Riverville Murder - Chapter 32

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Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Thirty Two


The wire then revealed Callan cursing again at Scott and telling them how much he regretted his man failing to kill him, that he is hoping to get another try very soon. He tried softening that by bragging how he took care of the squealing Simmons kid. They were quiet for a while before Callan told Atkins to contract some experienced thieves to break into the warehouse and get the guns. He will not tolerate failure. Callan then told Atkins to ask his dad for help if he can’t do it himself, and while he was at it, to find a reliable hit man for that Wadsworth bastard.

“That’s it, Boss. Do you want me to give Annie the recorder and my list of stops?”

“Yes, Al, and give her a demonstration on the fast-forward function and how it works with the counter.”

When Guatino came back, Scott asked, “Al, can that wire be copied somehow?”

“Gee, I don’t know. Nothing of that was mentioned when we took the class at Salinger Radio Company.”

“OK, Al, I’ll call them. You stay put until I find out if Salinger can make a copy, then you can either take care of that chore or get back on Callan – or both.”

Upon quarrying Salanger Radio, the manager told Scott, “Absolutely. We make copies all the time. We use a very fast speed on a unique transfer device, so a person can wait for it. They are used as back-ups or when a wire is full. We are working on a conversion to Vinal seventy-eight RPM records – best for a large audience. That takes four days.”

“That’s great,” Scott responded. “Someone will be there this morning, a Sergeant Guatino. Are you in a position to loan me another play-back unit? We are nearing the end of a huge case and don’t want to tie up the one we are using.”

“We can do that, Chief Investigator. I’ll see that your sergeant has one before he leaves.”

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts thanks you. You are helping us take a step in maintaining the safety and security of its citizens.”

Scott then called Matt Heart and briefly told of the new evidence, asking him to come to his law office in the morning and bring the District Attorney.

Next, he contacted Harry Malison. “Harry, I’m about to finish off the Southie gang. In the morning, I’m meeting with my boss and the D.A. to listen to some phone tap recordings. I find this case involves Rhode Island and New York, massive abuse of a student visa by a known gangster, and a new stash of weapons we’ve uncovered that were slated for Ireland before we disabled the gang. If I’m correct, these findings and interstate activity makes it of interest to the FBI.”

Immediately, Malison asked, “Where, and what time?”

“My law office at nine o’clock.”

After that, Scott contacted Chief Winston Grant in Somerville and asked if he might be interested in the meeting.

“With a passion, Scott,” Grant said. “After talking to you the other day, I’m feeling a little left out.”

“We can’t have that. I’ll call on you to talk about the new-found guns and explain Dino Markus and Bobby Clark.

Scott leaned back in his old squeaky office chair, lit a pipe, and turned to Allan. “Allan, should I ask Dick Taranto to this meeting. I don’t want him to feel left out, but more importantly, I think he should be here, despite what Hart might have said to him regarding Alise Nadeau.”

“I’m with you, Boss. He is the Assistant Police Commissioner, and you are planning to arrest one of his captains. I think, if you don’t ask him, it is worse than Mister Hart talking to him about dropping his investigation of Callan. In the future, you might find it difficult to get cooperation from him.”

“Right on, again, Allan,” Scott said and dialed Dick Taranto.

Scott buzzed Annie and asked that she have six copies each made of the recording transcript. “Also, Annie, please get a cable off to Inspector Sullivan, Dublin Interpol, asking for information on Gustloff Hofstadter.”

It didn’t take long for Sullivan to answer the cable. Scott was digging into some of his own business for the first time in days when Annie announced that Inspector Sullivan is on the phone.

“Frank, I sure didn’t expect such a fast response. What do you have?”

“Frankly, not much that will help you, I expect. Hofstadter is comparatively small-time, although he is wanted by most countries in West Europe. Just petty stuff on a small scale.; burglary, extortion, smuggling, and the like.”

 “Is Interpol looking for him?” Scott asked.

“Not in a big way. His home is Uster, outside of Zurich, Switzerland. He and a couple of student friends hatched a plan to swindle a bank there. This happened fifteen years ago. The plot was discovered and thwarted, and the boys reprimanded – all but Gus Hofstadter. He simply disappeared. The next time he was heard from, he was in France. Interpol only wants him to answer some questions about his father, a well-known Swiss financial figure. There is a theory he might have instigated the swindle.”

“Then I guess you don’t have a great interest in making another trip here to talk to him,” Scott said.

Sullivan was quiet for several seconds before saying, “I’ll ask around and find out just how cold the case is. In any event, if you have charges against Hofstadter, I’ll know where to find him, if necessary.”

“He is deeply involved in this case, maybe on a federal level. So, yes, his where-a-bouts will be known.”

Finishing up his work, Scott, returning a pile of folders to Annie and finds Allan helping her collate the transcriptions. “How’s it going? Almost through?” Scott askes.

“Almost,” Annie replies. “If you need Allan, I can finish up in five minutes.”

“No, you two finish what you are doing, and then we can all lock-up together. Big day tomorrow. Get a good rest so you will be at your best.”

Allan appeared at Scotts front gate at seven-thirty the next morning. After two beeps of the horn, Scott came through the gate and looked at Allan, not wearing his typical tweeds. But looking smart in a double-breasted blue blazer, gray flannel trousers, white button-down shirt topped by a quietly striped tie, his black Loafers shined to a high gloss

“Good morning, driver. Where is Sergeant Rockford today?”

“OK, Boss. You wanted me at my best, so this is part of it. I can change if you wish.”

“Actually, I appreciate you being so conscientious. Sorry for the kidding. I couldn’t help it.”

“Don’t mention it. The right kidding says a lot about friendship.”

When they arrive at Charles Street South, Al Guatino is waiting for Scott with the duplicate recording wire and the borrowed play-back unit.  

“I’ve set yesterday’s part to zero for you,” Al said. “Here are the counter numbers you will want. If you wish to go back for some older days, turn the control to rewind. This will take a lot of hunting, so I suggest you hand out the transcripts and use those instead.”

“Well done, Al. I hope you can locate Callan this late. Try the club first. At this point, we need all we can get that is incriminating. Is tomorrow OK to return this unit?”

