the itinerant professionals. He strolls down to the railway station to meet the incoming train, spots a familiar face and calls, "Hey, Joe! What are you doing in town?" Joe is a safecracker. They have a coffee together. "Don't worry, pal," the safecracker says, "I'm not stopping off this trip."

If Joe does stop off, the Mountie makes sure he can find him if he wants him. He knows Joe's hangouts. He knows Joe's friends. If Joe decides to pull a job, the Mountie knows his methods.

Much of this intimate knowledge is lost when the Mountie transfers or retires. But some — by no means enough — is saved. From all over the country it trickles in to the Identification Branch to be broken down and filed in the crime index, a remarkable compilation of criminal folklore.

The index operates on the theory that criminals are human, by which it is meant that they have their petty faults, likes and dislikes. Like everyone else, they form habits, personal and professional. One burglar drinks all the liquor in the house he is robbing. Another always defiles it before he leaves. One forger cashes all his checks accompanied by a Pomeranian. Another bites his fingernails while he works.

In Winnipeg, in 1953, a city detective was called to the scene of a safeblowing. He noted the details, filled in a form, and mailed it to the RCMP crime index section, two big file-lined rooms supervised by a cheerful round-faced staff sergeant, D. H. "Cass" Cassidy. One of his staff of twenty-seven typed out a small card headed "Breaks safe, outside shot," and filed it in the MO (for method of operation) under "Unsolved crimes" in the safeblowing category. He also made out another card headed "Wears socks over shoes."

Over the next year a half-dozen cards were filed with this wording. The forms came in from diverse points in Manitoba. Several detectives suspected but could not prove that this MO was the trade mark of Mike Tokar, a well-known safeblower.

One rainy night in August 1954, a man broke a window at the back of the Co-op store in the little hamlet of Percival, Saskatchewan. He unlatched the window, climbed in, knelt beside the square box safe, rimmed the door with nitroglycerine, blew it open and disappeared with $421. All this was apparent immediately to the Mounties, who investigated. Outside in the mud beneath the broken window they found footprints with a strange, fine-textured tread. It looked as if the safeblower had tried to disguise his shoe prints by pulling socks over his shoes.

They teletyped the MO to the crime index section which sent back Mike Tokar's name and photograph. The photograph was picked from a hundred others by a Co-op clerk, who had seen this man casing the store the day of the robbery. It was picked out again by a bus driver who had driven him east in the night. The man had paid his fare with a five-dollar bill. The Mounties asked to see the bill, noted a torn corner, examined all the floor sweepings in the Co-op's rubbish bins and found a matching corner. Mike Tokar was arrested three weeks later in Winnipeg and from the lead which his MO supplied he was put out of business for six years.

"In a case like this," says the index supervisor, Staff Sergeant Cassidy, "we forget about name — some of these guys have a dozen — and look under method. Crooks are like anyone else — they can make more money by specializing. They do what they can do best. Some have nerve. Some have wit. Others are smooth talkers. They find out from experience that a certain method works and they go on using it. A second-story man stays on the second story. Even if he's caught on the tenth offense, he figures it's a tough break and his specialty is still a good racket."

The method of operation, or modus operandi, is first broken down into types of crimes: Armed Robbery,

Bigamy, Baby Farming. Armed Robbery is then broken down into Bank, Business place, etc. It's subdivided into the time of day or night the crime was committed, and it's subdivided again by the kind of weapon used, and so on for each crime.

The criminals themselves are filed by appearance, age, height, habits, even by conversation. Under deformities are such headings as Gait, Hair, Teeth, Scars, Tattoos, Warts; and each of these headings is subdivided. Under hair, for example, is Dyed, Redheads and Bald (a huge file). Under habits are such items as: Wears monocle, Takes snuff, Scotchtapes fingerprints, Carries dynamite, Uses hypnotism. Under speaks of are Dieppe, Brother in U.S. Army, Girl friend, Operations. Criminals, too, have their conversational staples.

Sometimes an investigator writes in and says his only lead is a witness who heard one robber say to another: "Come on, Dusty, let's get out of here." This may be enough to break the case. The index holds hundreds of cards filed under such descriptive monickers as Boxcar Tony, Boom-Boom, Bread-Eyes, Flannelcoat, Flattop, Foxy, Georgie the Greek, Gentleman Jim and Howie the Rat.

Some of the queerest specimens in the human galaxy have their eccentricities listed in the index. There is the sadistic German with the three missing wives who, police are sure but cannot prove, tossed them into a red-hot furnace. There is Joseph Jacques of Hull, Quebec, greatest of lonely heart swindlers, a short, fat, bald-headed craftsman who extracted $100,000 from four to five hundred ladies without leaving the shabby boardinghouse room wherein he composed his passionate letters.

The MO records the antics of such off-beat characters as le Marquis Joseph Charles Gouin de Fontenailles. This, at least, was the name he signed to the hotel register in Joliette, Quebec, early in 1947. The marquis at once contacted the town's officials and businessmen. He spread before them the blueprints for a large industry and captivated his listeners with his story of the benefits that the town would enjoy by the building of this factory.

The marquis was a scrawny man with a sallow bony face. His shirt looked as if he had slept in it. His brown suit was badly worn. His shoes were disreputable. Yet he had charm, indefinable style, he held his liquor well, his high forehead, beaked nose and keen eyes were aristocratic. He confided that he had a secret process for waterproofing cement blocks, invented when he was an engineer on France's Maginot Line. The Germans had confiscated his estates but before he went underground he had managed to transfer a few million dollars to a bank in Mexico City. This money would be arriving in Joliette soon.

In a few days the marquis was the town's biggest celebrity. Officials bustled in and out of his hotel room. He was given his choice of thirty-three lots to build his factory on. Soon his site was swarming with bulldozers, trucks and steamshovels. He hired several hundred workmen, skilled and unskilled. All Joliette's truck drivers left their jobs to work for the marquis and the town had no one to clean its streets.

At the week's end the hotel manager brought Gouin his bill, apologizing diffidently for troubling a busy man with such a trifling matter. The marquis's sensibilities were affronted. He demanded the hotel owner's name and began a forceful discussion of the conditions under which he would buy the hotel. The chastened manager took care not to again offend a man for whom he might soon be working.

Payday came for the workers. Gouin gave them postdated checks that Joliette merchants were only too happy to honor. The marquis arranged to buy more land, he talked of a second factory, he shopped for a luxurious summer home. His workmen felt themselves lucky to be working for a nobleman who never stopped to count the cost. One prominent Joliette citizen gave the marquis his home to use as a temporary business headquarters, and he moved his family to Montreal to spare the great lord inconvenience.

It was not until the merchants presented the postdated checks at the bank that the truth broke like a thunderbolt over the town. The marquis had no money. He was unknown to the bank, though not, however, to the Mounties. The crime index file showed that in 1940 the U.S. legation in Ottawa had asked if it was true that Joseph Charles Gouin de Fontenailles would be Canada's next ambassador to Peru. He had, it seems, created similar though tesser commotions in New York and Washington, apparently for no motive other than making himself feel important. The Mounties, investigating, had found that he was a Montreal potwasher, a French Canadian farmer's son who had picked up some engineer's lingo.

"Le marquis" departed from Joliette in haste but not without style. He took a cab to Montreal, where he ditched the unpaid driver. He was picked up shortly afterward at a hotel in Quebec City. Characteristically, he was dickering to buy the hotel.

The endless gradations of personality listed in the index, the countless gambits and gimmicks, cast across the surface of crime a constantly changing pattern of ingenuity. But the index also reveals with striking monotony the resistance of humans to change. Here are the cards of men caught year after year by the same idiosyncrasy, who find it more comfortable, more profitable, to remain in a rut. The Mountie cannot allow his respect for criminal cleverness to blind him to criminal folly.

The crime index, more commonly called the MO, is the systemized experience of many policemen. It explains why the Mountie leans on routine so heavily. He is not inclined to desert proven tactics for the chimera of swift results by theory. He does not lightly plunge into the unknown. While he sometimes uses deduction, and occasionally intuition, he prefers to plod from fact to fact. His deliberation conveys a deceitful impression of stolidity. Actually, an open mind is so much a habit with him that its openness seldom makes him uneasy. He does not feel impelled to close it by leaping to conclusions.

The oldest method of tracing criminals is still the most used: by the tented arches, whorls and loops of their fingerprints. The first-century Chinese mystery writer, Shi-nain-gan, mentions fingerprinting prisoners and by now almost everyone knows that his skin has an individual design.

And yet, in the fingerprint bureau of the Identification Branch, twenty-four searchers check six or seven hundred prints a day. They come in from police forces all over Canada and the world. A surprising number are left at the scene of the crime by careless criminals. But the value in fingerprinting today lies less in proving guilt than establishing identity.

In 1917, for example, a man convicted for rape was sent to prison for fifteen years. In 1924 he got his ticket-of-leave, or parole. In 1930 he broke his parole. A warrant was issued for his arrest but he had disappeared. For twenty years nothing was heard of the man. Then, in 1950, a Toronto city policeman picked up a man for ringing a false fire alarm. Instead of paying a $50 fine the man chose jail. In the usual manner his fingerprints were sent to be filed in the RCMP bureau in Ottawa. The Mounties, in their routine check, discovered that the prints were those of the missing parole breaker, who went back to the penitentiary for eight years, two months, and twenty-five days. A crook can change his name but not his prints, though a few have tried by plastic surgery, scarring their hands in a highly distinctive and futile fashion; for even the pores of the palms will produce an identifiable pattern.

In a less infallible sense than fingerprints every human feature can be identified. A novel example occurred during the 1954 trial of author Raymond Arthur Davies, accused of obtaining a passport by fraud.

The Crown had to prove that Davies's name had once been Rudolph Shohan, which Davies denied. RCMP investigators dug up two photographs of the youthful Shohan and two fairly recent portraits of Davies. A corporal in the Indentification Branch, Reginald Abbott, took these four odd-sized pictures and enlarged them to the same size on transparent film. Then he photographed each feature separately and made transparent film cut-outs.

In court, Abbott placed on the judge's stand a square boxlike viewer. He put a transparent picture of Rudolph Shohan in front of it. Opal light illuminated the features through a grid of numbered horizontal and vertical lines.

"You will notice the shape of the head," Abbott said. "The hairline . . . where the waves break in the hair . . . the angle at which the ears abut from the head . . ."

He superimposed the second picture of Rudolph Shohan, a side view, and pointed out the similarities: "The rims of the eyes have the same thickness ... the eyebrows in both pictures suggest an abrupt break above the nose . . ." Then he did the same thing with his cut-outs of each separate feature. He compared the two pictures of the youth, the two pictures of the adult, and then — the conclusive comparison — one from each set.

The defense counsel contested every point. When Abbott dwelt on the individuality of ears, the lawyer protested, "Do you mean to tell me that there are a million different ears?"

"There are many times that number," Abbott said. "There's at least four parts of the ear that we can see at one time, the angle, size, surface contour and perimeter contour. Each of these have eight parts, the helix, anti-helix, fossa, and so forth. The number of combinations possible for identification is astronomical." Abbott's testimony, the first of its kind in Canadian courts, played a large part in convicting Davies.

Abbott, before he enlisted, was a tombstone cutter and a sculptor of store-window models. In 1949, he went to the head of his branch, Inspector Ralph Wonnacott, and said, "I'd like to sculpt a plaster likeness of you and the commissioner." The commissioner then was Stuart Taylor Wood, whose jutting jaw and gruff manner belied a forbearing nature.

When Wood saw the results he sent for Abbott. "I'll send you anywhere you want to go to study sculpture," he said. Abbott spent a year under Oronzio Malldarelli at Columbia University, then began his unique system of sculpting criminals by ear, that is, from verbal descriptions.

In 1950, when an unknown bank robber killed a Mountie in Montreal, Abbott spent a day questioning witnesses: "Did his cheekbones protrude? What shape were his lips? Did he seem like a nervous type?" After getting more than a hundred comparison points Abbott sculpted a plaster of Paris head in four hours.

He showed a photograph of it to the witnesses. "Would you say his jaw was round enough?" he asked. "Was the face longer?" He made changes, then photographed the finished bust for the monthly RCMP Gazette, which publishes pictures of "most-wanted criminals." As it happened, the bust did not help catch the robber, Thomas Rossler, but it might well have had he not been picked up first from another lead. "As soon as I saw that picture in the post office," Rossler said, "I knew that I was finished."

Artist-policemen have been capturing unknown crooks for years by the "speaking likeness" sketch, or portrait parle, but this is the first development of the method into three dimensions. After seeing Abbott's bust of bank robber Leo Cahill, the Ontario Provincial Police wrote the RCMP: 'Wonderful work . . . we're all for this system." It is very new yet, but Abbott, who carries around a photo of his bust of a still uncaught hatchet murderer, pats his wallet and says, "One of these days this will be in court."

It may seem paradoxical that in 1935, a year well into the age of modern science, a crime detection agency would return to a method used by police in ancient Rome. In 1935 the RCMP recruited regimental number K470, the first dog to become an official member of the force.

Since the turn of the century dogs have been trained in criminology, notably in Germany and Austria. But recognition has been slow. It was K470 himself, Dale of Caw-salta, and his owner, Sergeant John Cawsey, who finally convinced the Mounties.

Cawsey had trained Dale, a German shepherd, to track down thieves, an experiment that his superiors had been watching for several years. In the fall of 1935, while stationed at Calgary, Alberta, the sergeant tuned in a midnight newscast and heard an appeal for help. Two-year-old Eileen Simpson had strayed from her farm home some forty miles north early that afternoon and could not be found.

Cawsey and two constables drove north with Dale. It was raining heavily. Eight miles out they stopped to check a parked car. The man in the car could not explain the goods piled in the back seat — flashlights, purses, knives, pen and pencil sets — or why he was sitting there alone. Commanded to search, Dale led the Mounties through a water-soaked field to a man hidden in chest-high wheat. Near where the man was hidden the dog found more pens and pencils. The Mounties took the two men back to Calgary under arrest, set out again and arrived on the Simpson farm at dawn.

The farmyard had been trampled by more than a hundred men, still searching sodden fields and patches of woods. With all these conflicting scents, the smell of farm animals, the blanketing odor of manure and the steady downpour of rain, Dale seemed to have little chance of success. The parents, grateful for any hope, gave Cawsey one of their little girl's sweaters. Taking the scent, Dale sniffed the area, circling slowly for two hours. Suddenly he straightened out, running fast across the fields, and disappeared into four-foot grain. When Cawsey caught up with him, Dale was licking the little girl's face as she lay concealed by the tall wheat, mute with exhaustion. She recovered and the Humane Society awarded Dale a certificate. A Chicago magazine made him a member of the Legion of Honor of the Dog World of the United States, and the RCMP decided to enlist dogs for permanent duty.

