Case 6

Location: Kiama, New South Wales, July 2010

When IPCS arrived on the scene the two story home was filled from top to bottom with still wrapped packages of clothes, fabric, household-goods, newspapers collected over 20 years, magazines, books and

– not visible anymore on this photo: food.
Cockroaches crawled all over as soon as dusk came.

Under piles of empty cornflake-boxes and recent leftovers, IPCS found this old book: it is a non-fiction book about insects, written and beautifully illustrated with copper-etchings.

It is from 1893 as you can see on the inner title page.

Curiously, it was opened at page 645, the page describing "a party of cockroaches in the kitchen". When we came in, I learned that the woman (who was immediately removed from her home) had been a seamstress who emigrated from Germany.

She had lived in this house for 30 years, most of them alone, after her husband’s early death. When she had called the police for help because she imagined thieves in her home, she was discovered in her living room, in poor health, disorientated, unable to properly take care of herself and hadn’t left the house for weeks. Because of the risk of the pests in her house spreading into the neighbourhood IPCS got involved.
It turned out, that almost everything in this house needed to be thrown away, however I saved this book, fumigated and offered it to her son who arrived upon notice from Germany, where he lives. He left it to me and it is now part of our specialist-literature.