“The manager at Salinger said to return at when convenient. So, when you are ready, let me know.”

Scott’s guests arrived soon after Guatino left. Each within minutes of the others. Scott escorted them to a conference room. Chief Grant came with John Guilford of the ATF in tow.

While setting up the equipment, Scott said, “This is a wire recorder we have been using to record telephone conversations and general discussions at the Italian Club in South Boston.

First, though, here are the reports on four individuals attached to Callan; Jason Atkins, Gus Hofstadter, Ned Zebrine, and Chuck Cressey,” Scott said while Allan handed them out. “You will be hearing these people on the recordings. Please take special note of the part about Danial Atkins, Jason’s father. If it proves to be accurate, and with the Hofstadter info, it turns this case into interstate gangsterism, which takes it beyond us. That’s why I invited Harry Malison, District head of the FBI, to this get-together. I’m also glad John Guilford from the FTA is here. John headed the team that sidetracked the shipment of weapons out of Portland earlier in this twisted case.

“Harry, you’ll be particularly interested in Gus Hofstadter, and I have more info from Interpol. I’ll tell you about it later.”

The men quickly went through the reports underlining passages and making comments among themselves.

When they became quiet, Scott said, “The recordings you will hear, and I have transcripts for all,  are pertinent sections from many hours of surveillance at the club in one day. You will see the correlation between this and the reports you’ve just read. There may be some things you do not understand. Hold these until we are through. Then, I’ll either explain them or attempt to find your answer in a week’s long effort to listen in on happenings at the club. I have some other transcripts from previous days we can turn to.”

After listening to the recording, the room remained silent for several minutes before Harry Malison stood and paced back and forth. “That is a lot to sort out and absorb, but two things I’m sure of. One, I want to arrest Hofstadter. Two is to take a hard look at Danial Atkins and, hopefully, break the chain connecting him to organized crime. Anything the FBI can do to help finalize your problem, just ask. My office is open to you all.

Chief Grant, sitting with his elbows on the table and his head resting in his hands, suddenly stood and said, “If Callan hires some hoods to steal the guns, I will have to add more security to the warehouse. I can use some help with that – more experienced help.”

Matt Hart replied, “I can help you there. We’ll work it out after this meeting. Perhaps John Guilford can join us.”

Scott took the opportunity to call on Chief Grant, asking him to relate the events surrounding the discovery of the weapons and Clark and Markos’s involvement.

“So, in conclusion, you can see Markos was familiar with Goddard, but not personally because of his low position in the gang. He did see Callan and Goddard together at the warehouse and heard of the weapons but knew nothing more. Through interrogation, Scott and I concluded that Clark is simply a victim of circumstance and not involved with either gang. On the other hand, Markos will be prosecuted as a member of the Compton Hill gang only. The connection between Callan and Goddard is the highlight of Markos’s answers, further establishing Callan’s guilt.”

Dick Taranto violently pushed his chair back, stood with his hands firmly planted on the table, and with authority said, “OK, now let’s simplify this. There is enough evidence against Callan and what is left of the C Street gangsters, as well as Hofstadter and Danial Atkins, to make arrests on actual charges. And, if not charges, on suspicion of crimes. And you have only heard part of it. I was secretly investigating Callan until I was told I was interfering with a state investigation and ordered to stop. I have evidence, as well. And I venture to say Scott and his people have accumulated supporting evidence through interviews and recordings in the previous weeks.”

Taranto continued, “We have done enough. With the threat of another attempt on Scott’s life and possible theft of the weapons, it is time to act. I agree that the FBI take care of Hofstadter and David Atkins. If necessary, the state can always get to them. That the evidence is compiled in a comprehensive way and warrants obtained. Then, put together a combined task force of Mass State and Boston police to arrest this bunch, either together or individually. Such task force to be commanded by Chief Investigator Wadsworth. There is no question of his abilities.”

“Thanks, Dick,” Scott said. “If there are any objections to the Commissioner’s comments, speak up now.”

Scott waited a couple of minutes and said, “As there are no objections, I ask Commissioner Taranto to join me in this task and FBI District Director Malison to be available for advice. With my secretary, two detective Sergeants, Qualter and Guatino, and Sergeant Rockford, we will have more than reliable help.”

            “Now, I want to tell you about and applaud the work of the people I just mentioned. They have gone all-out to intelligently and skillfully assist me. Allan’s job description says he is my driver. Believe me, he is more than that. He is highly intelligent and astute, having offered advice and opinions immeasurably helping me make decisions or change the direction of my thoughts. Even at times when not asked,” Scott added with a Smile.

Scott lifted the phone and buzzed Annie, who shortly entered the conference room pushing a rolling cart of coffee and pastries. She took Scott aside, telling him she thinks she has every word of the meeting recorded.

“How did you do that? You don’t have an input for the wire recorder.”

“I sat your Dictaphone, on slow speed, by the door. I hooked the microphone over the doorknob and turned up the sensitivity. I figured it was worth a try. I’ll take it back now and see how successful I was.

Scott stood there, shaking his head and smiling when Allan walked over. “What’s up, Boss? You look like the provable cat.”

He told Allan of Annie’s ingenuity, and they both had a good laugh. Meanwhile, Chief Grant and Matt Hart move away from the others and stand by the windows.”What is your problem with more security at the warehouse, exactly?” Grant asked.

“My city has a relatively small, under-budgeted police force for its population. Presently a patrol car circles the warehouse every half hour. We do that because of the warehouse’s previous use and to deter any return of that gang. Catching that Clark kid was on a tip. To ramp-up security for a known break-in will cut us very thin in the rest of the city.”

“Unfortunately, that’s an old story in cities where, whatever council it is, continually keeps police and fire budgets low to maintain some obscure statue or old schoolhouse. Actually, no one cares about them except for a couple of townie board members.” Hart expounded.

“That’s about the size of it,” Grant agreed.“What can you do to give us a hand?”

“I can temporarily assign volunteer state police to your force, men trained in surveillance and apprehension. Ideally, they can be stationed, on three eight-hour rotating shifts, inside the warehouse and outside observing the doors. That will take eighteen volunteers – not easy to get. However, we can work out a shift plan regardless of the number who volunteer. This will free-up your people to increase drive-by patrols.