The force has about fifteen dogs, mostly German shepherds, stationed from coast to coast. A half-dozen more are usually in training at Sydney, Nova Scotia. Some are bought, some are bred; in either case their pedigree matters much less than their character, which is carefully checked for bad habits such as chasing cars, and unsuitable traits such as nervousness. They must be big but not clumsy, strong yet quick, fierce but gentle.

Training starts at an easy pace when a pup is six months old. Each pup is assigned to a "dog-master" who feeds, grooms and trains it. With a special training collar he checks the pup's roughness, teaches it the meaning of "heel," "sit up," "fetch," "stop." When the dog has learned to instantly obey a word or gesture, his serious training begins. He learns to track someone he knows who has hidden, then to track a stranger, then to drop his nose on command and track any given scent. By following a veteran lead dog, or the lure of a tossed bone, he learns to scale a ten-foot wall, jump through a blazing window, leap a barbed-wire fence, creep along a narrow ledge and climb a ladder. He learns to crawl on his belly under rifle fire, to disarm a gunman by leaping at his gun arm, swinging the man's arm behind him with the force of the leap — the equivalent of a simple police hold. Most difficult, he learns to refuse food from a stranger, which some day may save him from poisoning by a criminal.

The "secret" of training an RCMP dog is patience and kindness. A dog-master never strikes his charge. When a dog is disobedient he makes it crawl a few yards on its belly — pride's antidote of humility. "When a dog does well he is patted and praised," a dog-master says. "A dog likes appreciation. If a trainer is kind a dog naturally wants to please him."

By the end of their twelve months' course the dogs have learned eighty different lessons and are fully responsible public servants. One dog, missing from his kennel in the evening, was located alone on the training field voluntarily rehearsing his lessons. And trainers like to recall the veteran police service dog who was sent back to school to take a refresher course. He was tracking in some bushes when a pup broke away from its handler and went yelping after him. All at once the yelping ceased and the veteran emerged from the bushes pulling the half-choked pup by its leash. He returned him to the dog-master, then trotted back to his job.

The dogs are used most frequently in excise cases, which has earned them the sobriquet of "booze hounds," They have an uncanny talent for ferreting out illicit liquor. Police dog Chief, given the order "Booze" on a farm in Saskatchewan, ran straight for a bush half a mile away where a 45-gallon barrel of mash had been buried in a pit. On another farm he dug into a foul-smelling garbage heap to uncover the copper coils of a still. Several times he discovered tightly corked bottles of moonshine buried under several inches of earth. Another fine booze hound, Egon, who worked in Nova Scotia, once located a hidden still, led the Mounties to a farmhouse, slipped in when the door was answered, circled a roomful of people, sniffing until he found his man, then sat down and stared at him so accusingly that the disconcerted moonshiner confessed. Egon had only one drawback. He acquired such a taste for the mash that he had to be followed closely to preserve the evidence.

The dogs have proved their worth in helping solve every kind of crime m which the criminal leaves a scent. When a British Columbia woodsman murdered a young girl and disappeared, police dog Cliffe dug him out of the hay in a barn the posse had just searched. When George Chupiuk clubbed a sixteen-year-old Saskatchewan girl to death, then denied being near the girl's home, dogs Tell and Ignatz disproved his statement by digging from fresh-fallen snow a blood-stained handkerchief and a box of cartridges that Chupiuk had discarded in his flight. When a housewife missed a gold watch just after a call by a fruit vendor and a search of the vendor failed to locate the watch, police dogs Sultan and Major turned it up in three minutes flat in a snowdrift thirty feet from the road, where the vendor had thrown it when he saw the Mounties closing in. And there was the clerk of a Manitoba trucking firm who reported to the Mounties that his cash box had been robbed. The investigators found an office back window broken, tracks in the alley below, but the dust on the inside window sill undisturbed. Police dog Sultan followed the tracks from the window around to the front door. Inside, he padded up to the clerk, bared his fangs and snarled. The clerk confessed. He had hoped to cover his theft by faking a burglary.

In 1955, police dog Silver tracked three bank robbbers and recovered $27,000, for which the bank presented him with an engraved silver collar and an 18-inch shank bone. The dogs have tracked down lunatics who tried to derail trains, safeblowers who tried to foil them by rubbing their boots with oil of mustard, escaped prisoners of war who sprinkled pepper along their trail. One dog dug a single button out of ten inches of snow, evidence that later convicted a man with a missing coat button. Another tracked a man from the scent on a spent cartridge.

The dog-masters spend much time helping people in trouble. After walking home from shopping in town, an Alberta farmer's wife was dismayed to find that her purse was missing. It contained her husband's insurance, bond receipts and their harvest money, all they had to last them through the winter. For two days they searched the straw-littered two-mile route to town. Finally, in despair, the husband informed the RCMP. The Mounties sent for police dog Smoky. Nosing through the wheat stubble he caught the three-day-old scent and came trotting back to drop the purse in front of his master and the overjoyed farmer's wife.

Most gratifying for the dog-master is the finding of lost persons. And this is often a dog's hardest task, for he is seldom brought in until the scent is cold and the trail is fouled by searchers. In Peace River in mosquito season, Smoky found a three-year-old girl in an area already covered by a search party one hundred strong. In New Brunswick, Cliffe led a party through dense bush and pouring rain to the still-living body of a doctor who had wandered off while convalescing after a nervous breakdown. In Bat-tleford, one black and bitter winter's night, Tell followed a runaway mental patient to where the man lay in the snow unconscious. In Nova Scotia, Perky tracked a woman lost several days to the edge of a lake, jumped in and located her body beneath the surface. In Halifax, Egon found and brought back a lost child whom he tracked along paved streets through traffic. In Manitoba, Sultan followed the trail of an 86-year-old woman lost for three days in the bush. When the searchers arrived she was crying over and over "The dog is my savior," and holding Sultan around the neck so tightly he could not give voice, yet he had made no attempt to free himself.

No scientific device yet invented can match the nose of a dog. Once a small girl, whose family was on relief, lost the money her mother had given her to pay the family's relief bill of $8.75. The little girl knew Dale, the original K470, better known as the "Silent Partner." Sobbing, she went to the house where he was boarded. Dale retraced her route, took the scent from the air, bounded off and came back with the money. He found three dollar bills that had blown out of an old lady's milk pail. He once darted after a dollar bill blowing across a vacant lot and at Sergeant Cawsey's command tracked its owner, a total stranger, and gave the astonished man his dollar back.

Before Dale was struck off force by a board of officers and retired with a small life pension, he had saved Cawsey's life by leading the sergeant to shelter when his car stalled in a storm on open prairie.1 He had tracked down the murderers of two Mounties near Canmore, Alberta, and solved a difficult arson case: the burning of a farmer's house when gasoline fumes exploded after someone had soaked the cellar walls. From the swab left near the cellar door, some gasoline-soaked underwear, Dale somehow picked up the scent and followed it through a choking dust storm to the home of the guilty man-

The police service dog at the scene of a crime is a model investigator. He is quiet unless he has something to say, gentle unless force is needed. With uncomplaining patience he moves along the trail in an unbroken line from fact to fact. He comes into a case with his instincts sharp, his senses well developed, and his mind uncluttered by any of the preconceived notions that blind both inner and outer sight.


SIR Arthur Conan Doyle was accurate in picturing the English police as laughing at Sherlock Holmes's use of a microscope. Conan Doyle, a medical man, was a first-rate prophet. Not only have the microscope and the newer scientific devices transformed the machinery of criminal investigation, but the very course of justice has been altered.

The impact of science can clearly be seen from the vantage point of Malta, a British colony, early in the 1700's. Judge Cambo, a prominent jurist, had risen early one morning. Glancing out of his window he saw two men struggling. One man drew a stiletto, stabbed the other and ran. The judge saw him plainly as he came running back for his hat and as he ran off again he threw away his stiletto sheath. Rooted to the window the judge saw a baker approach, pick up the sheath and pocket it, then, on sighting the body, take fright and run away.

The police on their rounds saw the baker running and chased after him. On the grounds that the nsorder weapon fitted the sheath in his pocket they committed him for trial before Judge Cambo. The judge said nothing of what he had seen. He felt that his ethics bound him to decide the baker's fate on the evidence presented to his court and that he should not allow his personal knowledge to influence his judgment

There was not enough evidence to convict the baker. The judge accordingly ordered him tortured, a common legal method of extracting evidence. The baker broke down under torture and confessed. Judge Cambo now dutifully ordered him executed.

Judge Cambo's curious view of objectivity was revealed when the real assassin confessed and mentioned seeing the judge at the window. And since the judge was dismissed from his post it is only fair to assume that his viewpoint was not typical. It was, however, legal and it casts harsh light on legal methods and theory of that time. Any modern crime case will show how far we have come since then, but the contrast is especially sharp and the reason is manifest in the work of the RCMP's crime laboratories.

The Mounties have always used scientists to help solve crimes, but in 1937 the nearest thing they had to a lab was a bedroom beside the officers' mess in Regina. Here Dr. Maurice Powers, a medico-legal expert, made himself so indispensable with his microscopes and his test tubes that he was given his own laboratory, and four years later, in 1941, a second lab was set up in Ottawa — another reluctant concession to the age of the specialist.

By 1956, forty-six specialists — nineteen with science degrees — were available to examine scenes of crime and evidence for RCMP and other investigators. Under their smocks twenty-eight of them wore a Mountie's brown work uniform; the others were civilian members of the force and civil servants. Their director, James Churchman, a strapping gray-haired superintendent who served for years on detachment before he became a disciple of Powers, speaks of their work with measured enthusiasm: "Last year we handled 1300 cases. We traveled 280,000 miles, about eleven times around the world, to present our evidence in court." Churchman holds seminars on such subjects as "The Extraction and Purification of Toxicologically Important Drugs with Emphasis on Alkaloids," and encourages experiments to improve such techniques as lifting ink off paper, collecting dust for evidence, and raising die impressions on metal.

Most lab work is concerned with identifications: linking or disassociating something found at the scene of a crime with some particular suspect. An investigator sends in a murdered woman's dress along with a single broken fiber and wants to know if the fiber came from the dress. He sends in seeds, strands of hair, samples of grain, paint scrapings from the bumper of a suspected hit-and-run car. When an airman at Goose Bay, Labrador, suspected of rape, said he hadn't been near the place the girl was assaulted, a density comparison of the soil at the scene of the crime with the soil in his pant cuffs proved he was lying. "When a man stole grain in the old days," says a former head of the CIB, "we might go as far as identifying it as No. 3 Northern. Now we can determine its water content and trace it back."

In one case a farmer accused his next-door neighbor of maliciously shooting his cattle. A Mountie checked, found a cow with a hole in its leg, dug out the bullet and mailed it to the lab. Examination under a microscope showed the bullet had never been fired. It had been drawn from its case with pliers and scored with a knife. The farmer had cut the hole in the cow's leg himself and inserted the bullet to implicate his neighbor, whom he hated.

The microscope is the criminologist's right hand. Even dust is distinctive when highly magnified. It may contain particles of metal, glass, microbes, skin, feathers, larvae or vegetable matter. But the job takes skill. The expert must know how to contrast the background to bring out the detail— shape, marking and color. Often he must stain, bleach or dehydrate the exhibit. Sometimes he takes it down the hall to the chemist's bottle-lined lab and has it chemically fixed to keep it from shrinking.

The chemist is traditionally an expert on poisons. In an early lab case an Indian baby took ill and died. Neighbors said that the mother, a Mrs. Coocoose, had poisoned the child. The investigator found that just before the baby's death the mother had induced it to drink some liquid from a sea shell, water in which a powder had been dissolved. A pinch of the powder was sent to the lab in Regina. Lab director Maurice Powers, B.A., M.D., C.M., Sc.D., was unable to identify the powder. But he had a friend, an Indian medicine man, who gave him samples of Indian remedies, including poisons. A comparative analysis showed that

Mrs. Coocoose had given her baby a powder made from the root of the ratdesnake plant, a common Indian remedy for lowering a high temperature. Dr. Powers thus concluded that Mrs. Coocoose was telling the truth when she said that her baby had died from a natural illness.

The poison business has long been in a slump. As far back as the start of World War II the RCMP Gazette observed: "Murders by poison are becoming less frequent The administration of secret and deadly poisons was a very elaborate science in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and poisoners and distillers of dangerous draughts were a constant menace to human life in the Middle Ages . . . [but today] pathologists and police experts have so perfected their methods that the poison the criminal is able to obtain easily can infallibly be traced even long after the death of the victim."

Synthetic drugs, however, are making poison popular as a method of suicide, and with new drugs coming out every year their identification is difficult. Unless the chemist starts with a lead, he must run a long series of .tests. Each test reduces the number of possibilities but it also destroys a bit of the evidence, and the evidence is sometimes exhausted first. It is a myth that the chemist can analyze anything in any quantity, but, as the following examples show, his position has been improved by a couple of recent innovations.

A man was found dead in the lavatory of a Winnipeg restaurant. The cause of death could not be determined so police sent the stomach and organs to the RCMP's Regina lab. The chemist ran off the distillates first to see if the man had been poisoned by drinking lemon extract, antifreeze or alcohol. Then he put the solids through an ether wash and ended up with a puzzling smear of crystals in his beaker. He ground them, mounted a sample on a fiber, and placed it in the powder camera of what is called the X-ray diffraction unit. As the sample slowly revolved it was struck by X rays. The rays, reflecting off it onto a strip of sensitized film, created a highly distinctive pattern. This pattern was identified as one of the newer barbiturates.

In another typical case, a burglary, the telephone wires had been cut. A detective picked up a suspect who swore he hadn't been near the place. A knife was found in his pocket and sent to the lab. Its blade was faintly stained with bronze. An almost invisible speck of the substance was burned in the spectrograph, a large, delicate, $15,000 machine. As it burned it emitted a pattern of light that was automatically photographed, then compared with the known light patterns of metals. It showed the pattern for copper and tin, an alloy in telephone wire, which completed the case against the burglar.

In both these examples the evidence was too meager to test chemically. And in a profession where speed is all important, the spectrograph can contract a two-day series of chemical tests to half a day.

A large number of investigations revolve around "documents," a loose term that includes forged checks, libelous letters and holdup notes ("This is a holdup. Give me big bills."). In 1953 a Mountie investigating fraud in the government sent the document examiners seven looseleaf notebooks, 1547 worksheets and 249 typewritten pages.

Under a simple microscope they studied the characteristic slant, skips, spacing, pressure and proportion of the writing. They compared the distinctive defects of each typewriter used, the uneven wear of the type, the breaks in alignment. It took fourteen weeks of painstaking work to eliminate all the suspects except the guilty clerk.

