Riverville Murder - Chapter 9

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Nine


“Good work, Simmons. This is exactly the type of info we need. I’ll see that you stay on this job. Soon you’ll be issued a radio and given instruction regarding the frequency. We are about to enter into a rather large operation to extract him, via a phony arrest, out of what has turned into a dangerous situation for him. We are afraid the mob will assassinate him. You will be notified of a strategy meeting in the next couple of days. In the meantime, stay with him and be aware of anyone else who appears to be observing him. An attempt on his life can come anytime. I received some information earlier today that will hopefully shed some light on other aspects of this complicated case.”

“Yes, Sir. I’ll stay with him and keep my eyes open for anything else. I have a better picture of the situation now. Thank you. I look forward to the strategy meeting.”

Back at his state house office, Scott handed the names of Jerry Mc Dougal, John Byrne and Albert Nunsay to the supervisor of the clerical department, asking her for all information, both state and city, about the three men. At the last minute, he made the decision to add Nathan Goddard, another man on the list Mic provided. He really didn’t expect more on Nunsay that he already had, two years for possession of an unregistered hand gun, but the gamble could be worth the extra time to look him up again. Goddard also did time for a gun violation in Pennsylvania, and thinking something else might pop-up on Goddard.

An hour-and a half later a messenger brought the information to Scott. As he suspected, in addition to what he already had, little more than traffic offences came back on Albert Nunsay. As for Mc Dougal and Byrne, there was no record of legal entry into the United States; enough in itself to have a warrant issued. However, the FBI and ATF investigated them three years ago on suspected gun smuggling. There was not enough solid evidence to arrest them at that time. As for Goddard, the new search showed him under arraignment for assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

Scott sat for several hours mulling over all the new information and decided that with the Riverville murder, the harassment of Kelly Hendersen by Frank Sullivan and James Hurley, the impending attempted murder of Martin Wolfe, alias Sean Keogh, and the boat laden with armament in Portland, enough evidence could be put before a federal judge to obtain arrest warrants for the whole bunch. It could be supported by any results from the ATF concerning the source of funds for the armament, and a connection to Sullivan and Hurley or the Somerville gang.

Lighting a fresh pipe, Scott started to put all of the data to paper in a chronological order prior to presenting a formal request for warrants. An hour or so into his work, the phone rang loudly and startled him.

“Scott, this is Henry Reichmann. How is it going?”

“Quite good. I may have enough to get arrest warrants for everyone involved in this mess. I was wondering if anything has come of investigating the source of finances for the guns, etc. waiting in Portland.”

“Odd you should mention it. That’s the very thing I’m calling about. Going over Frank Sullivan’s phone records, we discovered several calls to the Global Mortgage and Loan Company in New York. The principle is an Alfred J. Connors. We are giving him a very close look and digging deeply into his business and associates. So far, he is looking very shady – could be laundering money from Irish Relief groups through to the PIRA. And, possibly involved in guns and ammunition purchases. We know that Global has brokered several legitimate charity transactions with Northern Ireland; which leads to suspicions about illegitimate deals.”

“Very encouraging, Henry. If this turns into anything solid, the warrants will be a cinch. When do you think the investigation will conclude?”

“Hard to say, Scott. It’s my feeling it will be very soon considering the number of agents at it, and the amount of solid info they already have.”

“You let me know the minute you know anything. I’m preparing a partition for warrants right now and I would like to add whatever information you have to it. I realize any arrest in New York will be by ATF investigators, but it will solidify the warrants I’m after, and hopefully close the murder of Clarence Anderson. That will make both the ATF and Riverville Police Department happy.”

“Best of luck with your warrants, Scott. Talk to you soon”

“Before you go Henry, what’s going on in Portland. Does the ATF and Maine State Police have things in hand?”