Everyone circulated around, talking, drinking coffee, and eating pastries. Harry Malison found Scott in a corner talking to Allan. “Scott, are your guys at the Italian Club right now?”

“Yes, they spend most of every day listening in. Why do you ask?”

“If you have communication with them, I’d like to know if Gustloff  Hofstadter is there.”

“I do, Harry. Come to my office, and I’ll radio them.”

Qualter answered the radio, “How the meeting, Boss. Quite dull here – a lot of depression.”

“The meeting went well. Is Hofstadter there. The FBI wants to know.”

“Yea, he showed up about a half-hour ago.”

“Let me find out why Harry wants to know. I’ll get back to you.”

Harry answered quickly, “I want to get a man there and follow Hofstadter when he leaves. If I’m going to arrest him, I want to know a bit more about him.’’

Back on the radio, Scott related Harry’s needs and asked, “What kind of car do you have today?”

“It’s an old dark green Chevy two-door coup. I don’t know the year. Will this FBI guy let us know who he is? We don’t need another questionable character in this drama.”

“I’ll make sure of it. Thanks, see you the next time you get here. Keep in touch.”

Scott gave Harry the car information and a description of Hofstadter with his home address, then said, “Make sure your man identifies himself, so there won’t be any confusion.”

“Right, Harry said. Now can I use your phone? I need to get this moving.”

South Boston:

Qualter and Guatino, somewhat cramped in the old car, sit in a variety store lot. Guatino is operating the recorder while Qualter is slumped in his seat, head back and eyes closed. He comments, “Man, this is a long day. All they do is worry and argue. Callan hasn’t got a clean word in his head. I‘m getting tired of it.”

“It’s the life of a detective, pal. We won’t be doing this forever -- Hey, open your eyes. A blue Buick is roaming around the neighborhood – could be the FBI.”

The Buick stops in front of the store. The man goes into the store and emerges, lighting a cigarette and walking directly to Qualter and Guatino, who retrieve their revolvers. The man knocks on the window with one hand and shows his badge with the other.

Qualter cranks down the window, and the FBI man says, Nick Constance here. Make like you are giving me directions. Which car is Hofstadter’s?”

Qualter points out Hofstadter’s car, and Constance goes back to his Buick and drives off. He wasn’t seen again for a half-hour when Qualter spotted him backed into a driveway of a For Sale house on the other side of the club.

In Boston, Dick Taranto and Scott deeply review the transcriptions and select those to present to Judge Millstone. Allan returns to a chair at the end of the table with the last coffee from the urn. Taranto notices the movement and checks his watch.

“Allan, go home. It’s ten-thirty. My car is our front; I’ll take Scott home.”

On compulsion, Scott looks at his watch and says, “I’m sorry, Allan. I lost track of time. By all means, go home. First, check to see if Annie is here. Send her home if she is. I’ll apologize to her in the morning.”

“What time tomorrow, Boss?’

“I’ll walk to the statehouse. Unless I call, come in when you feel like it. I might be going to the courthouse, but not sure.”

Allan showed up at eleven o’clock as Scott and Dick Taranto were finishing compiling and packaging the transcripts. “Ah, glad you are here, Allan. We have a one-thirty appointment with Judge Millstone. We’ll leave when we finish here, have some lunch and go see the judge. It will be tight getting the warrants on the strength of the transcripts. I hope the judge is in a good mood.”


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

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

Riverville Murder - Chapter 33

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Thirty Three


Allan showed up at eleven o’clock as Scott and Dick Taranto were finishing compiling and packaging the transcripts. “Ah, glad you are here, Allan. We have a one-thirty appointment with Judge Millstone. We’ll leave when we finish here, have some lunch and go see the judge. It will be tight getting the warrants on the strength of the transcripts. I hope the judge is in a good mood.”

On the way, Allan said, “Boss, I have a question that might sound ignorant, so excuse me if it is. In the years before I was assigned to be your driver, I was in on some compelling cases. We met in a squad room and got orders from a superior and executed them. Only a couple of times did we have a full-blown meeting. I’m wondering why you have so many meetings and interviews?”

“No question is stupid if you learn something from it, Allan. This answer is, it’s the difference between investigation and detection, although the two often overlap.”

“When investigating a committed crime or one suspected of being committed, investigators study, examine, and probes all elements and people associated with a crime. Then he confers with other experts to build the best course of action and direction.”

“A detective, generally, is on the crime before an investigator. His job is to discover involved parties, to recognize falsehoods, detect the motive, and the overlapping part, determining if the offense has actually happened, then apprehend and make an arrest.”

“I see,” Allan said. “That’s the reason for all the mysterious banter with Miss Nadeau and the recent trip to Somerville. Thinking back, you actually investigated Mark Simmons before letting him into your circle. Even contacting Inspector Sullivan about Hofstadter, after you knew all about him, was an investigation of sorts, and so was the Simmons family meeting!”

“I think you have it, but remember that the functions of both can be blurred at times.”

“Now, get back to the task at hand, and don’t drive past the courthouse,” Scott joked, causing Taranto to laugh and told Allan not to pay any attention to Scott’s sarcasm, that it was an intelligent question.

Almost immediately, Scott and Dick Taranto were ushered into Judge Millstone’s elegant office. The judge blurted out,” I was wondering when I would hear from you again. You promised to keep me informed.”

“I know I did, your honor, and that is what I’m doing today. I have been swamped, what with a new turn in this case almost every day.”

“I understand,” the judge said. “Now, bring me up to date, but do it in ten to fifteen minutes.”

Scott set about condensing the last couple of weeks into a continuous stream of words, occasionally stopping to breathe and answer questions presented by the judge.

“Excellent, Chief investigator, done in precisely eleven minutes. Now, tell me why the Assistant Commissioner of Police is here with you and what you want from me,” Judge Millstone demanded.

Dick Taranto quickly answered, saying, “Since your question is regarding my presence here, I feel I should answer. Scott and I have teamed up to hatch a plan to finally end the C Street gang. Together we have worked diligently, almost through the night, in preparation for this meeting. Individually we investigated Captain Claud Callan of the Boston Police Force. Finding that my work could interfere with the state’s, we joined forces.”