Every year much money is burned, or claimed to be burned, in fires. Once fire broke out in a city treasurer's office just after the taxes had been collected. There were rumors that the treasurer had stolen the money, then started the fire to cover his theft. An investigator carefully collected the charred fragments of paper that remained in the treasurer's safe. The document experts placed them between two sensitized plates and kept them in darkness for two weeks. When the plates were developed they showed the inking of Bank of Canada notes, and when pieced together, accounted for the taxes that were missing. The treasurer was cleared and the bank replaced the money.

The physicist is fast expanding his role in criminology. In 1953, an army driver in the Maritimes crashed a Plymouth service car. He had skidded 72 feet on the highway, ploughed through a ditch, through 98 feet of swamp, smashed down a tree, then sailed through the air for another 32 feet — and he swore he had only been doing 45. It looked as though he'd be court-martialed till Ronald Rodgers, a young RCMP physicist, testified that the soldier, strange though it seemed, was telling the truth.

Rodgers had used calculus to find the speed required to throw the car 32 feet through the air. He'd reckoned the energy it would take to uproot the tree. He'd locked the brakes on a car of the same make and dragged it through swampy land back of the Ottawa crime lab to find the force needed to cross the swamp. The ditch was a problem of energy lost in falling. He had worked out the road skid and ended up with a speed of 46.5 miles per hour. The case against the soldier was dismissed.

The physicist is especially useful in cases that hinge on a bullet's angle of fire. During the summer of 1953 on a farm near Cobourg, a mother called her son, aged twenty, for tea. He didn't answer. She went outside to call him again and found him dead in the yard, shot through the chest. She called the Ontario Provincial Police. They recovered the bullet, a .22, then brought in all .22 rifles in the district for testing at the RCMP's Ottawa lab.

As the guns came in, Rodgers, the physicist, took them to the basement and fired them into a bullet-recovery tank designed by lab director Churchman. Back in his cubicle, Rodgers put the bullets under a microscope. Through the high-powered magnifying lens he could clearly see the tiny scratches and burrs left on the lead by the gun barrel. No two gun barrels in the world make the same marks. On his sixth test the markings were identical. Rodgers photographed the bullets through a microscope.

The gun belonged to a sixteen-year-old lad from a neighboring farm. The lad, frightened and grief-stricken, claimed that the dead boy had been his friend, that he had shot at a starling on a post in his own yard. Rodgers was asked to do a calculation on this statement.

At the inquest in a courthouse near Cobourg, Rodgers was called to the witness stand. "Did this bullet come from this gun?" asked the crown attorney, holding up the lad's .22.

"It did," Rodgers said. He showed his photographs of the bullets, enlarged about fifty times their actual size.

"Could this bullet reach from the spot this boy says he shot from to where the body was found?"

"Yes, sir. The bullet would reach that far if the gun barrel were elevated forty minutes, or two thirds of a degree above the line of sight. The elevation required to hit the bird would also be two thirds of a degree."

"And would the bullet still be traveling fast enough to cause death?"

"Yes, sir. When the bullet left the gun barrel it was traveling at fourteen hundred feet a second. By the time it traveled the entire distance, eight hundred feet, it was still traveling at eight hundred feet a second." Rodgers displayed a large chart illustrating the calculations he had used.

The jury foreman, an amateur ballistics student, interrupted. "Here's a ballistics table from a recognized book. You can see from this that the bullet wouldn't reach that far."

The hearing was moved to the scene of the killing. Rodgers put a card on the post where the bird was supposed to have been, and propped up a sheet of plywood where the dead boy had stood. Staff Sergeant William Sutherland, a champion rifle shot, fired the sixteen-year-old's rifle at the card. The bullet penetrated the plywood. The jury decided that death was accidental.

It is interesting to compare the plight of this lad, the soldier, the treasurer, the farmer's neighbor and Mrs. Coocoose with that of the baker in Judge Cambo's court. The jurists of Cambo's day placed great emphasis on the confession. They tended to assume a suspect guilty till proved innocent, by which they justified torture as a means of getting evidence. The advance of science has given judges confidence in the experts. It has enabled police to convict a criminal without a confession, which has led to the gradual abandonment of torture in its last and illegal form, the third degree. As scientific methods grow common in even minor cases, judges are demanding more and stronger evidence, and while the guilty may sometimes go free it becomes increasingly difficult to convict an innocent person.

In this process the lab man contributes more to his force than new techniques. The scientific method is more a way of looking at things than the use of any particular instrument. The scientists bring to their work a devotion to objectivity. They have reinforced the police ideal with the scientific tradition. In the scientific tradition truth is pursued disinterestedly, as a value in itself, the manifestation of reality.


AT two o'clock in the morning the ringing of the tele-XJL phone awakened Superintendent Donald McKinnon, head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Newfoundland. He recognized the voice at once. It was Premier Joseph Smallwood, the pint-sized political giant who ruled the island with irrepressible zeal.

"Could you come to my office right away? It's urgent!" the premier said.

When McKinnon arrived the premier was pacing his room. Smallwood was perturbed, subdued. His career was at a crossroads. Four years before, in 1950, he had hired a brilliant Latvian-born economist, Dr. Alfred Valdmanis, to direct an industrial renaissance. Now he wanted the RCMP to investigate this man whom he had made his closest confidant, the second most powerful man in the province. Smallwood, the hard-headed ex-farmer, ex-labor leader, ex-radio commentator, father of confederation with Canada, the brash bustling prophet of industrial prosperity, idol and oracle of the poor, was convinced that the fate of his government hung upon this investigation.

Smallwood had come into power on a promise to cure his people of their chronic poverty by bringing new industry to the island. A year's effort had blunted the edge of his optimism. He had spent a million dollars on a survey of resources but Canadian and U.S. businessmen wouldn't give it more than a glance. He was willing to gamble the cash in his treasury, forty-three million dollars, and his own political future on some government-sponsored industries, but he couldn't find an economist willing to risk his reputation on such an unorthodox escapade.

In May 1950, Smallwood paid a visit to Trade Minister C. D. Howe in Ottawa. One of Mr. Howe's staff told him that Dr. Alfred Valdmanis, a part-time government adviser on trade and immigration, might be the man he was looking for.

Valdmanis at this time was forty-one. He had been born in Riga, son of a high school principal, a serious man who would not allow his son a toy but who taught him to read and write before his fourth birthday. In World War I, when Alfred was seven, the Germans overran Latvia and took his father away. Enfeebled by TB and tension, Alfred, the oldest of five children, hustled to help earn the family's food in his after-school hours.

His school work caught the eye of the government. Faced with a shortage of leaders, they picked seven hundred boys, the brightest in the land, for special training. Every term they were reselected. By 1929 only a dozen were left. Alfred Valdmanis was one. He won degrees in philosophy, law and economics. He mastered five foreign languages. He sat in the Reichsbank, a young apprentice, and watched the financial wizard, Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, gear the Nazi economy for war. He studied industries in a dozen European countries and set up similar industries in Latvia. Valdmanis was the boy wonder of European finance and at twenty-nine, his dress suit studded with decorations, he took over Latvia's Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry.

In 1940 the Russians marched in. They shot all cabinet ministers except Valdmanis, who was jailed for two weeks, then released. According to the author of Dianas Baltas Nibaltos, they had found him an "honest man" — and a useful one, for they made him head of planning for the Commissar of Light Industry. The following year, when the Germans drove out the Russians, Valdmanis fled, but returned — he says — to lead the Latvian underground, though papers released by the Latvian Legation at Washington state that he served in the Nazi regime as Director General of Justice. In any case, he ended the war in Germany as one of the Nazis' senior economists. He had survived and impressed both the Russians and the Germans; now he won the confidence of the Allies, first on Montgomery's staff, then Eisenhower's, then as director of planning for the International Refugee Organization in Geneva. In July 1948 he brought his wife and five children to Canada, where at Ottawa's Carleton College he taught political economy to students awed by the crisp ring of authority in his voice.

Smallwood, reading Valdmanis's personnel file, was intrigued. He invited Valdmanis to dinner in his suite in the Chateau Laurier. As Smallwood outlined the challenge he was sizing up his guest, a boyishly handsome man with an athletic carriage. He was charming, at his ease, deferential yet reserved in a manner that implied strength of character. He had assurance. His small firm mouth shaped his thoughts with incisive clarity. In Latvia, he said, he had solved many problems similar to Newfoundland's. Smallwood quickened to the latent power of the man. After dinner he hired him at ten thousand dollars a year.

In remarkably little time Valdmanis laid on the premier's desk a plan to build three government-owned plants — cement, plaster and plywood — solidly based on Newfoundland's natural resources. He knew German firms, he said, that would build these plants cheaply and quickly.

He also knew German firms that might be persuaded to move to Newfoundland. He had many contacts in Europe, he claimed.

They flew to Europe that summer of 1950, the premier, Valdmanis and Attorney General Leslie Curtis. Curtis had been skeptical of Valdmanis's claims. His attitude changed as they toured factories in Sweden and Germany. These big efficient plants were clearly doing a world-wide business. Their directors, men of large affairs, greeted Valdmanis respectfully. "Why, he knows everybody!" Curtis marveled.

Valdmanis also knew how some of his German friends were thinking. They headed potential war industries. Their output was restricted. If Russia moved into West Germany, as many feared it might, their firms would be taken over. In Newfoundland, if war came, the risk would be less. Unfortunately, they were banned from taking capital out of Germany.

Valdmanis worked out a scheme whereby Smallwood would loan Canadian dollars to any companies that wished to emigrate. The loans would match the value of the equipment they landed in Newfoundland. Happily, Small-wood signed contracts that would bring in a leather tannery, a leather goods factory, a cotton mill and a heavy-machinery plant.

This machinery plant, ostensibly Swiss, in reality was a branch of the huge German firm, Miag. It was Miag that Valdmanis now selected to build his cement plant. As Smallwood was later to understand, a plan had been shaping in Valdmanis's mind for some time around this deal.

On this three-million-dollar contract he was pinning his hopes for wealth.

Accompanied by Attorney General Curtis and the premier, Valdmanis walked into the big Miag board room. He sat down at the board table across from the Miag negotiator. As the only man in the Newfoundland party who understood German, all authority for this deal was vested in him. A few feet away, Smallwood and Curtis were talking in English with several other Miag directors. The negotiations went smoothly. Hearing his name mentioned, Smallwood looked up and smiled.

Valdmanis at that moment was explaining to the German that if this deal went through there would, of course, be a commission, the customary ten per cent, payable to the treasurer of Mr. Smallwood's party. The two men returned the premier's smile.

The Miag negotiator nodded. He had not expected this from Canadians but he was not surprised. He had operated this way for years in Latin America. "How do we pay the money?" he asked.

As Smallwood later understood it, Valdmanis replied, "You will pay it to me in Newfoundland, in Canadian funds, as you receive the payments on your loan. Mr. Smallwood's name must not come into it, of course." Again the two men exchanged smiles with the premier. "—I wouldn't even mention it to him if I were you. He likes to pretend that these things don't exist."

With equal aplomb a like transaction was carried off in the board room of Benno Schilde, another big German machinery firm. Valdmanis awarded them a two and a half million dollar contract to build the gypsum plant. The commission was to be $200,000.

Miag started construction on the cement plant that fall, Benno Schilde a few months later. Smallwood was delighted to see his dream taking shape in concrete. He gave Valdmanis unstinted praise for his planning and bargaining. When a crown corporation was set up to manage the cement plant, he named it the North Star Cement Company in honor of this genius who wore on his lapel Sweden's Order of the North Star.

Equally impressed, a U.S. steel corporation offered Valdmanis fifty thousand dollars a year and a vice-presidency. Smallwood raised Valdmanis's salary to $25,000 a year, an extraordinary sum in this low-salaried island. The premier countered criticism by vowing that Valdmanis was "worth his weight in gold to Newfoundland."

The following year Valdmanis sold eight more German industries on the move to Newfoundland. Critics charged that he was "flooding Newfoundland with Nazis." He became the central issue of 1951's bitter election. He was called the Quisling of Latvia, a friend of Hitler, a mass murderer of Jews — a repetition of charges made in Europe by Communists in their usual attempt to discredit potential enemies. For it was Valdmanis's constant ambition, the great dream of his life, to return to a free Latvia as president.

Smallwood branded the charges as "foul, malicious and utterly false." Valdmanis, he said, had been checked by British Military Intelligence, the RCMP, and twice by U.S. Army Intelligence. "Some day the people of Newfoundland will raise a monument to him [Valdmanis]," Joey Smallwood proclaimed. "If I lost him I would not want to be premier." And whatever Newfoundland citizens might feel about losing Valdmanis, the thought of losing Joey was unbearable. In every district except St. John's they voted him back to power.

Now Smallwood began his big pitch to bring in not only industry, but capital. He set up a development company, the Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, and gave it timber, mineral and water rights over an empire of thirty-two thousand square miles. Its chairman was the fabulous financier Sir William Stephenson, who formulated policy in New York. But the real ruler was president Alfred Valdmanis.

Valdmanis was now the industrial boss of Newfoundland, one of the highest-paid men in Canadian public life. Latvians throughout Canada looked up to him and he had the respect of the island's growing community of Germans, who, when they wanted something, called "the Doctor." He had even more power, more latitude of action, than he had had as Latvia's finance minister. People spoke of the "Smallwood-Valdmanis government."

Only his lack of popularity marred Valdmanis's prospects. Behind his back, his colleagues called him "fiihrer," "dictator," "czar." It did not seem to help that he could trim them at tennis or bridge and play the piano with style. They were, perhaps, inclined to resent a foreigner anyway, and one whose salary was larger than theirs was particularly suspect. They mistrusted the sincerity of his modest, winning manner and noted that his courtliness did not extend to his staff. Finance Minister Gregory Power, a lean dark saturnine man, did not even attempt to disguise his distrust; more than once he urged Smallwood to get rid of Valdmanis.

But the busy premier saw only a man whose labors from morning till midnight had wrought a miracle: a dozen new industries paying out wages, bringing in money; a dozen mining companies scouring the hinterland. Valdmanis, he felt, was a great man. He would not brook criticism of him. He gave him unquestioning loyalty, absolute authority. In 1952, when a U.S. correspondent asked the premier how his industrial program was shaping up, Small-wood replied, "Hell, I don't know. Ask Valdmanis!"

Yet even Smallwood noticed that Valdmanis seemed troubled — though the doctor passed it off as overwork. Sometimes, in Smallwood's office, he would raise his hands to his head in a gesture theatrical yet distraught. "I'm tired, my Premier," he would blurt. "I cannot sleep. I think sometimes I am going mad." He was subject to violent headaches. He used huge amounts of aspirin. He regularly took sleeping pills. On one occasion he called up his brother Osvald in Montreal and said he was going to shoot himself.