“And the US Coast Guard,” Henry answered. “This spell of bad weather turned out to be a blessing, as far as keeping that boat in port. Let’s hope it doesn’t clear up soon. Agents and cops are ready to jump in and impound the cargo the minute it all comes together. I doubt the crew will be arrested, unless there is evidence, they were involved in the acquisition of the stuff.”

“Ok, Henry. Please relay what I have told you to Chief Hendersen and Sergeant Carl Hendersen. Tell them we are close to a big roundup, as well as removing the ATF under-cover man, Martin Wolfe, from harm’s way. I’ll soon be calling all concerned regarding a strategy meeting. You take care.


Kelly Adams is nicely settled in at her aunt’s farm, having left Riverville at four-o’clock Saturday morning. The trip was uneventful and expertly driven by Patrolman Frances J. Hendersen and Corporal Anthony Marzano. The only time the car had to slow, other than a coffee stop in New Hampshire, was about an hour and a half into the trip. Heavy fog in the valleys, perpetuated by the warming sun just creeping into the lower areas of the state, made reduced visibility a problem.

Upon arrival, they were greeted by two very large men in work overalls stationed on either side of the door, and each carrying double-barreled shotguns at port arms. The two recognized Frances Hendersen but looked suspiciously at Marzano. After Francis introduced Marzano as a friend and fellow police officer, the atmosphere changed.

Inside the farmhouse they were greeted by the smell of biscuits baking and bacon frying and a super-sized peculator bubbled on the stove. Kelly’s aunt Hellen added to the whole picture, Appetites became instantly stimulated. As the group settled at the large kitchen table. Kelly’s other two cousins returned from milking. Spotting Kelly, they quickly approached her, welcomed her and gently kissed her on the cheek. Kelly, surprised at the gentleness of the big men suddenly felt safe; finally.

Scott, anxious to finish the warrant partition, worked steadily through Saturday. Finally, he slipped the papers in his briefcase and went to the sideboard in the dining room, used as a home bar, and poured a large scotch followed by two ice cubes. He sauntered into the kitchen where Nancy was preparing dinner, placed one arm firmly around her waist from the rear and slowly kissed her on the neck.

“The petition is finally finished,” he said. “I hope it’s good enough to get the warrants. I’m sorry I had to be so distant the last couple of days. I’ll make it up to you.”

“Oh, Scott. You know I don’t mind this kind of thing; as long as it isn’t continual. Darling, I understand how important it is, so there is no need to apologize; although it is sweet of you.”

Scott and Nancy had been very close at one time, but due to reestablishing himself after World War One, and the depression that followed, Scott didn't feel it prudent bringing the relationship any further along and they gradually drifted apart. Nancy was secretary to the Boston FBI chief for many years, and with Scotts close association with the FBI, it was inevitable that Scott and Nancy talk and exchange pleasantries.  On occasion, when Scott felt flush, he and Nancy would meet for dinner at the Parker House and spend a few hours catching up. At those times Scott would think, maybe someday when the world is in better shape.

They married in 1937 after gradually spending more time together, and the continual prodding of Scott’s father to “make an honest woman of her”. (The Crooked X)


That same evening, Frank Sullivan and Jim Hurley finished their dinner at a local family restaurant, and were sitting enjoying coffee and a pipe:

“Frank, me boy, what do you say to a Saturday night at the All Erin. We will lift a few and enjoy the music. If that Hendersen girl hadn’t gone out by the time I left Riverville, she isn’t going to.”

 “That’s how come you left there so early. You wanted a night out and you had it planned,” Sullivan replied.

“So what, Hurley erupted. Nothing ever happens. Just the same old thing day after day. We know enough of her comings and goings that anyone could grab her, or knock her off in the street, whenever ordered. Yes, we are entitled to a bit of cheer once in a while.”

“You’ll have to leave me out of it; as much as I’d enjoy the music. I have to be in Riverville in time to follow that crowd to Sunday Mass, so I want to get a good sleep tonight. You go on without me. You might even get lucky.”