Immediately Scott said. “Thanks, Dick.” And turned to the judge,

“Sir, in these envelopes are all of the recording transcriptions collated by date. Together they hold enough evidence against the gang’s leaders and others to put them away for a long time. We need your advice on the legality of using the recordings and/or the transcriptions as evidence. If you approve, arrest warrants are needed.”

Scott then explained that the FBI is actively working to arrest Gustloff Hofstadter and look into Danial Atkins’s activities, a possibly dirty police chief in Rhode Island.

“I suppose you are in a hurry, Scott? The judge asked. There’s an extremely large amount of material here. With the help of my staff, it could take a week.”

“We are monitoring Callan everywhere he goes and recording events at the Italian Club. We have addresses for all the actors in this drama. And state troopers stand ready to move in at the push of a button on a special radio. I think we can wait for a week. It won’t be easy waiting for your verdict, though. It’s been a long haul for me.”

“I’ll move things along as fast as accuracy allows. By the way, when this is over, I want to see a demonstration of this wire recorder phone tap and your extraordinary radio.”

“My pleasure, Judge. I guess we have taken enough of your day. I look forward to hearing from you.”

As they exited the courthouse, Allan stood, shielded by the car, looking at the buildings across the street. Scott noticed the pistol in Allan’s hand, held tightly to his leg. His head moving from side to side as he scanned the building’s windows and rooftops. Scott nudged Taranto and pointed out Allan’s activity.

In the car, Taranto said, “This is the very place where someone tried to shoot you, Scott. Is that what you were looking for, Allan?”

Not knowing how to take the question, Allan simply said. “Yes, but remember, there are Mass State Troopers close by doing the same thing.”

Later that day, Scott said to Allan, “That was good thinking and readiness at the courthouse. Have you ever had to shoot someone?”

“No, I haven’t – a couple of close ones, though. I’ve often wondered if I could do that and how I would feel afterward.”

Scott placed his hand on Allan’s shoulder and said, I doubt there is a responsible cop, or military person, in the world who hasn’t had the same thoughts. When it gets down to the gritty shoot or get shot, you will act as you’ve been trained. You will have regrets, but when your mind sorts it out, they will fade away. Trust me, I know. And don’t think my hand wasn’t on my Webley Mark VI.”

Sunday morning dawned clear and cold as two FBI cars, containing four agents, pulled to the curb near Gustloff Hofstadter’s apartment building, a monstrous complex noted for its exclusiveness. One car could watch the underground garage exit, while the other kept watch on the front door. It wasn’t until ten-thirty that Hofstadter’s vehicle pulled onto the street. The agents followed until Hofstadter slowed and entered the parking lot of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church.

An agent asked on the FBI radio, “Anybody know how long a Lutheran service lasts?”

An answer came back, “Depends on what Lutheran group that church belongs to, I’d say between forty-five minutes and an hour. My grandmother was a Lutheran.”

“OK, men, we have a wait. We can bag him as he comes from the church or continue to follow and see if he is up to anything today. I’m for following. I’d hate to see any bystanders hurt if things get rough.”

The same day, in a small town in southwestern Rhode Island, two FBI agents walk into a restaurant across from the police station, take a window table and order a large breakfast. An hour and a half later, they decide they have been there as long as possible without folks getting curious. They casually walk up the street and back again to their car.

“Newt, Let’s make a pass or two by his house and see if anything is happening there, the driver suggests.”

“Might as well, Bud. It’s sure Atkins isn’t here.” They drive past and see an older man and a younger one on the side yard passing around a football.

“Could that be Atkins and his son, the one hooked up with the C Street guys?” Bud asks his partner.

“Only one way to find out. Drop me off on the street behind the house. I’ll come through the properties and watch until you approach the older guy. Then, I’ll move in and handle the young one. Try to move your guy away from the kid.”

Bud brought the car to a stop, as to block the Atkins driveway. He got out and walked to the side yard, “Chief Atkins? May I speak to you for a minute or two?”

Atkins tossed a shovel pass to his son and walked toward the driver, while Newt walks swiftly through the properties to the kid. “Stand right here, son. That’s a Police Special, you feel. The FBI is arresting you for interstate racketeering. Place your hands behind your back and keep your mouth shut.”

When the chief reached Bud, looking at him inquisitively, Bud grabs Gant’s arm, forcing him to the pavement, and handcuffs him. “Davis Atkins, you are under arrest by the FBI on charges of interstate racketeering. Bud opens the car’s rear door, saying. “Get in the car, please.”

Newt follows suit with Jason Atkins, and they head for Boston, with Newt half-turned in the front seat to watch the prisoners.

Scott, sitting in his parlor after church with the boys, demands, “Now, don’t get the newspaper all messed up. There are things in it other than comics and sports, you know.”

The telephone sounded as Scott started reading the financial section. In the kitchen, Nancy picked up the phone, listened for a minute, and said, “Hold on, please, I’ll tell him – Scott, telephone,” she shouted.

The excited voice of Detective Qualter told Scott, “All hell is breaking out at the Italian Club, Boss.

“All right, calm down and start at the beginning.”

“Because things are coming to an end, we decided to work the weekend. We picked up Callan as he came out of that dump where he has breakfast. He went to police headquarters and stayed an hour. Then, went to the club.”

“He called everyone to get there ASAP. Most weren’t even out of bed. It took about two hours for them all to get there when Callan drop the bombshell. Hofstadter thinks the FBI is after him, and in Rhode Island, the FBI has arrested David and Jason Atkins. Callan found out because they are being held at the BPD  Right now. That’s how. Callan and the lieutenants are arguing about what to do. Callan wants to hang in because they are FBI grabs and probably have nothing to do with him. He reminded them that Jason’s old man is as crooked as they come and works all over New England. Ned Zebrine and Chuck Cressey want to skip out and get lost in New York or Los Vegas, but Callan says they can’t give up what’s left because Wadsworth will probably be dead in a few days, and they will have the guns to sell.”

