The “Locked Room” Mystery
The dapper chap above is our victim, J.B. Elwell. Mr. Elwell’s housekeeper found him sitting in his living room a little after 8 a.m. on June 11, 1920. There was an open letter on his lap and a pile of unopened mail beside him, delivered to him just one hour prior. Oh, and there was a hole in his forehead. On a nearby table was the bullet that had killed him. What’s more, the shot had come from slightly below his head, suggesting the shooter casually shot Elwell while sitting in a chair opposite him … and then retrieved the bullet and put it on display.
Nothing had been stolen, despite the fact that the house was full of cash and valuables — there was even a Rembrandt painting. No one had been seen entering or leaving.
The fact that Elwell had been killed was not a huge shock to those in the know. The man had been not only pretty wealthy, but a shonky playboy: He was a very successful card player by trade, routinely raking in large sums from the elite.
He also had sex with the elite’s wives; from his belongings was found a personal notebook with the names and numbers of around 50 ladies, married and unmarried alike. In 1920. That’s a lot of soiled reputations, jealous suitors, angry brothers and husbands, and furious fathers. Add that to the people whose money he had won at the ol’ gambling table, and the dude was easily reaching late 1990s rapper figures of people who had beef with him.