Whatever it was that distracted Valdmanis so desperately, it was slowly destroying his judgment, that superb capacity for clear cold analysis. He made his first grave error early in 1953. Sir William Stephenson, for personal reasons, resigned as chairman of the Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation and Valdmanis accepted an invitation to take his place. He decided also to quit as the government's economic director and to move the corporation's head office from St. John's to Montreal. It seemed a harmless decision but it had two fatal defects: it encouraged Valdmanis to overestimate himself while weakening the source of his importance: his value to the premier.

Smallwood had been disappointed that Valdmanis had not brought his family to St. John's. Valdmanis explained that one of his children had a spinal condition that needed the constant care of a specialist. Smallwood felt that the explanation was less than the whole truth and when Valdmanis told him he himself was quitting St. John's, the premier was vexed and upset. Again he could not dispute the reason; Montreal was the logical base for a big-time promoter. But in his heart the premier felt that Valdmanis had deserted him, that having begun these new industries he had run off, leaving him, Smallwood, to struggle alone with their problems.

He told Valdmanis as much one day. "But, my Premier!" Valdmanis protested, "You know I am at your beck and call any hour of the day or night."

"Yes," Smallwood said drily, "on your infrequent visits to Newfoundland."

Now Smallwood noted other flaws in his paragon. When it came Valdmanis's turn to pick up a restaurant check he would frequently contrive to be in the washroom. Often he would neglect to leave a tip for the waitress and Small-wood would reach across the table surreptitiously and place a couple of coins beside his plate. He found it irritating. The honeymoon of the premier and the economist was over.

III early February of 1954, Smallwood received several visitors, officials of the Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation. The secretary-treasurer, Ronald Turta, drew some papers from his briefcase. He laid them on the desk in front of Smallwood. The premier shuffled through them. They were expense accounts made out by Alfred Valdmanis and charged to the government-controlled corporation. There were bills receipted by Montreal's Mount Royal Hotel that included costly C.O.D. trinkets from Morgan's and Birks. There was a bill for a high-priced car, brand new, and two months later, a bill for four new tires. Among the furniture bills for the new Montreal office was one for a five-hundred-dollar antique clock.

Smallwood looked up aghast. "Why, he must have furnished that place like an Indian maharajah!"

•That's not all," said Turta. Valdmanis's pay had been boosted at the time he moved up from corporation president to chairman — from $25,000 a year to $30,000. For some months, through a bookkeeping error, he had received two checks, his old salary as well as his new one. Incredibly, he had kept them both.

The disclosure roused a mixture of emotions in the premier. He was hurt that Valdmanis had let him down, indignant at his dishonesty, and saddened by the thought of what he must do.

Valdmanis was due in St. John's the following day. As soon as he telephoned, Smallwood said curtly, "Come on over. I want to talk to you." He replaced the phone and asked his secretary to tell Finance Minister Gregory Power to come in right away.

Valdmanis burst into the premier's office exuding purposeful energy. He greeted the two men jauntily, his hand outstretched to the premier. Smallwood affected not to see it. Valdmanis stepped across the room to shake hands with Gregory Power. Power ignored him. Valdmanis's eyes became cautious, alert.

"Sit down," Smallwood said harshly, "I want to tell you a few things." He ticked off on his fingers the items Valdmanis had charged. "Now I want your resignation and I want it right away, and I want that money repaid before you go."

Valdmanis stared at the premier. The blood drained from his features. Then he buried his face in his hands.

Smallwood stared at the abject figure in the chair. He could not help but pity him. "Why, man?" he burst out. "Why did you do it?"

Valdmanis did not answer. For ten long minutes he sat with his face hidden, silent. Not until later did Small-wood realize that he was not grieving but thinking, wondering how much the premier knew. Finally he raised his head and said dully, "All right. I will do whatever you wish."

Only two or three people saw Valdmanis off at the airport, though his name had been a household word in St. John's. Reporters had taken his resignation at face value, knowing that he had bought a large fish plant in New Brunswick and presuming that he wished to enter private industry. Only Smallwood seemed moved at the parting. As he gave the press Valdmanis's letter of resignation he could not forbear one final compliment. "Newfoundland," he said, "will not soon again see so remarkable a man as Alfred Valdmanis." In a few weeks he would know just how remarkable Valdmanis was. Offstage, another chain of events was fast approaching a climax.

It had begun in Germany. Smallwood had admired the plant of Benno Schilde, the firm with which Valdmanis had made his deal on the gypsum mill contract. The premier wanted Benno Schilde to open a branch plant in Newfoundland, and in late 1953, Dr. Hubertus Herz, head of the firm, agreed to put up a plant at Bay Roberts if Smallwood would help with a $150,000 loan.

The loan was made and Valdmanis, to whom Benno Schilde still owed $20,000 "commission," saw that now, while the firm was flush with Canadian dollars, was the opportune time to collect. When the premier left after Christmas for a holiday in Jamaica, Valdmanis, in Montreal, phoned Herz in Germany. Smallwood, he told Herz, was pressing him for the $20,000. Herz had better fly over with it right away.

Herz did not want Smallwood pressuring him just then. His firm had not yet begun work on the branch plant. It looked as if the plant would cost more than he'd thought. He needed time to consider the whole thing carefully. He flew over and paid Valdmanis the money.

Smallwood, knowing nothing of this, came bustling back from vacation. He noted that Benno Schilde had made no move to fulfill the bargain. "Write them a letter," he snapped to his assistant. "Make it stiff. If they're not going to build that plant they can give us our money back."

Dr. Herz must have read and reread this letter with amazement. He had, he thought, just paid the premier off. He flew back to Newfoundland for a chat with his resident manager, who first made some discreet inquiries, then called on Smallwood.

"Mr. Premier," he said, "I think you should know that over the past three years Dr. Alfred Valdmanis collected $200,000 from our firm in your name!"

Smallwood stared at him. He could not believe it. Later that night Herz told him the details and promised to put them in writing. It was early morning when Herz left. Smallwood sat in his office alone and faced what he has since called "one of the hardest decisions I shall probably ever be called upon to make." As he afterwards said, "I have six brothers and seven sisters, and I never loved one of them as I loved that man."

It was not only a personal blow, he was facing political death. The exposure of Valdmanis could ruin his career and his party's future. He was sorely tempted to drop the whole affair. Valdmanis had given Newfoundland much more than he had taken and in all probability nothing more would ever be heard of it.

At 2 a.m. Smallwood had made his decision. He telephoned Superintendent McKinnon. When McKinnon had heard him out, Smallwood hesitated, then said, "I'd like you to do me a favor."

"Anything in my power," the Mountie said.

"Find that money. For God's sake, find that money! If you don't, not all the water in the ocean can wash me clean. Valdmanis can say he was acting for me. Who would believe that he wasn't?"

"We'll do our best," McKinnon said. The investigation — in St. John's, Montreal, New York and Germany — was conducted with the utmost secrecy. The police and the premier were certain that if Valdmanis caught the least hint that he was under suspicion, he and the money would vanish, and with it Smallwood's reputation. Only the premier, Dr. Herz, his Newfoundland-based manager, and Attorney General Curtis knew that the life of the government might now rest upon the skill and caution of the Mounties, and law enforcement agencies in Germany and the United States.

At 5 a.m. on the morning of April 24, Smallwood routed Canadian Press reporter Stewart MacLeod out of bed to give him this statement:

The RCMP arrested Dr. Alfred Valdmanis in New Brunswick early today. ... He is being brought to St. John's by the RCMP to stand trial on charges preferred against him by me that he extorted very large sums of money from various firms with whom he dealt in behalf of the Government of Newfoundland. These sums run into many hundreds of thousands of dollars. . . . My decision to bring about the arrest of Alfred Valdmanis was the most unpleasant duty I have ever had to perform and it will always be for me a matter of intense regret that one with his great talents should have to face such charges.

This statement was at once augmented by Malcolm Hol-lett, leader of the Progressive-Conservative opposition party, who said that "the real defendant must undoubtedly be Premier Smallwood and his entire cabinet." In the

House of Assembly the opposition clamored happily for Joey Smallwood's resignation.

Smallwood met the issue squarely. "I, and I alone," he reminded the legislators, "am responsible for the fact that Dr. Valdmanis lies in jail. . . . When I had [him] arrested I took my political life in my hands. . . ." Unless the money had been recovered, he said, "I would live and die . . . and after me, my children — would live with the name Smallwood the grafter, Smallwood the robber. . . ."

Outside the House the premier's nerves showed the strain. "Frankly," he barked at a journalist, "I don't give a tinker's curse what the papers say — the St. John's papers or the mainland papers — it couldn't matter less to me. ... I certainly have nothing to lose politically over Valdmanis." Mr. Smallwood was not sleeping well. All the money was not yet accounted for.

Valdmanis, in jail, still held the winning cards. He wept as he told Toronto Telegram columnist Allan Kent that he felt "a great hopelessness" about his chance to defend himself adequately. His private papers, he claimed, had been seized by police or had "disappeared." He called his arrest a "misunderstanding." He pictured his disillusionment on discovering that the charges against him were laid by Premier Smallwood, "the one man I thought I could trust — my friend that I thought would help me out." Falling silent, then looking up with a sad bright smile of apology, he said, "You know, when I first came to Newfoundland, the premier told me that I'd do the work and he'd do the talking. I've always tried to keep it that way — but I just don't know where I am now." He waxed ironic: "You know, I've had one election fought over me in Newfoundland. Now I guess I'll have another."

With this veiled warning, Valdmanis, though a weary, nerve-sick man, capped a skillful dress rehearsal of the role he could play: the bewildered henchman taking the rap for a double-crossing boss. Valdmanis did not believe that his friends in Germany would prosecute and he did not think Smallwood would dare.

In the meantime, Inspector Cecil Bayfield had traced the commissions Valdmanis received to a New York bank. He found deposits totaling $470,000, the sum that the German police said Miag and Benno Schilde had paid. Had the doctor left this cash in the bank he still could have claimed that he had merely deposited it for Smallwood. But Bayfield found no money in his safety deposit box, only a sheaf of slips that recorded his purchases of stock. It had been more than Valdmanis could bear to leave so much money idle.

A chartered accountant from headquarters, Sergeant Edgar Murray, painstakingly tracked down every purchase of stock, verifying the fact that Valdmanis had bought it. Murray did not recover the shares, which may have been sent out of the country, but he managed to account for all but a few hundred dollars of the entire $470,000.

But Smallwood was still in danger. Anywhere but St. John's, he felt, Valdmanis's conviction would have been certain. But he could choose trial by jury and St. John's, a Conservative stronghold, was chock-full of Smallwood enemies.

On the day of the hearing crowds surrounded the old rock-walled courthouse for a glimpse of the celebrated "doctor." Two red-coated Mounties ushered him in. Before Chief Justice Sir Alfred Walsh, Valdmanis bowed his head and whispered hoarsely, "My plea is guilty, your Honor." Sternly, Sir Alfred sentenced him to four years in the penitentiary. Reporters were dumfounded. Why had he changed his plea?

Valdmanis had once more tried for too much. While in custody he had written to a friend in Germany. He had asked this man to contact the heads of Miag and Benno Schilde. Valdmanis wanted them to say that the money they had paid him — the $470,000 — was a legal commission. The letter was intercepted and came to Attorney General Curtis, who saw at once that Smallwood at last was safe. The letter was, in effect, an admission of guilt. Confronted with this overwhelming piece of evidence, Valdmanis decided to try for a lighter sentence by pleading guilty.

The important thing now was to get the money back. Valdmanis had offered to make restitution as far as he was able. But his assets were disappointing: $50,000 in stock, a draft for $10,000, a $50,000 stake in the New Brunswick fish plant, about $110,000 in all. Where was the rest of the money, some $360,000? The question has never been answered.

The pressures on the investigators in this case were exceptional. They might have begun their investigation from either of two set points of view: disbelief in the guilt of a man so highly respected as Valdmanis, or belief that he must be guilty because the ^premier of Newfoundland said so.

Either opinion could have led them to disregard those facts that did not support their preconceived view. The success of their evidence was due, at least in part, to a certain clarity of mind, a freedom that derives less from intelligence than from training.


FRANK DECHEVERRY sauntered down the street that leads to Montreal's Central Station. He could sense the eyes that were watching him from the cover of the traffic. When he turned his head he could see from the corner of his eye the black-robed figure of the priest. Somewhere behind the priest, he knew, was a thick-set, round-faced man whose gun scarcely bulged his elegant tailoring.

It had taken DeCheverry six months to lure this man to the trap that was ready now, this bright September morning, to spring. He would know in the next few minutes whether the time, the risk and the many thousands of dollars had been wasted, or whether he had captured the brains of the biggest wholesale drug ring in the realm of the RCMP.

Constable Frank DeCheverry was one of the CIB men whose job is to keep the drug traffic in check. Canada has only three to five thousand addicts but they are a far graver problem than their numbers indicate. With few exceptions they are criminals. They cannot hold a job. Their entire existence becomes a search for narcotics. The addict becomes a pickpocket, sneak thief, burglar, shoplifter, forger or pimp. Women usually become prostitutes.

These are no ordinary criminals. Their habit, requiring a larger and larger drug dosage, drives them. According to one survey, only 2 per cent of the shoplifters in chain stores are addicts, but those 2 per cent steal 96 per cent of the value of goods stolen. The amount of money they siphon off from society is staggering, for the drug they take costs them more than one hundred times its weight in gold.

The drug is heroin, an opium derivative, less bulky, more powerful than either opium or morphine. Legally, an ounce of heroin sells for from $10 to $12. But an addict pays from $3 to $10 for one grain. This grain is invariably adulterated by 50 per cent. There are 437 grains in one ounce. That means that an ounce, pure, by the time it has passed along its intricate underworld supply route, brings from $2500 to $8500!

This incredible profit is reaped by a network of criminals equally incredible. The individual drug racketeer has gone with the opium den. The traffic is controlled today by "syndicates" headed by the kind of man that Frank DeCheverry was stalking: clever, suave, quiet, but beneath the veneer of good manners, as vicious and dangerous as any old-time gangster.

The name itself — syndicate—suggests the new approach. The syndicate bosses employ accountants and lawyers. They pay their employees scaled salaries or commissions. They operate as efficiently as any modern business — except that their business is crime.

Cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver may have several syndicates. They compete by raising the quality of their product or cutting the price, like any other business firm. No one man controls them all, a common misappre^ hension. Neither are they controlled from the United States, though the U.S. syndicates often contribute capital.

The syndicates with the main retail outlets are in Vancouver, which has nearly half the addicts in Canada. The addicts buy from a street peddler, or "pusher," who is frequently an addict himself. A pusher will service fifteen or twenty addicts. He, in turn, gives his order to a "front-end" who tells his pushers where to find the constantly changing street caches. Behind the front-end is a "backend," who cuts the drug with sugar of milk to help the profit along, "caps" it (puts a grain in a gelatine capsule), and caches it in packages of twenty-five to fifty caps. Only the back-end, as a rule, knows the big boss, the "connection."