Scott thought for a minute, then said, “I didn’t think Harry would act that fast. As you can see, it puts us in a position of rushing to make our arrests. I wish he had told me. It will take a week to get the warrants from Judge Millstone.”

“Why not just grab them on suspicion, Boss. That will give us forty-eight hours anyway, and you don’t need warrants.”

“Perhaps, Buck, I don’t think they are going anywhere. The lure of money from the guns will keep them together. I’ll call Judge Millstone first thing Monday anyway and get an opinion.”

“Can you and Al stay with Callan the rest of the day and come to my law office in the morning?”

“Will do, Boss. Hold on, Boss, Hofstadter just arrived. He wants to know what is so important on Sunday that his service called on his car phone. Just cursing now by Callan – something about the guns.”

“I’m glad you’re so devoted, working on Sunday. Stick with them. See you tomorrow.”

No sooner did Scott hung up when Dick Taranto called and started telling Scott about the FBI.

“I know, I know,” Scott interrupted Dick. “My Italian Club crew decided to work this weekend and called me earlier. Hofstadter is still free. He is at the club. You can bet the FBI guys are waiting outside. I just hope they don’t do anything crazy and blow everything.”

“Can you get ahold of Harry and ask him to back off from Hofstadter?”

“I was about to try when you called. I just finished talking to Qualter,” Scott replied.

“OK, I’ll hang up. Let me know what happens.”

Scott found that Harry Malison was nowhere to be found and left call-back messages, and contacted Qualter on the Salinger radio.

“Buck, do you see anything there that looks like FBI agents?” Scott asked.

“Yea, Boss, a couple of guys at the far end of the parking lot. They pulled in after Hofstadter.”

“I want you to get over to them and ask them not to arrest Hofstadter today. It will mess up the state’s plan to eradicate the C Street gang. Show your badge first, and tell them you are working on my orders. One of you stay at the back of the car. There is a chance they are Hofstadter’s men. Get back to me on this, please.”

Twenty minutes later, the radio sounded, and Qualter said, “They didn’t like it at all, Boss. It seems they have been on Hofstadter since very early this morning. They couldn’t get him where it was safe for bystanders. However, they agreed but said they will take it up with Malison and left.”

“I hope they do,” Scott said. “I have a bone to pick with him myself. Anything going on there?”

“A big one. Hofstadter told Callan the guns will be here sometime Tuesday. The theft will happen at four A.M. Tuesday morning. Seems like the thieves have scouted the building and hope to enter through an abandoned air intake on the roof and leave through Loading Dock C. They must know where the guns are hidden.  Maybe you should let Chief Grant know.”

“Absolutely, first thing Monday. Great job, men. Come to the statehouse tomorrow.”

Allan arrived at Scott’s early and rang the bell by the gate. The gate onto Walnut Street opened before him, and Scott met him at the front door. Come in, Allan. Have I got news for you!”

Scott poured coffee for Allan and told of the previous day’s happenings, expressing his surprise at Harry not informing him of his plan.

“No rest for the wicked, as they say. From what I know of Harry Malison, his actions are entirely unlike him. It will be interesting to hear why. Allan said, “I feel sure he has valid reasons, don’t you?”

Scott shrugged and raised his eyebrows at the question.

At Scott’s office later, everyone is listening to the recording from Sunday’s surveillance when Harry Malison entered.

“Scott, the events yesterday concerning Gustloff Hofstadter were unfortunate. My agents should not have left but waited for Hofstadter to leave that club. I had no choice other than act quickly concerning the Atkins men and Hofstadter due to Washington’s directive. There is more to Hofstadter than you know.”

“If you say so, Harry. Knowing this would have made for a more relaxing Sunday for several people.”

Lifting both arms heads high, Harry said, “It was out of my hands, Scott. Orders are orders – you know.”

“OK, I’ll buy that. Right now, I have to warn Chief Grant in Somerville and talk to Dick Taranto. I’d like you to go to the conference room with Qualter and listen to the latest recording. That will bring you up to date. Then we will discuss a joint action to get Hofstadter and the rest – if you agree.”

Allan sat at his usual place by the window listening, and later as Scott made call after call, to Matt Hart, Dick Taranto, and Chief Grant, updating all on the events of Sunday. “Too bad you weren’t born with a built-in telephone, Boss,” Allan said.

“At least everyone knows, and Grant can alert those at the warehouse. My boss agrees to a quick joint state and FBI action at the Italian Club. To top it off, Grant wants me to come to Somerville today and look over the security and talk to the FTA.”

Harry Malison returned after listening to parts of the recording. “I see your concerns about getting Callan and that crew all together. More important, though, is your protection. Do you have enough?”

Yes, I do, but right now, the thing is that the State’s Attorney has agreed to a joint action soon. What are your objections, Harry?”

“None, after hearing the recording. In fact, I think it’s a good idea – More men and a coordinated attack should make it simple.”

Glad you agree. Now, I’m needed in Somerville. You get your logistic brain working on a plan of attack. Use Annie at my other office if you need help, and we’ll talk later.”

Allan pulled onto the highway to Somerville after navigating the Boston streets. After driving several miles, the police radio called, and a voice said, “We think you are being followed. It’s a maroon Cadillac with three people. Move to the right lane and be alert. We will attempt to get on their left side. Keep the radio open for more instructions.”

Allan sped up and moved to the right lane, loosening his thirty-eight special in its shoulder holster. “Get down, Boss; it looks like trouble.” Scott got down as he pulled his Webley. Allan sped up again when he saw the Caddie approaching. As it came almost parallel to Allan, he applied the brakes, and the Caddie went past, allowing them to see the three men. One in the back seat – two in the front. The one in the front had, what appeared to be, an Uzi machine gun.

“Boss, When I move, you concentrate on the back seat. I’ll take the front. Then I’ll Jam the breaks to a sudden stop. Hopefully, the state car can jam them off the road.”

