IELTS Reading Practice Test 12 Printable

Reading Passage 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-28, which are based on Reading Passage 2 below.

The Tamam Shud Case

It has been more than 65 years since the Taman Shud case was first opened, but this notoriously bizarre murder mystery from Australia continues to baffle scientific investigators and crime aficionados from around the world today.

On the morning of 1st December 1948, the body of an unidentified man was discovered propped against a rock wall on Somerton beach in Adelaide, opposite the Crippled Children’s home. The man was around 40-45 years old, had an athletic figure and was dressed in a smart suit and tie. He had no form of ID on him and all the labels on his clothes had been removed. The only things found on his body were an unused 10:50 a.m. ticket from Adelaide Railway Station to Henley Beach for the 30th November, a packet of chewing gums, an aluminium comb, a packet of cigarettes, a box of Bryan & May matches, sixpence and a small piece of paper with the words “Tam am shud” printed on it – which means “ended” or “finished” in Persian. To make matters more interesting, the autopsy revealed that his death had been unnatural, but determined no cause of death: although he had clearly died of heart failure, his heart had been healthy and no signs of violence or poisoning were discovered in his system.

The case garnered media attention almost immediately, with dozens of people with missing friends and relatives travelling to Adelaide to have a look at the Somerton man’s body – but none of them being able to positively identify him. The next piece of evidence came when a journalist named Frank Kennedy discovered that the piece of paper with the printed words had been ripped from the last page of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a book of collected poems by Omar Khayyam, an 11th century Persian poet. Following pleas by the police for the public to check their copies of The Rubaiyat for any missing pages, a local man brought in the correct copy, which he reported having found in the back seat of his car six months earlier, around the time the corpse had been discovered.

This is where things get even more complicated: in the back of the book, police discovered five lines of letters that appeared to be some sort of secret code. In the back cover, they also found a phone number which led them to a 27-year-old woman known as “Jestyn” who lived on Moseley Street, a stone’s throw from the crime scene. Jestyn denied any knowledge of the man and was generally guarded and non-committal throughout the police interview. Nevertheless, the police decided not to pursue the lead. As for the code? Despite years of research by cryptology experts and students, no one has managed to crack it to this day.

It’s not just the mysterious code, however, that makes this case so popular with crime fans. It’s been more than half a century since the man’s death, but his identity is still a mystery. Although copies of the victim’s fingerprints and photograph, as well as the name “T. Keane” (which was written on some labels found in his suitcase) were sent around the world to all Commonwealth countries, the search turned up no results. Some theories regarding the man’s origins have arisen over the years, with many believing that he was American due to the predominantly US way the stripes slanted on his tie, his aluminium comb (rare in Australia at the time) and the belief that Americans were far more likely to chew gum than Australians in the 1940s. Others also theorise that he was Jestyn’s lover, and perhaps even a Soviet spy agent – although this all still remains just speculation for now.

Interest in the case was rekindled in 2013, following an interview on the show 60 Minutes with Kate Thompson, the daughter of “Jestyn” – whose actual name was revealed to be Jo Thompson. Kate Thompson claimed that her mother had lied to the police about not knowing the Somerton Man. She also said her mother was a Soviet spy with a “dark side” and that she might’ve been responsible for the man’s murder. Also participating in the show were Roma and Rachel Egan, wife and daughter respectively of Kate Thompson’s late brother Robin, whom many believe to have been the Somerton man’s son. The two women have backed a request to get the man’s body exhumed in the interest of proving this claim, which they also believe to be correct. A similar bid had been rejected previously in 2011 by Attorney-General John Rau, citing insufficient “public interest reasons”. There is currently a petition on Change.org, as well as an lndiegogo campaign to raise funds in support of solving the case.

Questions 15-20
Complete the timeline below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage 2 for each answer.
1948, November 30th – The Somerton Man misses a train to 15 ________.
1948, December 1st – The Somerton Man’s body is discovered on Somerton beach
1948, December 2nd – Post mortem reveals no 16 ________.
1949, January 14th – Adelaide Railway Station discover deceased man’s suitcase
1949, July 22nd – A businessman from Somerton hands in copy of poem book that contains the 17 ________ and Jestyn’s 18 ________ .
1949, July 25th – Police visit Jestyn at her house on 19 ________ to speak with her – she remains 20 ________ during questioning.

Questions 21-24
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-G below.

21 The code written on the back of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
22 Journalist Frank Kennedy
23 The identity of the woman to whom the phone number belonged
24 Kate Thompson’s sister-in-law

A believes her daughter is related to the Somerton man.
B has tried to solve it for decades with no results.
C was revealed by her daughter in 2013.
D inadvertently assisted the police in their investigation.
E was only named as “Jestyn”.
F remains a mystery.
G revealed that Jo Thompson was a cruel Soviet spy.

Questions 25-28
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

25 According to the autopsy on the Somerton man
A his heart failed for no reason.
B there were traces of poison in his system.
C he was physically fit.
D there was nothing wrong with his heart.

26 The copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with the missing page
A was discovered in a local man’s garage.
B was in a local man’s possession for six months after the murder.
C was discovered by a local man six months after the murder.
D was found by journalist Frank Kennedy.

27 One of the reasons many believe that the Somerton Man was American is that
A he wasn’t found in any database in Commonwealth countries.
B he had been chewing a gum before his death.
C his tie had an American pattern of stripes.
D the name “T. Keane” was found in his suitcase.

28 Roma and Rachel Egan
A are critical of attempts to exhume the Somerton man’s body.
B disagree that Robin Thompson was the Somerton man’s son.
C backed the request that was rejected in 2011 by Rau.
D voiced their beliefs on the same programme as Kate Thompson.

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