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"Telephone Inspector Stagg!"
Incidents in the life of Inspector Franklin Stagg
 as reported by Detective Sergeant Orrin Brush
& edited 

by EO Costello

Sgt Brush greets Inspector Stagg

Introduction by the Editor

By Orrin F.X. Brush IV
Detective Superintendent, Spontoon Islands Constabulary

I think many readers of the materials presented here will recall the dramatic events of October 9, 1988 in New Haven City, when thousands of university students, bearing only candles, stared down the massed security forces of that nation's totalitarian regime under the eyes of the massed television cameras of the world.  This silent, peaceful defiance triggered a mutiny, which in turn brought down that government, after nearly 57 years of harsh, unrelenting rule.

     In the aftermath of the "Candlelight Revolution," there was renewed interest in the fate of the victims who suffered and perished during those six decades at the paws of old Revolution.  New Haven's new regime held a long series of public hearings, starting in 1990, in which the files of the old regime were used to lay out the true horrors and tragedies inflicted on that nation.

     For the first time in many years, original footage from the 1930s was shown of the various show trials the old regime had held in order to "liquidate" (a favourite term) those that it considered ideologically unclean.  One cannot fail to sense the tragedy and defeat written on the faces of many of these individuals, who clearly bore the agonies of physical and mental torture.

    One of the figures in these trials stands out, however.  Franklin J. Stagg had, at the time of the original 1931 revolution, been Chief of New Haven's State Police, as well as a rather lesser known involvement in New Haven's intelligence services.  These posts came after a long period as a highly successful detective in that force, as well as a posting as an intelligence officer with the New Haven Flying Corps in Europe, during the "Great War."  Stagg was, typically, charged in his show trial with a long series of alleged "crimes," for which death was the only "logical" outcome.  Stagg, in spite of his obvious tortures, defended himself with vigour and spirit.  In vain, of course, but even shorn of his horns and dressed in prison clothes, and under a hail of catcalls and abuse from the trial's audience and judges, he still managed to bear himself with dignity and honour.

     The circumstances surrounding his escape from New Haven, while under sentence of death, are still unknown.  He sought, and was refused, asylum in the United States.  To its shame, in my opinion; a decision based on expedient diplomacy and not justice.

     The government of the Spontoon Islands, at this time, was undergoing a profound reorganization of both its law-enforcement and intelligence services.  It was realized by the Althing that the growth of the nation, as well as the growing forces that could menace Spontoon's independence, required a degree of professionalism in its approaches.  To this end, the Spontoon Island Constabulary appointed Franklin Stagg its first Detective Inspector in 1934.  His sole subordinate, appointed as Detective Sergeant, was my great-grandfather, Orrin F.X. Brush I.

     My great-grandfather was of two worlds: he had one foot in the "uplands," the mountainous areas of the Main Island where he grew up, but another foot squarely in Meeting Island, where he had been educated.  He thus was exposed to both the native culture, and the "Euro" culture of those days, and spoke both their languages, though his English, to his dying day, bore an extremely heavy Uplander accent, and a somewhat cheerfully haphazard approach to grammar.

     An uncle gave my great-grandfather a Dictaphone, acquired from heaven knows where, as well as thousands of wax cylinder blanks.  These, along with other cylinders he acquired later, were used to record on a daily basis my great-grandfather's thoughts, usually at the end of his workday.  (And, occasionally, the thoughts of younger Brushes; there is one cylinder that exists, dating from the mid-1940s, of my father cheerily reciting his ABCs.)  My great-grandfather was a keen believer in self-improvement, and wanted to learn the art of detection as thoroughly as he could, and treated Inspector Stagg as his teacher.

     My great-grandfather had enormous respect for Inspector Stagg, and long after the latter's death in 1944, a picture of him could be found, in a small silver frame, on his desk.  It pained him considerably that the memory of Franklin Stagg slowly began to fade, until it could no longer be found, except in the memories of long-serving constables and newspaper reporters (and, curiously, in native legends).  He lived, barely, to see me commissioned into the Constabulary in 1986.  Almost the last thing he said to me was a plea, which can only be expressed in his fashion: "That poor guy didn't get no justice from nobody, an' it ain't right.  You're th' one who's gotta get 'im some, see?"

     In 2000, the Eight Network in New Haven contacted our family, as part of the research they were conducting for a documentary on the 1932 Show Trials.  My great-grandfather's Dictaphone cylinders were produced.  Thanks to a grant from the University of the North Pacific, these cylinders were both preserved and transcribed.  In addition, steps were taken in 2001 to finally declassify many intelligence documents relating to Franklin Stagg's contributions, particularly in the area of signals intelligence, to the efforts to defend the Spontoon Islands and its allies during the runup to conflicts of the 1940s and beyond, leading to the ultimate success he did not live to see.

    The materials in this and other volumes have been arranged to show, on a case-by-case basis, Stagg's involvement in law enforcement in the Spontoon Islands.  They form an interesting companion to the other materials regarding his prior career in law enforcement in New Haven, and his long-standing work in signals intelligence for both New Haven and the Spontoons, which are the subject of works by other editors.  Furthermore, interest spurred by the Eight Network's broadcast in the Spontoons of the final documentary has in turn spurred examination of other materials by other authors that refer this long-forgotten figure.  In a sense, the presentation of these cases to you, the reader, is one-half of the justice my great-grandfather sought for Franklin Stagg.

     The other half was delivered in September of 2004, when the remains of Franklin J. Stagg, having been removed from the church on Meeting Island where he had been buried, were finally returned to his native land, to be laid to rest with full military honours and Requiem Mass in the newly rebuilt and reconsecrated National Cathedral in New Haven City.  It was an honour for me to accompany the casket to its final resting place on behalf of the Althing, and I'm sure my great-grandfather would have been pleased to see his fondest wish fulfilled.

Police Headquarters, Meeting Island
28 September 2004

to the cases
"Telephone Inspector Stagg!"