Allan lowered the windows and accelerated quickly. As they closed on the Caddie, Allan saw the man having trouble getting the Uzi out of the window. Allan raised his thirty-eight and put two rounds in the man’s forehead. The Uzi fired upward, shattering the windshield and causing the driver to swerve. Almost simultaneously, Scott firing his Wembley through the rear side window, smashed the metalwork around the back window of the swerving car, its power spraying the gunman with sharp shades of steel and glass. Another round entered his throat, ultimately killing him. The driver attempted to get away, but the state car was in the right position to force the Caddie off the road. After it was over and more state troopers appeared and took charge, Allan continued on to Somerville.

Scott turned to Allan, saying, “Looks as if you answered your own question about using your weapon.”

“Truthfully, it’s all a blur. I guess I acted on instinct. Maybe I can put it all in sequence in a couple of days.”

“Only partly by instinct,” Scott said. “Don’t underestimate your training and your need to save both our lives. You did it perfectly, My friend. You’ll be getting a medal -- and a raise if I can manage it.”

In Summerville, Scott, Allan, and John Guilford are in the warehouse being shown around by Chief Grant. “Well, what do you think of the security and positioning of police?”

Scott responded, “I don’t know how much more you can do. Although, if it were me, I’d like a master switch for turning on very bright lights at strategic places. It can startle intruders and might disorient them – to say nothing of a visual advantage. The crooks are going to be using flashlights and aren’t expecting anything else.”

Later, John Guilford questioned Scott and Chief Grant about the Provisional IRA connections to the weapons.

Grant motioned to Scott for an answer. “I think that PIRA contact is over,” Scott offered.  “Gus Malone, the Provo contact, is presently in Interpol’s hands, and Global Mortgage and Loan no longer exists. Callan has no interest in Ireland. He needs money to keep the gang going and for recruitment. Naturally, there might be others somewhere in the U.S. with a PIRA interest. I don’t know any.”

“That is certainly reasonable, Scott, and I’ll pass it up the ranks,” Guilford said. “I would like to hang in the fringes of this operation, as before, just to witness the finale.”

“Fine with me,” Scott said. “Be at my law office at eight o’clock tomorrow. We will be doing the final strategy for the arrests, which might occur that afternoon or evening.


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

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

Riverville Murder - Chapter 35

riverville cover lg

Case of the Riverville Murder

A Short Story by Ernie Whitenack

Chapter Thirty Five


Time went slowly until someone found the coffee machine that Qualter found when the bar was used on the previous raid. Bottled water and coffee were still in the storeroom. Playing cards were found under the serving bar.

The four-hour wait ended when the Salinger Radio squealed, and Qualter said, “Everyone is in the building, Boss. The two FBI agents following Hofstadter have taken positions on the left side of the building. I waited ten minutes before contacting you to see if anyone else came. None did. You can come ahead.”

Scott shouted for attention, then said, “We have the go-ahead, men. Get to your vehicles and proceed to the Italian Club. Do not park in the lot. Find spots on the street and go directly to your assigned positions. When you hear the car horn signal, Move quickly through the front door in the given order – FBI first.”

Guatino, agents Bud Strome and Newt Gates moved quickly from the checkroom and separated inside the club. Callan jumped from his chair, knocking it over, turned, and reached for his revolver.

“Not a good idea, Mister Callan,” Newt Gates shouted as he lifted an Uzi machine gun, under evaluation by the FBI, with a twenty-five round magazine in Callan’s direction. “This weapon will cut you in half before you can disable the safety.”

Callan froze, then quickly raised his hands over his head. “OK, OK, take it easy, will ya!”

When Harry Malison and his men rushed through the front door, He saw the subjects all standing with hands on their heads. Sergeant Guatino and the two FBI agents were out of the coatroom and standing in the main room. They had taken positions at nine, twelve, and three o’clock with weapons drawn.

Malison is in the process of handcuffing the arrestees when Scott applauded by saying, “Great job, you three. Sorry, I don’t know your names, FBI agents, but you and Al Guatino are positively instrumental in this operation’s safe conclusion. Had we known it would go as it did, we would not tie up all of this manpower.”

Charging and booking the four men took the rest of the day and into the evening because of the combination of authorities involved, Massachusetts, FBI, and Boston, charges overlapping in many cases.

Later that evening, Scott, Allan, Harry, Frank, and John Guilford sat in a large booth at Jake Wirth’s Restaurant. “To bad Commissioner Taranto was too busy at BPD headquarters to be with us,” Allan said.

Frank Gray sipped his beer before saying, “Boy! This is like old times, being here with my longtime friends. Too bad Abe Müller isn’t here – he enjoyed these get-togethers so much.”

Scott, blowing bluish pipe smoke at the ceiling, remarked,” Yes, it was unfortunate for Abe to get out of Germany only to be accosted by Nazi spies in this country. And almost losing his life. After that, he extracted every bit of joy he could get from life. His friends were one of those joys. My boys, as young as they were then, still talk of Abe.”

As they relaxed after dinner, Harry Malison said, “Nice compliment you gave the inside men at the club, Scott, and I agree. But I believe in being safe rather than sorry and would have insisted on heavy manpower. And, I don’t mind bumping heads with you, old friend.

In the morning, and before Allan came, Scott called Mark Simmons at Carl Hendersen’s home in Riverville. “Mark, it’s over. We made the last raid on Callan and what was left of Goddard’s gang. They are all behind bars awaiting trial. You can come home.”

The telephone was silent for a while before Mark spoke. “I don’t know what to say. I’m undoubtedly happy at the thought of returning home, but sorry to leave my new friends.”

“I can understand that, having known the Hendersen clan for many years. I’m sure you will be welcome to visit at any time. What do you say I pick-up your Mom and Dad tomorrow and come for you? That will give you time to pack and say goodbye.”

“Great,” Mark said with a smile in his voice. I have missed my family deeply. I’ll be ready whenever you get here, Mister Wadsworth – guess we’ll finally have our meeting without gunfire.”

Scott laughed, then replied, “See you tomorrow – late morning, I estimate.”

“Where to this morning?” Allan asked as Scott entered the car.

“Let’s go see Judge Millstone. I promised him I would keep him current, and he has some time set aside for me this morning.”

