6. The Locked Room Mystery: Murder of Isidor Fink

On March 9, 1929 Polish immigrant Isidor Fink was murdered in his New York City laundry in what is a quintessential case of a locked-room mystery. Shortly after arriving home the neighbors heard terrible screams. The police arrived on the scene only to find the door locked from the inside and the windows nailed shut from the inside as well. With the windows also being too small to climb through, the police gained access to the apartment by means of a small child who was lifted through the transom.

What the police found was a baffling scene that to this day defies any logic. Fink was found dead with three gunshot wounds to his chest and wrist. No weapons were recovered from his apartment, while the only fingerprints found were his own. Murder was ruled out by the fact the murderer would not have been able to lock the door from the inside; moreover no murder weapon was recovered. However, suicide also seemed impossible given the lack of murder weapon. Also, its unclear why a suicidal Fink would have shot his wrist first. The scenario of a shot having come in through the window was also ruled out due to the singed skin around the wound. And while the murder could have potentially locked the door from the outside using a string, the time frame for escape would have been very small, making it implausible. Also, the necessity of locking the door is questionable.

All these inexplicable facts make this a case that had NYPD Commissioner of the time, Edward Mulrooney regard as, “unsolvable”.