Monday, March 13, 2017

Mystery Monday: Isidor Fink

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



For today's mystery, we take you back in time a bit...to March 9, 1929. A laundryman by the name of Isidor Fink was in his laundry in New York City.



At approximately 10:30 pm, a neighbor heard screams. He tracked down a police officer and they headed straight for the laundry. They found all of the windows and doors locked from the inside.


5th Avenue, NYC, 1920s

There was a transom, but they couldn't fit through it. Only a small child could squeeze into the space. They found a young boy who crawled in and let them in. This is a transom:



Once inside, they found Isidor dead from three gunshot wounds. Yet there was no gun. Very little time had passed since the neighbor had heard the scream.



Nothing had been stolen, so robbery was ruled out. Fink was known to be a careful man who never opened the door to strangers. The only fingerprints found in the room were Isidor's.



The case was never solved. Not only was there no motive, detectives couldn't figure out how anyone had committed the crime and escaped, since the room was sealed from the inside.

Can you solve this mystery?

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36 comments:

  1. Someone had to lock the door behind him as he left. Or there was a passage they never found.

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  2. I don't know if my original comment went through, so if this is a duplicate, I apologize.

    I would say whoever killed this man had a key. I don't think you could lock a door behind you back then without a key. Even worse, whoever killed him probably also knew him well.

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    1. Good point!!! I know that came up in a case in England where there was a murder that happened. It was mentioned that all their doors HAD to be locked from outside back then. Today, we all assume someone just turned the lock and closed the door!

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    2. I'm agreeing with Maria. The killer had a key. We need to know more about Mr. Fink to determine the motive, but if police say no motive, to me, they must have done and extensive investigation of all people in Fink's inner circle.

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  3. I agree with Alex's guess. It does sound really mysterious. And I wonder what the motive was.

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    1. Seems money is usually the motive, unless he angered someone...

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  4. I agree with Alex. Sounds like there was a secret passage that was never discovered. Interesting case.

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  5. The victim knew the killer, had a key and, given the times, I would make a bet that the mafia or some granites crime was involved. What did Isador do for a living? Was he a shop owner? Maybe he wouldn't cave in to do someone's bidding?? Since he was an immigrant and, I am guessing, Jewish, the prejudices would make his killing lower on the list to solve.

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    1. The mafia almost always gets a mention with this one...I think because they were always so clever! Yes, he owned that laundry.

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  6. Hi Steph - I've no idea ... other than what the others have said ... poor old chap - and on that note - cheers! Hilary

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    1. Yes, my Monday mornings always start out with stories of some poor soul's murder!

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  7. The bullets came through the floor/walls/ceiling and the poor guy was shot by accidentd?

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    1. It's not as easy to find info. on this one as I thought it'd be, as famous as it is...but I'm pretty sure I heard/read somewhere that there were no bullet holes coming from the outside in.

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    2. Well, there goes that theory lol.

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  8. I love the idea of locked room mysteries but am sorry they never solved this.

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    1. Most mystery writers love this one!

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  9. The secret passage from Alex, and keys as other suggestions sound plausible, but what in the heck could have been the motive? Was someone angry, jealousy, or what? This is a real stumper Steph!

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    1. Business owners could anger a lot of people during that time for some reason!

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  10. I think the Ourang-Outang did it! Only instead of a razor, he used a gun. (Solved by one of my favorite authors: "Murders in the Rue Morgue" Edgar Allen Poe)
    Seriously? Maybe someone shot him through the transom. Motive? I don't know--too much starch in his trousers? That would make a person a little testy.

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    1. Okay, now that's the cleverest comment!

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  11. I also thought he might have been shot through the transom. If everything was locked from the inside... Sounds like a mystery for Poirot to solve.

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    1. The transom could be the key...not sure how high up it was.

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  12. Creepy. My only thought was that someone must have had a key. I doubt they did a thorough investigation in 1929.

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    1. I guess all they could do was dust for fingerprints back then? It would've been MUCH easier to get away with murder in 1929.

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    1. It's probably the most well-known "locked-room mystery."

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  14. where's columbo when you need him. i am not clever in mysteries like these, but i enjoy interesting true stories like these. it must have been someone he knew, that he angered!!!

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  15. I agree--the killer had a key or took Mr. Fink's key (they didn't mention if he still had his key)--or there might have been a secret passage which many old houses had back then--or shot him through the transom. Several ways it could have been done. Obviously more to Mr. Fiink than meets the eye. ;)

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  16. It was the neighbor! He killed him, locked everything and told the Police he heard screams [he probably did , the victim screaming!]

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  17. Very cool post! In your description, you say all of the doors and windows were "locked from the inside," but as others have already noted, that may not have been the case. Someone with a key could have entered, killed him, and then locked up as (s)he left. If he'd been shot from the transom, I think that would have been evident by the angle at which the bullets struck poor Mr. Fink. Yep, it could've been a hit job... because maybe, just maybe, he was laundering something other than clothing, and got a little too greedy with the wrong people.

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  18. Right away I thought the killer knew Mr. Fink, and had access to the room, and locked everything up after him. You'd have to be a pretty tall jumper to make it in and over and transom.

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  19. I agree with the other commenters that someone must've either had a key or there was some sort of secret passage they never found. Or maybe they left and then, if he was still barely alive, he locked the door himself? But then there'd have been a blood trail and he'd probably have been right near the door.

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  20. I agree with the general consensus here...the killer knew him and had a key.

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  21. What a mystery!! Would really love to know what happened!! There must have been some secret passage???

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