The judge got right to business, telling Scott the latest recordings clinched the case for him, that he can unequivocally say the arrests were made on concrete evidence. He would see that the proper warrants are written and delivered to the court officer in charge and again asked Scott about Alice Nadeau. Scott went into as much detail about Nadeau as he felt necessary and explained her association with the Boston Police and Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

After Judge Millstone’s prodding, Scott then related Mark Simmons’s story and the charade he and Allan pulled off to protect Mark.

“A feat of pure ingenuity,” the judge said. “I’m happy to know the boy is well. Will you hire him now?”

“If that’s what he wants. I can sure use him.” Scott replied.

“Scott, the arrest of Callan will undoubtedly cause an upheaval in the Boston Police department. Do you think, considering your friendship with Taranto, the commissioner’s office can handle it?”

“Dick Taranto is already on it, vowing to clean out the crooked cops and the deadwood. In six months to a year, he plans to have a highly efficient and honest department working for the Boston people.”

“I hope you’re correct. When the newspapers start talking about the case, and it comes out that Callan ordered the shooting of Simmons and the two attempts on your life, the public will be up in arms and demanding reform. And, there is the chance of them losing trust in the police. We don’t need anarchy in our streets,” the judge asserted.

On his way to the door, Scott said, “Thanks very much for your help and support, Judge Millstone. As for the  Boston people, I hope they are more trusting of authority than that and look to the police department to clean its own house. Time will tell.”

Later, at the statehouse, Scott is in Matthew Hart’s office discussing the charges and who is to be charged with what. “Scott, this is mighty complicated. Can you think of an easier way than trying to remember who did what crime.?”

Scott replied, “I think it should be to find a crime in the transcriptions and tie it to a name. Get a couple of workers from the steno pool, have them put down the four names, then go through the transcripts and when a crime is associated with a name, write it in next to that name. In the process, they can also mark any crimes or activities they can’t associate with a person or have a question about. It will then be up to my people and me to answer those questions and associate crimes with people. Once in a rough stage, it can all be typed up and given to the proper prosecuting authority. It might take a couple of days, but will not be guesswork, and perhaps faster.”

“You were closer to this than anyone else, so I’ll accept your theory and give the steno pool a call right now. You hang around and explain it to the people from the pool, Please. Maybe Allan can help.” Matt said with relief.

“I’ll get Qualter and Guatino on it if needed..” Scott said. “They’ll want to see the results of their hard work in an orderly and useful form. I need Allan all day tomorrow.”

Things quieted down for a while until three people, two young ladies and a gentleman, showed up from the steno pool. They bucked at the idea of doing work outside of their job description, stenographers.

Allan stepped in and talked to them. He stressed the importance of the work and the contribution they will be giving to the state and nation. Allan poured on the charm. Being closer in age than Scott, he used all the day’s buzz words and social attitude. He won them over, and the stenographers happily started to work.

“I can have the two detectives who did the recording come in and help you out,” Scott offered.

“No thanks, We’ll figure it out and devise a system of working. I estimate twelve hours to complete. If we hit a block, I’ll be in touch for help. I suppose Mister Hart will know where to reach you,” said one of the stenographers – obviously, the leader as she packed up all the material and moved to the door.

Allan made his usual mid-afternoon trip to the coffee room, sat the cup on Scott’s desk, and asked, “What’s on for the morning, Boss? Do we go directly to the Simmons home or elsewhere?”

“As of this moment, we’ll be going to Charles Street South. That could change, though, depending upon what the rest of today brings. I’ve been neglecting my practice -- must call Annie and see what’s happening.

“You do have a couple of things that need your attention,” Annie said, “The Cleaver Candy contract with International Sugar needs a final going-over, and you need to set a date to deliver it. Two other items should be in their final stage and aren’t. I also have a stack of calls. A couple of them need return calls, but the rest of them may or may not be important, but I’ll leave that up to you.”

“Thanks, Annie. I’ll see you at nine tomorrow, and we’ll sort it all out. I’m due in Riverville early tomorrow afternoon. Mark is coming home, and I am going to pick up his parents to go with me. I’ll want to leave the office by eleven-thirty.”

“So, it’s to the office,” Allan said. Are you going to walk, or shall I pick you up?”

“Better pick me up. I tend to dilly-dally otherwise, and I don’t want to be late. Now I need to talk to Matt for a few minutes about checking on the stenographers’ progress. Then we can leave.”

Scott stands to leave when the leader of the stenographers comes in. “Do you have a minute, Mister Wadsworth?”

Scott motions her to a chair, and she says, “Here is a preliminary example of how we will organize your information. You will see on this graph paper that we have not put violations after the names. Crimes are listed across the top—the offender’s names down the left. Checkmarks are placed in the violation columns to the right of individual names. Each mark associates that crime to that offender. This is the fastest way to complete the project. We have done a time test on both methods. This one is twenty-five percent faster.”

“My goodness, you sure work quickly. It’s only been a couple of hours. How did you do it?”

“I must confess, I put the whole pool, those that weren’t busy, on it. If you approve, I’ll go back to only the three of us and get it done. Actually, the other two are working on it right now. That’s how confident I am that this is the best way, from the standpoint of compiling and using the information.”

“How can I dispute that?” Scott asked. “Great job, and I’m delighted. Convey my thanks to your people, please.”

The next morning, Scott went over his unattended contracts and letters with Annie, then met with the rest of his staff to answer questions and thank them for performing so well in his absence. As he returned to his own office, Annie stopped him to say, ”Frank Gray is on the phone.”

Scott lit a pipe, picked up his phone, and said, “Frank, what can I do for you this morning.”

“I have some disturbing information. Apparently, one of the Providence papers got wind of the raid at the Italian Club and called me to ask if it was true. I danced all around the question until he realized I wasn’t going to give him a straight answer. He then told me if the rumor is true, the authorities will have to look higher than Callan before they end corruption. I tried to get more from him, but he refused to elaborate.”

“That is disturbing. I thought we were finished with a case that was too extensive in the first place. Now I’ll have to start a whole new sub-section of the case. I’m wondering if Mark Simmons should come home. It’s a little late to change plans, so I’ll talk to his folks when I pick them up, and we will decide when we get to Riverville.”

“From what I know, I wouldn’t make a hasty call on that,” Frank said. “Your investigation was extraordinarily complete and didn’t pick up anything beyond Callan. The guy I talked to could just be blowing smoke out of his ear.”