The connection DeCheverry was hunting headed what might be called the drug department of his particular syndicate, a wholesale operation and therefore simpler in structure than a retail organization. He had several associates in Montreal, racketeers who backed him with money in return for a share of the profits but whose main interest was gambling.

Montreal is Canada's main wholesale drug center. The Montreal rings have contacts in New York, the continent's main port of entry for heroin. The New York connections have agents in southern Europe. They buy from illegal factories or overproducing legal plants. These factories distill morphine and heroin from raw opium. The illegal opium is smuggled in, usually by sea, from the poppy-growing lands of the Near and Far East.

It is only once a year, occasionally twice, that the RCMP can reach behind the addicts to the men who control the traffic. These men know every trick of the federal police. They lurk back in the shadows and let their front men take the risk. It had taken DeCheverry four months to even learn that the Montreal connection existed and even after the man was known, the Montreal drug squad, for whom DeCheverry was only the spearhead, had still to get evidence that would stand up in court against cross-examination by the defense.

The investigation was a psychological drama with overtones of danger, the dialogue mainly a clash of wits between four members of the incongruous cast: DeCheverry, a secret agent named Papillon, a canny sociable racketeer, and a priest. But this dialogue was in large part prepared off* stage, on one side by the two plainclothes men who directed DeCheverry, on the other by the syndicate boss. These were the real protagonists, unknown strangers probing in the dark for each other's weaknesses, working from experience and reports. And, in the background, the inevitable minor characters: the special informants, the strong-arm men, a shady businessman from Quebec City and the pretty buxom mistress of a call house.

It had begun with an RCMP constable, Ross Andrews. At 27, Andrews was an old hand in the drug squad, a big, relaxed, clear-thinking plainclothes man. He had good contacts among the addicts in Montreal. One day in January 1949 he picked up a tip that Jean-Claude Lapres was wholesaling narcotics in a big way.

Andrews was well acquainted with "Johnny" Lapres, a cagy racketeer on the fringe of the big time, a dealer in high-grade gold and a former counterfeiter. In April, Andrews had his chance. A Quebec City businessman came into the Montreal CIB office. This man — we will call him Andr6 Houle — was involved in several borderline business transactions and he wanted the Mounties' goodwill. He knew an associate of Lapres and he offered to introduce him to an RCMP undercover man.

The chance was too good to let go. Andrews's boss, Inspector Wilson Brady, brought in a reserve constable. He met Lapres's associate and confirmed the rumor that Lapres had a large amount of heroin. But the strain of playing a double role before such a hard-eyed audience was too much for his nerves. At the end of two days his hands shook when he lit a cigarette. It was too tough a job for an inexperienced man. Inspector Brady withdrew him before he was discovered.

This effort, while abortive, uncovered a fantastic fact. Lapres's front man was a priest, Abb6 Joseph Arthur Tail-lefer. He was trafficking in stolen bonds, counterfeit money, black market gasoline and alcohol, as well as drugs.

The bonds appeared to be the loot from some bank holdups in Ontario. Brady approached the Royal Bank with this news. A head-office official, Cleo Fee, offered to put up $3500 toward the expense of what Brady warned RCMP headquarters might be "a long and costly operation . . . having in mind the scale on which these people operate."

The investigation was put in charge of Raoul Carriere, an intense, bright, hard-working corporal. Ross Andrews, the drug squad veteran, was assigned to assist him. They were to be the brain trust of the case.

As they waited for CIB headquarters to find them a man who could work undercover, Frank DeCheverry, a hefty, dark-haired, good-looking constable, was transferred to Montreal from Quebec City. He was shrewd, quick-witted, self-assured and single. Most of his adult life had been spent in the Air Force and the RCMP. But he acted and looked like a man who had been around — with money in his pocket. And, most imperative, he was a Catholic. Corporal Carriere asked Inspector Brady to let headquarters know that they had found their man in their own division.

Carriere and Andrews spent days preparing DeCheverry's fictitious background. He had to be a French-speaking out-of-towner who knew Montreal. He had to have a reason for acting mysterious and for having no permanent address the mob could check on. Looking ahead to the give-and-take of negotiation, he had to have a good job, something to lose by trusting the syndicate. They decided to make him a secret inspector for a hotel chain, a man who traveled from coast to coast sizing up the service in competing hotels.

Now they had to have someone to introduce him. Andr6 Houle, the Quebec City businessman, had fallen out with Lapres. Lapres's men had threatened to have Houle "beat up and left in a ditch." Carriere and Andrews pressed Houle to name someone else. He suggested another Quebec City man who did odd jobs for him, Henri-Paul Papillon. Papil-lon had met the priest through Houle.

Corporal Carriere checked on Papillon. He had six children and needed money badly. He was ex-Army Provost Corps and had no criminal record, no trade, no regular employment. He looked good. On April 11, Carriere called him long-distance. He appealed to Papillon's sense of duty, adding that the Royal Bank would guarantee his expenses and, if the bonds were recovered, he could claim a reward. Papillon agreed to catch the Montreal train that afternoon.

Carriere at once booked two adjoining rooms in the Mount Royal hotel. On the stationery of various first-class hotels across the country, Andrews and his wife composed letters hinting of shady deals and promiscuity. Andrews knew that the wily Lapres would search DeCheverry's room and these letters would begin to fill in DeCheverry's counterfeit character. DeCheverry, who had never worked undercover before, went downtown and bought a light blue suit to match his new personality, neither flashy nor conservative.

Papillon, their secret agent (an RCMP term), met them in DeCheverry's room that night, a thin wiry man with a little mustache.

"This is Frank Martin," Carriere said, indicating DeCheverry. "He's a fast-buck operator who talks of Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Toronto and the States. He's fixed you up with black market coupons during the war. That's all you know about him, except that he's flush and he's interested in B and H [bonds and heroin]. Don't forget, we want notes on everything that's said and done."

Carriere glanced around the room, at the telegrams and the bottle of Scotch on the dresser, the barely visible letters in DeCheverry's bathrobe pocket. "Are we all set?"

DeCheverry nodded. But, as he cleaned his teeth that night, he was shocked to see stamped on his toothbrush the initials "RCMP." A detail had almost tripped them up before they had begun.

In the morning Papillon went to St. Madeleine d'Outre-mont Parish to call on the Abbe Taillefer. The abbe, in his late forties, was a sallow dark-haired man with a manner faintly harassed. Even in his priest's robes he was thin, almost fragile. He was reputed to be a dynamic preacher.

"I have stopped working for Andre Houle, I have a new client," Papillon told him. The Quebec city businessman had tried to cheat him, he said. He described DeCheverry. "A little commission in B and H would suit me fine, Father."

The abbe promised to talk with "Johnny," the shrewd and convivial Lapres, for whom he fronted. At 8:30 that night Lapres came into the hotel lobby, a medium-sized man, sharply dressed. He had sensual lips, a prominent nose, and heavy-lidded, nearsighted eyes. He was a man who thought nothing of dropping five thousand dollars in one night of gambling, or of borrowing five dollars to eat on the next day. He was only 32 but he had been in the rackets a long time. He was very cunning, very wary. But Papillon was persuasive. "All right, I'll deal," Lapres said finally, "as long as you don't introduce me to a horseman [meaning a Mountie]."

Up in the room, DeCheverry poured a couple of rounds of drinks and Lapres began to relax. "What do you want?" he asked DeCheverry. "I've got everything — gold, diamonds . . ."

"How much H can you give me?" DeCheverry asked.

"Any amount. Up to 120 — pounds, not ounces." Lapres liked to impress people, he was a man who bought fifty-dollar shirts. But if what he said was only one tenth true, he had an enormous supply.

"Is it pure?" asked DeCheveny.

"Everybody I do business with, they come back for more, that's how pure it is." Lapres turned wary. "Who's it for? Yourself?"

"Hell, no," DeCheverry said. He knew what was wrong. He was too keyed up, like an actor on opening night.

"I don't know how he figures he's going to tell the stuff if he doesn't use it," Lapres said in a sneering aside to Papillon.

"I got ways," DeCheverry said, forcing himself to be offhand. "You sell me an ounce, I'll get it checked in an hour. This is no deal for a chocolate bar."

"Okay. You've got identification? Driver's license? Letters?"

"I don't carry that kind of stuff on a deal like this," said DeCheverry. His instructions had been to let Lapres find out who he was for himself.

They continued to spar. Lapres showed a scar on his head which he said he had got by not being careful.

"You think you got something?" DeCheverry said. He pointed to his jaw, broken by the kick of a horse during RCMP training. "I been crossed too."

Finally the racketeer agreed to get the heroin. Papillon left with him; DeCheverry was pretending not to trust the secret agent. But Lapres didn't pick up the drugs. He took Papillon into a tavern. He tried to get him drunk. He kept asking questions about DeCheverry. "You see how he's dressed?" he said. "No flash. No stones. You sure he's not one of those goddamned horsemen?" Papillon told the Mounties about it when he got back to the room, half drunk, in the early morning.

"It's time to show him some money," Corporal Carriere decided. Cleo Fee, the Royal Bank official, had agreed to deposit $35,000 in a safety-deposit box in DeCheverry's cover name "Frank Martin" in the main branch of the Royal Bank.

Next day DeCheverry took the racketeer in a cab to the bank. Fee himself ushered them into the vault. DeCheverry unlocked the safety-deposit box. "I'm the kind of a guy who deals in cash," he told Lapres. "You want to see money? Look at that. There. You see what I got?"

Lapres's eyes were bulging. "Feel the stuff," DeCheverry said, carried away by his role. "You know counterfeit money. What's this?" He picked up a packet, riffled it grandiosely, and almost fainted away. Between a sandwich of real bills there was nothing but blank paper. (Carriere had padded out the $35,000 and neglected to mention it to DeCheverry.) Lapres had noticed nothing. "Get your paws off," DeCheverry snapped- "Now you know how I do business."

Back in the hotel cocktail lounge, waiting for Papillon, Lapres's caution struggled with his greed. "Let's get rid of Papillon," DeCheverry suggested. "I know he's getting a cut. Give him a little money and he'll just spend it on flash like all the rest of the cheap punks."

Papillon joined them. Excusing himself to go to the bathroom, DeCheverry called the two RCMP strategists, who were waiting in the room next to his.

"You're fed up," Andrews instructed him. "That's your line now."

In the lounge the racketeer was saying to Papillon: "Martin's trying to cross you up. I think he's a flic. Look at the steel on his heels. Look at his belt. You think a guy with dough would wear a cheap belt like that?"

"I think you should have his room searched," Papillon said, feigning fright. The skinny secret agent was proving exceptionally cool-headed. Lapres had no suspicions whatever about him.

DeCheverry came back to the lounge. "I figure I'm getting the run-around," he told the racketeer. "I produce money and what do you produce — nothing but arguments."

"You produce a right guy that knows you," said Lapres, "and I'll get you the stuff tonight."

"I'll see," DeCheverry said. Again he left the lounge and called the room. "We can't set that up by phone," Carriere told him. DeCheverry came back to the table and said that his friend had been out. Lapres refused to talk business. DeCheverry stood up. "I'm cutting out," he said. "You're taking me for a sucker."

Next day DeCheverry checked out of the hotel and Papillon told Abb6 Taillefer and Lapres that DeCheverry didn't like the way they did business. The racketeer shrugged. "If he's a horseman, it doesn't matter. If not, hell be back."

Carriere and Andrews, the backroom psychologists, decided to feed the syndicate a little more information. A week later, Papillon arranged for DeCheverry to call the priest.

On the telephone, the abb£ was nervous. He asked for DeCheverry's solemn word that everything was all right. "You're not a Mountie, my son?"

"Oh no, Father," DeCheverry said. "God forbid." The abb6 promised to see him the following day.

The Mountie met the priest in the presbytery parlor with its big, solid, old-fashioned furniture. "I respect your position, Father," DeCheverry said. "You must also realize my position. I'm out to make a buck like you, but I have a good job too." He explained his hotel connection. "I'm not going to let some two-bit punk like Lapres foul things up." The abbe's nervousness vanished. He called Lapres and told him "Martin" was "all right."

Lapres now agreed to sell a sample ounce, although he was still suspicious. "You could still be a Mountie," he told DeCheverry. "You got the shoulders for one."

DeCheverry laughed. He had the feel of his role now. He felt that Lapres knew nothing; his senses had simply been sharpened by his years in the rackets to an almost intuitive wariness. "If every guy my size is a dick there must be a lot around," he kidded Lapres.

He met Lapres and Papillon next morning in the lobby. In sight of the plainclothes Mounties who hovered nearby, watching, DeCheverry handed Papillon $300. Cautiously,

Lapres refused to count the money or touch it. "Meet me at the Club Tavern in ten minutes," he told Papillon.

With Lapres when he joined Papillon was a husky man named Rosaire Delisle. They sat down and looked at Papillon in a way that made him uneasy. "I tell you what I think," Lapres said softly. "I think you're an RCMP sent to nail me."

The nerves in Papillon's stomach tensed. Unless Lapres was bluffing, his life wasn't worth much. He laughed. "Let Delisle search you," Lapres ordered.

Papillon stood up, seemingly bored. Delisle slapped his pockets, searching for a gun. He looked under his lapels for the pinpricks of a badge.

"All right," said Lapres. "Give Delisle the money and you stay with me."

Papillon relaxed; Lapres had been bluffing. "When I get the stuff," he said coolly, "I'll give you the money."

They met Delisle an hour later outside another tavern. He showed Papillon where he had taped the one-ounce packet of heroin underneath the step of an outside staircase. Papillon paid him and left. Back in the hotel Corporal Carriere and Constable Andrews tested the powder with nitric acid. It turned vivid blue-green, a heroin reaction.

Papillon then telephoned the priest. He told him "Martin" was annoyed at the time the deal had taken. "Rest easy, my friend," said the priest, "the big deal will go through in the morning. We will all make a lot of money."

But it was evening before Lapres and the abbe knocked on DeCheverry's door, and Lapres was still hanging back. "We must trust one another," said the priest.

"It's all right for you to trust him," Lapres said. "I don't trust anybody. How much H do you want, Frankie?"

"Fifty pieces [ounces]," DeCheverry said. "How about bonds?"

"The big lot is out of town," Lapres said. "I'll need a thousand bucks' deposit to get them."

"We must have faith in each other," said the priest. "You can leave the money with me in perfect safety."

"Do you think I'm a bloody fool?" DeCheverry said. "Forgive me, Father. It's not that I don't trust you. But I'd be leaving myself wide open."