Later, at the apartment of Hurley and Sullivan, Frank Sullivan scurried about trying to remember where his large suitcase is stored. After several minutes, he remembered and retrieved it from a back shelf of a storage cubicle on the rear porch. Dusting it off quickly, Sullivan began to pack, leaving behind just enough that Hurley might not notice his absence until he was well on his way to Ireland. Sullivan quietly walking down the two flights, staying as quiet as he could, making sure his suitcase didn’t collide with anything. It was dark enough now, so he stashed the suitcase under the stairs leading from the street to the front door. He returned to the apartment and was sure no one saw him go up or down the stairs.

Sullivan arose at five the next morning and quickly showered and dressed. Hurley, in the nest room, wakened by the noise shouted, “Frank! It’s hardly light out. What in hell are you doing?”

“Go back to sleep Jim. I have to be in Riverville early. That crowd always goes to seven o’clock Mass, and I want to be there on time to follow that Adams girl,  just in case she does something new on a day off.”

Before Sullivan finished talking, Hurley was asleep again, and making strange noises into his pillow. Sullivan put on his suit jacket and carefully checked for his wallet, passport and ticket. He scooped up his raincoat from the bed, and for the last time descended the stairs of the tenement. Removing his suitcase from its hiding place, he walked until he found a cab cruising for a fare in the early morning.

As the eight A.M. British Airways flight lifted into a bright and clear sky, Frank Sullivan made a silent prayer that he be spared from anything to do with criminals and the PIRA, and that Kelley Adams live a long and fruitful life. He landed, and passed through Heathrow without emigration problem. Then, he transferred to a train for the final leg to Dublin.

In Boston, Scott carried his first cup of coffee to the front door in search of the Sunday Globe newspaper. As usual, it sat, in a plastic bag, about half-way between the door and the gate to Walnut Street. Returning, he noticed the manila envelope pinned to the door. The boys, running to meet him, demanding the comic pages. Scott handed over the entire bag and, with his handkerchief, removed the envelope and went to the sofa, placing his coffee on the end table. He examined the envelope and wondered at the perfect penmanship of his name centered on the front.

“Nancy,” he shouted. “Please bring me a paring knife,”

“What in the world do you need this for in the living room?” Nancy said as she handed him the knife.

Showing her the envelope, Scott replied, “To open this. I found it pinned to the door and have a hunch it’s important to the Riverville case.”

Nancy, sitting next to Scott said, “I surely hope so. Can I help you?”

“No, you can’t touch it. If it’s important, I’ll have it dusted for fingerprints.” Scott replied as he gingerly slid the knife blade around three sides of the envelope, and allowed the contents to fall out onto the coffee table.

Using the knife and handkerchief-covered fingers, Scott separated the pages and lined the up. One by one he read all six, single sided, pages.

“Nancy, please get me a large envelope from my desk and bring me the phone. I have to call Reichmann at his hotel”

“Henry Reichmann here, who’s calling?”

“Hank, Scott here with a case-breaker. I found an envelope on my door this morning. Inside is a list, by name and rank, of the Compton Hill gang in Sommerville. Also, their money contacts and murder contracts, with a couple names tied to Anderson’s death. For a clincher, it appears the FTA is on the right track with Global in New York. There is also information on gun suppliers. I’ll be at Somerville P.D early tomorrow. I’d like them to dust the pages and envelope for prints. I want to know who is supplying this information. Can you arrange that with the chief?”

“Absolutely. What a break! We might be able to close this up in one big coordinated effort.”

“My thinking exactly. See you in the morning,” Scott said and hung up, then immediately called Sgt. Allan Rockford.

“Allan, sorry to bother you on Sunday morning, but it is important. We have to be in Riverville by eight-o’clock tomorrow morning. There is a big advancement in this Riverville murder and the gun running case.”

“No problem, Mr. Wadsworth. I’ll be there at seven.”


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

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2019
All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, printing, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

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