“You’re right, Frank. I’ll talk it over with the family but underplay any danger to Mark. If I were a crooked cop allied with Callan, and considering all the arrests, I wouldn’t make any moves to disclose myself.”


Mark Simmons and his family agreed to Mark returning home. Mark had let his hair grow and was sporting a neat Van Dyke beard and put on some weight. The beard was a little hard for his mother to accept.

“Keep that look for a while,” Scott said. “You won’t be easily recognized, although, at this time, it is doubtful if anyone is out to harm you. There is no one left to pay them for the job, and it appears all of the attempts at you and me were hired out by Callan.”

As Allan loaded Mark’s belongings into the car’s trunk, Mark was saying his goodbyes to the Hendersens. There were hugs, tears, and kisses until Carl loudly said, “OK, that’s enough. Let the poor guy go home. Mark, get in the car with my sincere hope that you return soon. You are family now, and please consider this your second home. You and your family are always welcome.”

Chief of Police Hendersen stepped up to Scott, car window and said, “ I’d like to have that young man on the force here, Scott. I might just steal him one of these days when you’re not looking.”

Scott laughed while Allan pulled away from the curb, leaving the Hendersen and Adams folks standing on the sidewalk waving.

In the distance ahead, a darkening sky and increasing winds caused Allan to say, “Rain ahead,” as he directed the car toward Boston. “At this hour in the afternoon, it’s bound to slow us down. I hope no one has anything important to do this evening.”

It wasn’t long before pounding raid made a drum-like staccato on the car’s roof, and the windshield wipers struggled to do their job. “The road is really slick,” Allan said, “I think we should pull in somewhere and wait. This is a passing squall that should be over soon.”

“There is a steak house at the top of this hill. Pull in there, Allan,” Scott ordered.

Marked watched as two cares followed them into the parking lot. “Those two cars that came in after us haven’t been far away since we left Riverville. I don’t like the look of it,” Mark said. “They have been taking turns at being ahead and behind us all the way.”

Scott turned in his seat, smiled at Mark, saying, “They are my protection – state police provided by the Mass. State’s Attorney. With me twenty-four hours a day, everywhere I go, they go – even patrol my neighborhood all night. I have to find out just how many troopers are assigned to this duty and their names. I need to thank them personally. And, Mark, I’m glad your senses haven’t dulled from leading the soft life.”

After delivering Mark and his parents’ home, Allan went directly to Charles Street South, where Annie sat in her raincoat waiting for them in the outer office.

“Annie! It’s six-thirty. Why are you still here?” Scott asked.

“I waited to give you an important message – thought it the best way to make sure you receive it. Commissioner Taranto called just before five. He stressed how important it is to talk to you the second you return. He said to hunt him down no matter what time it is. Now, do you need me anymore?” Annie asked.

“No, please go home, and many thanks.”

Dick Taranto was at his home when Scott called. “I have some terrible news, Scott. BPD Chief Cosmo Natali was found dead in his office lavatory, sitting on the toilet. His service revolver was on the floor, and half of his head is blown away. Pinned to his shirt was an envelope with your name on it. Naturally, we had to take it for fingerprints. Cosmo’s prints are the only ones on the envelope or its contents.”

Scott, trying to absorb it all, finally asked, “Do you have the note?”

“Yes, I walked it through the forensic process to make sure it didn’t get lost. You will need it to conclude your investigation. Do you want me to read it?”

“No,” Scott replied emphatically. “I first have to accept that a good guy is dead. I liked him despite what the note might say. And I’d bet a week’s pay that I know exactly what it says. Please messenger it to my statehouse office in the morning, and thanks for your consideration.”

“You OK, Boss?” Allan asked. “You’re as white as a sheet. Do you want some water? What’s happened?”

“We just had this case concluded for us. Chief of Police Cosmo Natali has killed himself and left a note for me. We’ll get it in the morning. I’m exhausted, so let’s go home, my friend. I’ll walk to the statehouse tomorrow. You take your time coming in. You’ve earned a late morning.”

Dear friend, Scott:

I just couldn’t stand the guilt any longer. I’m the last of Nathan Goddard’s associates. You have cleaned out the two organizations he headed. In a few minutes, there will be no more.

For years, Captain Callan and I have been covering up, alerting, and aiding the C Street gang’s propagation. We were well paid. It is only a matter of time before you discover my traitorous activity.

Now, in retrospect, I look at my early days as a patrolman, proud to serve the residents of Boston, and wonder what got me to this point. Geed is my only answer -- The greed for money and faster promotions. Suddenly I realize that none of it was worth the harm I have inflicted or the overpowering shame I feel at this minute. I thought of surrendering myself, but I cannot face the humiliation or the incarceration I face.


Cosmo Natali, Chief of Police

Allan came in with two cups of coffee and immediately noticed the grim expression on Scott’s face.

“I guess you already have the note, Boss,” as Scott pushed the letter across his desk for Allan to read.

Allan read Natali’s message, folded it, and handed it back to Scott. “That’s a tragic story, Boss. Was he a good friend?”

“I respected him,” Scott replied. “He was a good cop when he walked a beat – friendly and helpful to everyone. His climb to Chief of Police was comparatively fast – nothing to complain about. I would never suspect him of being in league with Goddard. Of course, it would eventually come to light. Someone would give him up in an attempt to help themselves. I’m really shocked, though.”

Scott continued, as he rose from his desk, “I have to show this to the State’s Attorney. While I’m out, Allan, please get ahold of Qualter or Guatino and get them here. Make sure they bring the Salinger Radio equipment and all the recording wire. Oh yes, the radio as well. Try to find out who in the state police has the radio now, and instruct them to get it to this office. We’ll take them back to Salinger later.”

“Chief Cosmo Natali. In a hundred years, who would suspect him of being dirty! A sad ending to an illustrious career,” Matt said. “Time for this department to move on and concentrate on getting all of those crooks in jail. The DA and his crew have a huge task ahead of them.”

“I just started to wonder what is happening in that regard. I’ve been so busy rounding up offenders, I haven’t been able to keep up.”


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

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

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