The abbe left and the argument adjourned to the cocktail lounge. For DeCheverry this was the worst night of all. With the pretense of showing him drugs Lapres dragged him from nightclub to nightclub, holding him up to the deadpan inspection of mobsters who had met a great many Mounties in their careers. Long before morning they lost their plainclothes cover, and Andrews, alone in their hotel headquarters room (Carriere had slipped out to attend his father's funeral) was pacing restlessly, plagued by thoughts of DeCheverry lying dead in some alley. Whenever possible, DeCheverry went to the lavatory and put his finger down his throat in a fairly successful but nerve-racking attempt to stay sober. By dawn, dead on his feet, he realized Lapres had never intended showing him drugs. "To hell with this," DeCheverry said, "I'm going home to bed."

The next day, Saturday, the racketeer brought a couple of girls around in a transparent move to get information. "Look," DeCheverry told him. "You took me for a sucker last night. But you're crazy if you think I'm paying the shot

for your girl friends today. I'm leaving town on a big deal tonight, 111 see you Monday." Then DeCheverry took a streetcar to the outskirts of Montreal and spent the week end with his aunt.

Sunday night he came back for a late pow-wow with Carriere and Andrews. "We can't do any more to convince him you're okay," Carriere said. "Get tough. Tell him to make up his mind. But even if he doesn't come through, don't close the door."

DeCheverry called Abb6 Taillefer in the morning. "Fm tired of wasting time with Lapres, Father. I'm not going to take my money from the bank. The way Lapres's muscle men have been following me around, I think he's planning a hijack." He was taking a shot in the dark about being followed but the priest did not dispute him. "Either we put the deal through tomorrow," DeCheverry concluded, "or we'll wash it out. I'm leaving on the 4:30 train."

Just before noon the following day Lapres and the priest both came to the room. DeCheverry ignored their glances at his Scotch and told them flatly: "The only way I'll deal is for you to put the stuff in a railway station locker and give me the key. That way I can get a look at it first. I'll give the money to the abbe here, either in the bank or outside, whichever he wants."

Lapres wanted the money first and he wouldn't touch a locker. The meeting broke up. At one o'clock Corporal Carriere told Papillon to call Abb6 Taillefer. "Martin's gone out to eat," the secret agent told the priest. "I just wanted to tell you he's sure Lapres is a con man. He says, 'If they want to do business, they'll have to do it my way.'"

"I don't blame him," the priest said. "Johnny wants him to take all the chances."

"Don't tell him we were talking," Papillon cautioned.

Twice during the afternoon Lapres called DeCheverry to argue for his method of handling the sale. "Why doesn't he make up his mind?" DeCheverry said irritably.

"I think he's willing to deal," Andrews said thoughtfully. "I think there's someone behind him holding him back. That's why they're changing plans so much."

At four o'clock DeCheverry said good-by to Papillon and returned to the big downtown RCMP divisional building, where he was confined to barracks to avoid recognition.

Papillon paid a visit to the presbytery next morning. "Frank's pulled out," he said. "I've lost my commission. You've lost yours. All because of Lapres."

"Johnny thinks Martin is a policeman," the abbe said. "I think he is right. We do not want to trust him. Good-by, my friend. I am sorry you have not made any money."

This was April 25. The curtain had fallen on the first act, a long opening movement. These salient facts were referred to Ottawa:

1. They knew Lapres had narcotics, probably a huge amount.

2. They could more than likely link him to the first test purchase by the testimony of Papillon, DeCheverry and the cover men, who had sometimes been close enough to record conversation.

3. But a premature seizure might fail to net the drugs or the bonds.

4. There was the delicate matter of the priest; in such a case, one purchase seemed scarcely sufficient evidence.

5. There was the vague mysterious figure behind both Lapres and the priest. This man was undoubtedly big, for Lapres was no minor criminal.

Headquarters decided to let two months go by to give the syndicate a feeling of false security. But on June 3 the case took a bad turn. They heard that their original informant, Quebec City businessman Andre Houle, had gone to Mon-seigneur Joseph Charbonneau, Archbishop of Montreal, with the tale of Abbe Taillefer's activities. When Corporal Carriere questioned Houle he denied it, but his manner was evasive and uneasy. Carriere asked Papillon to visit the abbe and try to find out what actually had happened.

The priest welcomed Papillon. "I have much to tell you, my friend. You ex-boss, Andre Houle — he has tried to blackmail me." Houle had told the priest that Papillon and "Martin" were Mounted Policemen, that all the syndicate's movements had been watched, their telephones tapped, their conversations recorded. For a thousand dollars, Houle had said, he would pay off a high-ranking Mountie and stop the investigation. Otherwise, he would tell the archbishop all about the abbe.

This threat had been discussed at a top-level meeting of the syndicate, the priest told Papillon. "Suppose I go to Quebec and knock him off?" one mobster suggested.

"No, no, no!" the priest had replied. "That would be against my principles."

"We could pick him up and make him talk," said another racketeer.

"Let us wait," the priest advised. "If I do not hear from the archbishop we can be sure he is lying to get money out of me."

"I think he's lying," the top man had concluded. "If Martin and Papillon were redcoats they'd have knocked us off long ago. From what you say, Martin spent $400 in one week. The Montes wouldn't spend that kind of money. Besides, it takes more than a thousand dollars to fix them."

Their quarry was still on the hook and the drug squad now knew what had been only suspicion before: someone big was directing the moves of both Lapres and the priest. Carriere and Andrews warned their double-crossing informant, Andre Houle, to keep his mouth shut, but how long he would they didn't know. Once again they extended the bait, a letter from Papillon to the priest. On July 8 the priest replied:

Dear Mister & Friend:

I see that you are fine but if money was present things would be better. ... If you communicate with Martin and I think it would be a good idea if you did, tell him J. Lapres has always his material H and that he would be willing to do business this time.

I leave you now with my best regards,

J. A. Taillefer, Ptre.

This was their opening. On July 12, DeCheverry and Papillon and the two coordinators, Carriere and Andrews, once again checked into adjoining rooms, this time in a different hotel. Their strategy now was to cut out Lapres. They already had enough on Lapres to convict him and as long as he remained active there was little hope of involving the man behind him.

Papillon set it up by a visit to the abbe. "Martin's in town," he told the priest. "He doesn't know I'm here. I wanted to see you first. Here's our chance to make some money. He's mad at Johnny Lapres. But he trusts you, Father. I think you could swing a deal."

The next morning the priest came to the hotel. DeCheverry, playing hard to get, tried to beat down the price ($300 an ounce).

"I didn't set it myself," explained the priest.

"That ounce I bought from Lapres was one-fifth short," DeCheverry complained.

"I assure you I didn't know," the abbe told him. "You will get full measure from me, my friend. You can have every confidence. My man is a good solid man."

The abbe left and returned at noon. "Everything is arranged," he said, "but my man will only sell ten ounces this time."

"The same old runaround," Martin said. "I'll think it over." At eight o'clock he called the priest. "On a test purchase, Father, I'm not going to risk more than fifteen hundred dollars." Again the abb6 had to go back to his man. Again and again DeCheverry haggled, each time drawing the unknown figure behind the priest deeper into the deal. Finally, the terms were agreed.

The priest knocked on DeCheverry's door at eleven the following morning, very pale, very agitated. "Where's the H?" DeCheverry asked him.

"In a locker at Central Station. The key is hidden near St. James Cathedral."

"Once I've seen it, is it okay to move it to another locker?"

"No, no, do not move it! There are men watching it. They might jump you. On my honor, no one will touch it."

"Okay, okay. Don't get excited, Father."

They walked out of the hotel, along the street, and up the steps of the great cathedral. On the east side the abbe pointed toward a diamond-shaped stone. DeCheverry found the locker key in an envelope beneath it. "Wait for me at the station, the south entrance," he told the priest.

The locker in the station held a brown paper package. In it were six small cellophane envelopes. DeCheverry slipped one under the band of his wristwatch. Outside, he found the priest chainsmoking nervously.

"Relax, Father, everything looks okay," DeCheverry said. Making sure the tails had had time to get into position, he flagged a cab. "Royal Bank, main branch," he said. In the rear-view mirror he could recognize a police car, a blue sports model.

The priest sat in the cab while DeCheverry went in. Carriere and another Mountie were waiting in the vault. They tested the ounce of heroin, then gave DeCheverry $1500 in marked bills. Riding back to the station in the cab, DeCheverry let the priest count the money, then took it back. "We'll wait till I see if the stuff is still there, Father." He didn't know if their plans included a hijacking or not.

The brown paper package was still in the locker. "Here's the money," DeCheverry said. He had no trouble pretending to be nervous. "Now telephone your man and get him to call off his hoods." He maneuvered the abbe into a telephone booth that had no dial system and the priest was forced to repeat the number aloud to the operator. DeCheverry memorized it, holding in his excitement. This was the break.

"My man is satisfied," said the priest "I must admit, I was afraid there would be some federal police." They shook hands. That afternoon the priest called back. "I am leaving on my holidays. When you come back to town we will make a good deal, eh?"

This might be termed the second movement, brief but successful beyond their hopes* They had now enough evidence to prosecute the priest, Lapres, and Lapres's henchman, Rosaire Delisle. And they knew the man behind, the "connection." His phone number had been traced. He called himself Michel Sisco. Little else was known about him. He had no police record in Canada.

RCMP strategy now was to have DeCheverry meet Sisco. The Mountie booked a hotel room on August 1 and invited Abbe Taillefer up for a drink. They talked of the money the priest had made during the war with black market gas and sugar coupons. "Who would suspect me?" the abbS said. "I'm a perfect front They wouldn't dare touch me." They talked of communism, blondes, automobiles. More than anything else the priest wanted a car, a limousine. "If I make enough on our deals to buy a car," he said hopefully, "you can borrow it when you come to town."

"I've got to get a better price," said DeCheverry. Always while dangling the lure he had to seem to be backing away.

"I'll ask my man," the abb6 promised.

"Maybe I should talk to him. Put things on a solid basis. We're wasting a lot of time running back and forth."

The priest said he would try to arrange a meeting but he did not mention it the following day. DeCheverry did not press it. He checked out of the hotel, boarded the Halifax train, got off at Montreal West and was picked up by a police car. A few days later, through the hotel chain he was supposed to work for, he received a card from the priest. "I will pray for you," the abbe wrote, "and that our deal goes through."

On September 6, hotel chambermaids noticed that the strange men who seldom went out were back in adjoining rooms. This time the strategists, Corporal Carriere and Constable Andrews, were determined to force Sisco into the open. They had primed DeCheverry with logical questions the abbe would not be able to answer. They had given him letters supposedly written by a backer in Winnipeg suggesting he get the stuff in Toronto for fear of "a double-cross by Lapres."

"Cancel the deal if you have to," Carriere said. "For the kind of money he thinks you've got he'll come out." They knew by now that Sisco owned a roadhouse north of the city. He was listed as a commercial agent but customs records showed no importations under his name. He paid no income tax. Dun & Bradstreet didn't know him. He was suave, sophisticated, spoke five languages, and made several phone calls a week to New York. The FBI had been asked to check on the calls.

DeCheverry had expected that the priest would greet him gladly. Instead, the abbe was standoffish. He said he was very busy with the opening of the schools. "Don't hand me that," said DeCheverry testily. "You don't want to deal, okay. I know where I can get the stuff and none of this run-around." Uneasily, the priest promised to come to his room.

When he came, two days later, he talked ambiguously of getting out of "the H business." Suddenly, he said: "Did you hear that Johnny Lapres was arrested?"

"No!" DeCheverry said.

"Some Monte named Carriere."

DeCheverry choked on his drink. Carriere had wanted DeCheverry's surprise to be genuine. He had grilled Lapres on a counterfeiting charge. He wanted Lapres to be too hot for Sisco to use.

"They questioned him all night," said the priest. He met DeCheverry's eyes. "Johnny says when he went to the toilet he met you face to face. Is that true? Are you a Mounted Policeman?"

DeCheverry jumped up angrily. "He's a doublecrossing chiseling no-good. Get him to meet me in the presbytery. I'll tell him to his face. We'll see who's lying." He swore bitterly. "The deal's off. How do I know Lapres isn't behind your man?"

"I give you my solemn word," said the priest. He left on a somewhat conciliatory note.

The next day he called back. "You do not have to confront Johnny, my son. My man has forced him to tell the truth. Johnny was lying. We know you are not a Mounted Policeman. My man will meet you for fifteen minutes tomorrow night, here in the presbytery." It was the word they'd been waiting for. Lapres's lie had been an unexpected piece of luck.

The Mountie and the syndicate head shook hands in the abbe's office. Michel Sisco had thin close-shut lips and a prominent nose in a round olive-skinned face. His short heavy figure was draped in expensive tailoring. His fluid French had a continental flavor. "This is the boss," said the abbe. "He will answer your questions."

"Where does Lapres come in?" demanded DeCheverry belligerently.

"I no longer trust him," Sisco said. "He is not in this transaction. Were you satisfied with our deals? Was the quality good? Have I given you full measure?"

DeCheverry allowed himself to be mollified. "You can guarantee a steady supply?"

"Even if war comes." Sisco allowed DeCheverry a cut in price, referring to the heroin as "merchandise." "The merchandise from America is not pure," he said. "The best is made in Germany." He exuded authority and charm. "I have been in this business for twenty years. I know how to handle these deals. If at any time you cannot come yourself, write a letter to the abbe here, tear it, mail half, and give half to a messenger. It is dangerous to send merchandise through the mails. Do you want any now?"

"Yes, but I'll have to check with my clients on the amount." DeCheverry invited Sisco out for a drink. Sisco declined. "It would not be wise to be seen together," he said.

It had come to a head much faster than they had expected. Corporal Carriere and Constable Andrews hastily assembled their men. They couldn't risk shadowing Sisco but two constables and their wives were sent to his roadhouse, ostensibly to dance, actually to familiarize themselves with his appearance so that they would be better able to shadow him during the deal. Six constables were assigned to watch the presbytery in eight-hour shifts. When the priest left they would join six others covering DeCheverry along the route of the transaction.

DeCheverry telephoned Abbe Taillefer and set up the sale: 32 ounces of heroin — the same arrangement as last time. A hurry-up request for $7200 went up the RCMP chain of command to the Treasury Board and was granted. Until the last moment DeCheverry pestered the priest with changes of plan in the hope of badgering Sisco into personally taking part.

DeCheverry was on edge when the abbe arrived in his room at eleven o'clock on the morning of the deal. Much of their work would succeed or fail in the next hour. '•Everything's ready," the priest said nervously. "I am sure all will go well." On the other side of the wall Constable Andrews was talking softly into the mike of a two-way radio, coordinating the movements of a half-dozen police cars.

Once more the abbe led the Mountie to St. James Cathedral, and they waited in the still, cool, vaulted entrance. "My man would like the money when we get the key," the priest said. "Nothing doing," DeCheverry said, "I've got to see the stuff first."

A thick-set round-faced man walked in: Sisco himself!

He shook hands, leaving the locker key in DeCheverry's palm. "My men will be watching every move you make," he said evenly. "Please don't try anything or you've had it."

DeCheverry walked to Central Station, the abbe following, Sisco trailing the abbe. The Mountie opened the locker and felt the brown paper parcel. He threw it back in and slammed the door. He had felt no drugs. The sensation of being watched crawled up his spine.

The abb6 was loitering at the station's south entrance. "What the hell are you pulling off?" said DeCheverry, low-voiced and angry. "All I got there's a bunch of lousy paper,"

The priest laughed. Sisco came up. "I wanted to see what would happen," he said. "We have to protect ourselves. Go back to the church and wait for me."

This time Sisco gave him a key for a Windsor Station locker. DeCheverry opened it, felt the waxy one-ounce packs and knew that this was the big haul ($40,000 to $140,000 retail, depending on the city where it was sold). He and the abbe and Sisco got into a taxi.

A man in an idling car nearby spoke quietly into a microphone: "He's heading for the bank." Andrews, in the hotel room, relayed the message. A car pulled up beside the Royal Bank and Carriere went in.

Corporal Carriere was standing like any customer by the rows of safety-deposit boxes when an attendant ushered DeCheverry and the priest to a private room. "Count the money," he heard DeCheverry say, and then, "Take it, it's yours."

"Later," the priest said.

"It's yours," DeCheverry insisted and he turned and left the room. As the priest followed uneasily, holding the money, Carriere placed his hand on his shoulder. "You're under arrest," he said.

Abbe Taillefer's mouth opened but no words came. "We'll go to your place first and change your clothes," Carriere said, thus carrying out the only request of Mon-seigneur Charbonneau, Archbishop of Montreal, who, when warned what would happen, refused to intercede in any way for his errant priest.

Outside on the street Sisco had been arrested. Lapres's henchman, Rosaire Delisle, was being rounded up. Lapres, cocky as ever, came in by himself. "I'm Johnny Lapres," he said. "I hear you're looking for me."

A search of Sisco's flat yielded no new evidence but in the abbe's office they found a scrap of paper on which the priest had been figuring his profit. They did not recover the rest of the huge drug cache which now they were certain existed. The bonds had already been sold to racketeers in New York.

At first Sisco suavely tried to pass off his arrest as an unfortunate misunderstanding. Said Carriere: "The man you met in Abbe Taillefer's office, the man you sold thirty-two ounces of heroin to, was not Frank Martin, but Constable Frank DeCheverry of the RCMP."

"No name was mentioned when I met him," Sisco said. He realized his slip at once. "If you think you can get me to talk you've got the wrong man. If you think you have a case you have only to charge me. I'll tell my story in court."

But Michel Sisco never came to court. And he told his story a few days later. He was born in Michel, British Columbia, he said. His mother had died very young and he had been taken back to Italy. The Germans had interned him in Milan but he had escaped to North Africa. A British cruiser had brought him from Casablanca to Halifax. He had no proof for his story but it was very hard to disprove; the records of birth in Michel, B.C. had been destroyed by fire.

Some weeks later Sisco's fingerprints, identified by the International Criminal Police Commission in Paris, told his true story. He was Antoine (called Michel) D'Agos-tino, born in Bone, Algeria, in 1919. He held controlling interests in various illegal businesses in Italy and France. He was wanted for counterfeiting in Italy. And in France, as an ex-Gestapo agent, he was under sentence of death for murder. He is believed to have been smuggled into Canada by the steward of an Italian liner.

A judge of the Court of King's Bench set bail at $20,000, though the RCMP advised that allowing Sisco bail was unwise. At first, Sisco wasn't able to raise it. Then he asked to see Corporal Carriere and said: "If I'm not sprung I'll have something to tell you." He said he could supply the lowdown on the international drug traffic reaching back to illicit factories in Europe. His threat found its way via the underworld grapevine to his syndicate associates. Shortly afterward his bail was reduced to $12,000. It was posted and Sisco promptly vanished.

He came briefly to view again in 1951 when a very large narcotics ring was broken in New York. Sisco is described by the U.S. Immigration Service as "a main ringleader of this international smuggling organization . . . very clever, very dangerous . . . usually armed," and his stature may be judged by the fact that two of the gangsters arrested were top-level figures in the nationwide Unione Siciliano, which succeeded the murderous Mafia. Sisco escaped to Mexico, was picked up crossing the U.S. border in 1956, and as this is written six lawyers were resisting attempts to bring him back to New York.

As for the others, Johnny Lapres was sentenced to three years, and his henchman Rosaire Delisle drew three months for a first offense. The unfrocked but unrepentant Abb6 Taillefer received two years and a thousand-dollar fine. None of the sentences seemed designed to teach any sterner lesson than to never, never sell narcotics to someone you do not know.

Many a costly, troublesome and risky investigation ends with just such a muted climax. Any idealization of justice dooms the Mountie to disillusion, leads to cynicism, so often the prelude to corruption.

Cynicism is the abyss of the profession. Fortunately, few Mounties sound its depths. They pass through a cynical period and emerge into skepticism, an awareness of the gap between reality and appearance.

The investigator is fated to doubt; doubt is the price he pays for his freedom of mind. But in doubting he must have faith, he must believe in more than results. He must believe that justice is something more than an eye for an eye, that justice is also the way he does his job. Says a former head of the CIB, "A policeman shouldn't care what the result of a case is. He should only feel he's done his best and gotten the best evidence possible."


THE MURDER had taken place on the island ahead. It looked very like the island they had just left. It humped from the sea ice of Hudson Bay like the back of a monstrous white whale, low, snow-covered, starkly bare.

The policeman plodded up the bank behind the dogs, the Eskimo guide, the missionary, the doctor and the witness — the native woman. At the top he turned and surveyed their back trail. He could still see the Hudson's Bay post, six white buildings small in the distance. After this, he guessed shrewdly, Ernest Riddell, the post manager, would not remain in the Belcher Islands alone. He wondered why the Eskimos remained. The caribou had left fifty years before. As late as August pack ice surrounded these islands. In all their length and breadth, 91 by 51 miles, there was not a solitary stunted tree. Even moss and cranberry bushes grew in only a few secluded areas. Soil blew away as fast as it formed. There were only the seals, the fish, and the ducks and geese that bred in the shallow lakes in multitudes to feed and clothe some forty Eskimo families.

The policeman, "Nubby" Kerr, was a wiry little man. His features under a broad bulging forehead were tough and cheerful. He had spent years in isolated RCMP detachments much closer than this to the pole but he had never known land as bleak as these Belchers.

He pushed on, shoulders hunched against the stabbing April wind. Ahead of him the Eskimos in their fantastic feathered clothing looked like Gargantuan birds walking upright. The snow deepened. The domes of four igloos rose from the wastes of white. They had been deserted perhaps two months, Kerr noted. They looked forsaken as ancient ruins on a desert.

The Eskimo woman, Eva Naroomi, pointed to a rocky ledge and spoke in dialect to the missionary, the Reverend George Neilson, who had walked a hundred miles from Great Slave River on the mainland to serve as interpreter.

"This is the Tukarak Island camp/' he told Kerr. "She says you will find her husband under some rocks beneath that ledge."

Kerr uncovered the corpse, frozen solid, fully clad in the feathered pants and parka that the islanders fashion from skins of the eider duck. Obviously the rocks had been thrown on the body, not built up into the customary monument to the dead.

The doctor, Thomas Orford, stripped away the parka from what had been a young, fine-looking Eskimo man. The head was sheathed in frozen blood.

"Two bullet holes," the doctor reported. "One entered the back of the head, the other between the shoulder blades. Either one could have caused death." The police plane on its flight from Ottawa yesterday had picked up the doctor, who was also Indian agent and coroner, at Moose Factory, 350 miles south.

The Mountie began to replace the rocks, piling them in a proper burial mound. By nightfall, he reckoned, they ought to reach Camsell Island. They would camp and in the morning they could examine the six bodies there. Inspector Martin should have found the first two by now. With luck they could round up the witnesses, get their statements, finish the inquests and take off before the ice broke and stranded the plane. He would send the guide tomorrow to tell the killers to come to the post. By next week he and Martin would be back in Ottawa with the facts all ready for typing in quintuplicate. A queer case. The queerest he had ever come across.

The policeman thought of the man he was burying and suddenly he was angry. These bloody islands, he thought, these islands and the white man. Together they had been too much for even these sane people. It was going to be a hard report to write. He was going to find it hard to keep his opinions out of it. He could only try to put down the facts so they would show why it happened.

It had begun with Charlie Ouyerack, a small man with the sullen face of a disappointed child. In January, 1941, Ouyerack convinced his neighbors that he was Jesus.

He was an unusual Eskimo. When he was a boy his father had been murdered. He had never outgrown his sense of helplessness, loss and resentment. Now, at twenty-seven, he had not the self-sufficiency so characteristic of his people, who, finding nature outside themselves uncontrollable, have evolved toward control of their inward nature. He had some of the traits of the white man, rare in an Eskimo; he sometimes struck his children, envied other men's skills, coveted their women and spoke less than the whole truth. Confronted by the cruelty or indifference of the elements he gave way at times to panic or anger. And since he could not respect himself, he practiced self-deceit and craved the respect of others.

Charlie Ouyerack was clever and imaginative. He claimed mastery of the trance by which medicine men project their souls through the ether to locate caribou. He studied the New Testament, a translation in Eskimo syl-labics given out two decades before by a visiting missionary; and he envied the powers of Jesus, medicine man of Ka-bloona the white man, who could walk on water and raise the dead. It was written in the Book that Jesus would visit the earth again. Sometimes Charlie imagined that he was Jesus, filled with a power that would raise him above all evil, above all men.

The winter of 1940-1941 had been bad in the islands. Seals were scarce and what skins the Eskimos took brought only a few cents. Some families did not earn enough to replace their ammunition. They could not afford their only luxuries, tea and tobacco. They sat through the sunless days in their gloomy round snowhuts, too discouraged to hunt, hungry, uncertain. At night Keytowieack the catechist went from igloo to igloo bringing hope by his reading of the Book.

Keytowieack was forty-seven, already old and bent, dignified and a little stupid. Ouyerack found it unbearable that people should listen to him. One night in an open-topped snowhouse as the catechist read to a gathering, Ouyerack's patience snapped. "What do you know of Jesus, old man?" he shouted.

Keytowieack stopped reading. Ouyerack stood up. He was conscious that the flow of time had ceased, that destiny was waiting on this moment. He raised his hands toward the sky. "Listen to me," he cried, "I have seen Jesus — brighter than the sun."

Across the great dark dome of the sky streamed the blood-red polar lights. In the silence he could hear them, a vast faraway rustling, like the banners of an unseen heavenly host. Ouyerack felt certainty gathering in him. "Listen to me," he cried again, "Jesus is coming. His spirit has entered into me. I am Jesus, telling you of the One who is to come."

At that moment a meteor trailed fire across the sky. A cry went up from the people in the snowhut. Kugveet leaped to his feet. "It is a sign!" he shouted. "Jesus has spoken!"

Next morning Peter Sala returned from a two-day hunt on the sea ice. Among the eight families camped on Flaherty Island, Sala was the natural leader, intelligent, tall, handsome, the man with the fastest dog team, the surest hunter. As he drove into camp he could hear people shouting, "Jesus is coming tonight!" and they clustered around him, shaking his hand, everyone talking at once. Markusie took the rifle from his sled and shot several dogs. Markusie was laughing. "We do not need bullets or dogs," Markusie said. He smashed Sala's rifle against an ice bank. "Material things are of no use now. Jesus is coming!" Some people started playing ball with a cap. They seemed very happy. Only the children were frightened and crying.

Lifting the walrus from his sled, Sala entered the big igloo. It was crowded with people. Ouyerack, in a stained white cotton surplice, a wooden cross hanging from his neck, sat with a staff in his hand facing the others. Near him sat Keytowieack the catechist.

Sala tried to hide his fright and offered them walrus meat. Ouyerack refused. "How can we eat meat," he said, "when we are waiting for God?" And all the people began to cry, "God! We want God."

"Who is God?" Sala asked.

No one spoke. They looked at Ouyerack. He was staring fixedly at Sala. Then Kugveet said to Sala, "You are not an ordinary Eskimo. You are taller, stronger, better than the rest of us."

"No, no, do not think that," Sala said.

Kugveet did not seem to hear. "You must be God," he said. "You will teach us to be good."

"No," Sala said, frightened, "I cannot teach you. I am not good."

Ouyerack rose and came close to Sala. "I am Jesus," he said. "We have all been saved. Our sins are blotted out. You are the best among us. You are God." He lowered his voice hypnotically. "Say you are God. Tell them I am Jesus."

"Hear me," Sala shouted. "I am God!" He believed now.

It grew dark in the igloo. Singing happily, they built a bonfire of all their hymnals and Bibles and the flames leaped in the close steamy darkness. Apawkok the widower came crowding in with his family. Everyone shook Apaw-kok's hands and the hands of his eldest son Alec and kissed his thirteen-year-old daughter Sarah. Then they joined in prayer to Peter Sala and Charlie Ouyerack.

Sala saw that Sarah was not praying. "Come here/' he said.

"I don't know what to say," Sarah said.

"Come here," Sala said. He took her by the arms. "I am God. Do you not believe in God?"

"I believe in God," Sarah said, "but I do not believe you are God. And I do not think Charlie Ouyerack is Jesus."

The people began to murmur. Ouyerack in a loud voice said: "My body is Ouyerack but my thoughts are Jesus."

"You should believe and follow us," Sala said. "You should believe as your father and brother believe."

Sarah hung her head. She was a willing girl who had always done as her father told her. Her brother Alec, sitting beside Ouyerack, reached over and pulled her roughly toward him. "You do not want to say yes," he said angrily. "You are lying when you say you believe in God."

"No" Sarah said, frightened now. "Do not hurt me. Please. I am telling the truth."

"Is this girl any good?" Alec asked Sala.

"No," Sala said. "She does not believe."

Alec hit Sarah heavily in the face. He shifted his grip to her hair and struck her again.

"I want to believe," Sarah cried, "I want to believe what my father believes."

"You are lying," Alec shouted. He hit her until she collapsed, then he pulled her up off the floor by her hair. Sala looked away. He did not want to see Alec hurting his sister.

"Eyah," Sarah cried faintly, "please stop."

"What's the matter?" Alec shouted. "You look bad."

Her eyes were swelling shut. "I will do worse. Someone bring me a piece of wood."

"No, no," several people murmured.

Alec turned in fury to Ouyerack. "Am I doing right or am I doing wrong?"

"You are doing right," Ouyerack said. "She has a devil in her. The devil will not let her believe."

"I do believe, I do believe," Sarah was crying.

Someone put a board in Alec's hand. He beat Sarah about the head and neck. Blood gushed from her mouth and she fell on her side, pulling her parka hood over her head. Sala leaned down in the dark and felt her heart.

"It does not matter if she is dead," Alec said.

Sarah moaned softly.

"What? You can cry yet?" Sala said, amazed.

"Should this girl live?" Alec asked Charlie Ouyerack.

"It is just as well to kill her," Charlie said. "God will not mind."

In the glare from the burning books Sala saw that the people's faces were pale. "Take her outside," he commanded. And the people murmured, "God does not want her in the igloo."

Four Eskimos dragged Sarah from the snowhouse. Her shawl trailed across the blazing books and her clothing caught fire. She made a sound like a sigh. Then the people in the igloo heard her saying outside, "I will go to the house of my father." Then they heard the sound of blows and the young girl Akeenik came back in. She was holding the barrel of a broken rifle. The breech was wet with blood. "My hands are frozen," Akeenik said plaintively. "I was

holding the steel gun barrel while I hammered Satan to death. Thaw them out for me, someone."

"We have killed a devil," Ouyerack said. "Now we can all have a good time."

"Let us be thankful Satan is dead," said the people.

Keytowieack the catechist rose. "No!" he said angrily. "No, it is all bad. At first I believed you. Now I know you are wrong. Charlie and Peter are not God and Jesus. God is good. Jesus was kind. He would not take life as you have taken Sarah's."

Peter Sala's mother screamed that Keytowieack was Satan. Others began to shout "Devil" at him. Keytowieack started out, trying to pull others with him. Charlie Ouyerack seized him. Keytowieack tore away, thrusting past the clutching hands. At the entrance he paused. "There is only one God," he said. "He is not here. He is in Heaven."

For a long time the din in the igloo was deafening. Everyone talked angrily of Keytowieack. Then they heard the window break. Keytowieack had come back. He looked in the broken pane and said loudly, "Those who believe in the true God come out. Come on my side. Help me. Please. I need help."

Peter Sala picked up a slat from the sleeping bench and hurled it through the window like a harpoon. "I hit Satan in the mouth," he cried triumphantly.

"All right," Keytowieack mumbled, holding his bleeding mouth. "I will go away. I will go to my own igloo. But I will tell you first—" he raised his voice — "a lot of people will go astray from listening to you." He backed away from Sala's menacing gesture.

"Satan is gone," someone said. "Now Jesus will come." And they all sang happily, "Jesus is coming."

"No, no," Sala said angrily, "Jesus is here. God is here. How can Jesus be coming when Jesus is here? Speak to them, Jesus. What they say is not right."

But the people would not listen. All night they prayed and sang that Jesus would come. There was no longer need to work or hunt. Some families, though half-starved, had put away food for Him, for He would surely be hungry after His trip.

In the morning Sala was still angry and more than a little frightened, for the things Keytowieack said had found an echo in his heart. He ordered several Eskimos to harness what dogs were left and prepared to leave camp with his family. As he walked past Keytowieack's igloo, a harpoon in each hand, he looked in the window and saw the old man sitting bowed in a chair. Bitterness welled up in him against Keytowieack, whose malice had destroyed his happiness.

"Who are you praying to?" Sala shouted derisively.

Keytowieack did not answer.

Sala broke the window. "Look at me," he said. He poked Keytowieack with his steel-tipped harpoon. "You are not praying right," he mocked. "Your prayers will do you no good."

Keytowieack did not move or speak.

Some Eskimos, hearing voices, had left their snowhouses to watch; others had remained in the all-night meeting. Sala feinted with his harpoons but Keytowieack did not flinch. Sala threw a harpoon; it pierced Keytowieack's

sleeve. Still the catechist sat with his head bowed, silent.

"What can you do now?" Sala taunted. "Look at me. I am God."

But Keytowieack's eyes remained on his lap and still he did not speak. Infuriated, Sala said, "You are Satan. I will kill you." Keytowieack gave no sign that he heard. Sala gestured to Adlaykok. "Shoot him!"

Adlaykok was a tall, balding, middle-aged Eskimo whose face had set in tired, half-humorous lines. "If that was God's command," he said, "to kill all who do not believe, we would all have been dead long ago."

"I am God," Sala raged. "Shoot him, I said!"

Adlaykok went to his house and came back with his rifle. Deliberately he aimed through the window at Keytowieack. "Shoot!" Sala said, as he hesitated. Adlaykok fired.

Keytowieack jerked slightly as the bullet entered his shoulder, but no sound passed his lips.

"I have no more bullets," Adlaykok said.

"Jesus will give you one," Sala said. Adlaykok went to the meeting, asked Ouyerack for a bullet, came back, and shot Keytowieack through the head. The old man toppled sideways from his chair. After carrying Christ's word for twenty years among the Belcher igloos, he had died in the image of Satan.

Some people turned away in sudden doubt of the new religion. But most of the watchers crowded into Keytowieack's igloo and stared down in silence at the body.

"We should bury him in the right way, with rocks," Markusie said.

"No," Sala said angrily. "It is no use. He cannot freeze, he is in hell's fire." He rammed his harpoon down the old man's mouth and left it quivering upright. "Pull the snow-house down upon him!" he ordered. Then Sala left camp with his family, Adlaykok and Ouyerack. Ouyerack had left his wife; he was sleeping with Sala's sister, Mina. Her husband Moses did not object since Ouyerack was Jesus.

Early in February, while Sala was hunting, Ouyerack came to the Tukarak Island camp of Quarack, short, square, erect, greatest hunter in all the islands. Quarack, too, was convinced by the tongue of Charlie Ouyerack. But his son-in-law, Alec Keytowieack, did not believe.

Keytowieack was the son of the murdered catechist and he could not reconcile his knowledge of Jesus with a man who had taken one man's wife and now wanted his — Eva Naroomi, daughter of Quarack. Seeing that Keytowieack was not to be persuaded, Ouyerack said, "You are a devil. Obey me or you will die."

Now Keytowieack was frightened. "I believe a little," he said. They were gathered, all except Quarack, in Qua-rack's igloo.

"You he," Ouyerack said. "Kill him, Moses."

"I do not want to kill someone like myself," Moses said.

Ouyerack looked contemptuously at him and went outside to find Quarack. The great hunter was feeding his dogs.

"Keytowieack is bad," Ouyerack told him, "Jesus will be coming soon and he will not want to see bad people. Shoot him."

Quarack agreed.

"Come out, Keytowieack," Ouyerack called.

Keytowieack came out. He had lost his fright. "I believe in God," he said proudly. "I do not believe in Charlie Ouyerack."

"Walk away from the igloo and do not turn around," Ouyerack said. "Walk out to that black crack in the ice. You will see something wonderful."

Keytowieack walked out under the rock ledge of the shore, walking with his back very straight. "Go ahead," Ouyerack said to Quarack. And Eva Naroomi turned her back as her father shot her husband between the shoulder blades.

"He is still moving," Ouyerack said.

Quarack, walking closer, shot Keytowieack again.

"He is not dead yet," said Ouyerack. "We must make sure he is dead." And Quarack walked close to Keytowieack where he lay on the ice and sent a heavy bullet through his brain. Ouyerack smiled. "Be happy," he said, "Satan is dead." Singing, they threw rocks at the body until it was covered.

Late that month, Peter Sala received an invitation to guide the Hudson's Bay post manager, Ernest Riddell, to Great Whale River. Here Sala confided the story of the new cult to interpreter Harold Udgarden, a Hudson's Bay Company pensioner known to Eskimos as the White Brother. Udgarden told Riddell, who wired the RCMP through the Hudson's Bay Company's headquarters in Winnipeg.

The Mounties had given the Air Force all their pilots and usable planes. It was April before they could recondition a broken-down Norseman, borrow a Department of Transport pilot, and fly in Inspector D. J. Martin and Corporal W. G. Kerr. But even under the best of conditions the Mounties could not have prevented the last act of the tragedy.

It took place at a Camsell Island camp while Quarack was hunting and Sala was guiding Riddell. Ouyerack had gone back to his wife. Sala's sister, Mina, had been brooding for several days. She was a powerful hard-faced woman of thirty.

On March 29 at midday she became hysterical. She ran from igloo to igloo calling, "Jesus is coming to earth. Come all thou to meet him. We must meet him on the ice!" Shoving and shouting "Hurry, hurry!" she emptied the camp and herded the children seaward, the mothers following reluctantly for their children's sake. It was a fine day, windless and cold.

Far out on the sea ice Mina lifted her hands to the sky, calling, "Come, Jesus. Come, Jesus." She stopped and said, "Take your clothes off. We cannot meet Jesus with our clothes on. Hurry. He is coming!" She ran round the group in a circle, clawing the clothes from Kumudluk her sister, from Moses her husband, forcing these two to help her undress the children. As their bodies grew numb the children cried out in pain and fright, but Mina would not give them their clothes; she beat off Sala's wife, she ran round the naked group calling, "Jesus is coming!"

Now Quarack's wife, frantic with fear, came and snatched her children's clothes, dressed them, gave her baby to her thirteen-year-old daughter, and carrying another child, hurried back to camp. Sala's wife tried to dress her sons but they were too stiff to move; her own feet were freezing; she could carry no more than her baby. "Help me!" she cried to Mina. But Mina said, "Let them freeze, it does not matter," and ran back to camp alone.

Those adults who could still move each carried a child to safety. When Peter Sala returned he found that his two boys, his mother, his sister Kumudluk, and two other children were dead. Of his family, only his wife, his baby and Mina were left, and Mina was insane. It was the end of the madness that had begun with Ouyerack and long before, with the slaying of Ouyerack's father.

All this went into the crime report of Corporal Nubby Kerr and Inspector Douglas Martin, the RCMP investigators. Having put Adlaykok, Quarack and Mina in cells at Moose Factory, they found that they had been caught in the spring break-up. They abandoned their plane and returned to the capital by dog team, canoe, railway handcar and train.

Martin flew back on July 25 with a slight red-haired sergeant, Henry Kearney. In five days they had finished the preliminary hearings, Martin, a justice of the peace, acting as judge, Kearney as prosecutor. Sala, Ouyerack, Quarack, Adlaykok, Apawkok, Akeenik and Mina were committed for trial in mid-August when an Ontario Supreme Court judge and two Ottawa lawyers would arrive on a Hudson's Bay schooner. Then Martin returned, leaving Kearney in charge of seven prisoners, fifty-odd witnesses and the trial arrangements.

In this situation Kearney, a precise, conscientious man, needed all his knowledge of the north. Flu, often fatal among Eskimos, struck every man, woman and child in his charge. With the help of a corporal and two Hudson's Bay men, Kearney nursed them back to health with only one death. When all their food except rolled oats was gone he organized hunting expeditions. He summonsed a prospecting party to act as jurymen, put his prisoners to work making tables, chairs and benches, and by the time Mr. Justice C. P. Plaxton arrived, his courtroom was ready for him.

It was one of the strangest trials ever held. Kearney had set up a marquee as big as a carnival tent. At one end hung a large photograph of the King and Queen. Beneath it was the judge's bench, a wooden flag-draped table. The judge, bewigged and begowned, faced the befeathered Eskimo witnesses who squatted on the moss floor like a flock of manlike birds. Wooden benches on either side held the jurymen, their feet swathed in bearskins; the two black-garbed lawyers; two Mounties in scarlet tunics; and the prisoners, arms akimbo, Ouyerack emotionless, Sala rocking back and forth, faster and faster as the bizarre case progressed. As the women testified, their children would peep from a cocoon of skins on their backs and fix their dark unblinking eyes disconcertingly on the lawyer. Rain drummed on the canvas roof. Eskimos sneezed and snuffled and over all hung the ripe aroma of half-tanned sealskins.

Mina, who had to be carried into court strapped on a stretcher, was declared insane. The jury found Apawkok and Akeenik "Not guilty, on account of temporary insanity." Quarack, Sala and Ouyerack were sentenced to two years with hard labor to be served in the RCMP guardroom at Moose Factory.

Here Charlie Ouyerack, after only a year in captivity, experienced the final mystic adventure. Officially he died of tuberculosis. But strangely, his tests were negative. It seems likely that the Eskimos were nearer the truth than the doctors; Ouyerack, they said, willed himself to die. Perhaps the murders lay on his conscience. Perhaps he merely mourned his lost prestige. Or perhaps he missed the freedom of life on the Belchers, which, unutterably bleak as they are, are home to the islanders.

No one feels this more deeply than Peter Sala. Forbidden by the RCMP to return to his rocky reefs, he wanders the mainland shores, a lonely memory-haunted exile.

The Belcher Island murders, for all their strangeness of setting, for all their bizarre fanaticism, are in essence typical. In an average year the Mounties will investigate forty-five murders. Ten will be murder and suicide, without a suggestion of mystery; a Mountie calls the coroner and the wagon. Ten will be murder while insane; some harassed soul runs amuck with a gun, knife or ax; his capture may be dangerous, but again, no mystery to solve. In another ten cases the investigator arrives on the scene to find the murderer sitting in a daze, possibly drunk, not only willing but anxious to confess. Only in about half the remainder is much reasoning required, and this, as a rule, not clever deduction but a shrewd, careful plugging-up of those legal loopholes through which a guilty defendant might wriggle free. The fiction murder is nearly always a crime of the intellect. The real-life murder, in Canada, is usually a crime of passion. The investigators have little to do but ask questions. Their legs get a harder workout than their wits.

Nevertheless there is mystery in every murder, facts beneath the surface, secrets dimly perceived, to be drawn from the depths like fish from a pool. The investigators may know what has happened, they do not know why, and the law demands proof of intent. Justice is based on religion, in which concern is divided between what we do and what we are. It was not enough for the Mounties to prove that Alec Keytowieack had died from a gun in Quarack's hand. Who or what had compelled Quarack to shoot?

The mystery of the human heart confronts the Mounted Policeman in the murders he investigates. When Inspector Martin and Corporal Kerr flew to the Belcher Islands they knew in a few hours who was dead and how they had died. But the truth was more than that. The truth was the islands, the ice-bound reefs, the long dark winter, the scarceness of game, the influence of the white man, the way the Eskimo thinks. In the light of this truth, as the Mounties presented it, the court had dispensed its justice.

This concept of police work is implied in the Mountie's motto, "Maintiens le droit " which in practice he translates as "Get the Facts," and "Be Fair." To be fair is to be just and to be just one must know the facts, not some of the facts, not the obvious facts, but all pertinent facts, the truth. Truth and justice are aspects of the same thing. There is no place where one leaves off and the other begins, no way the Mountie can separate what he does from how he does it. Faith in this principle, this police ideal, lies at the heart of his frontier tradition.

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