Many of the lodgers at the boarding house in Argyle Street, King’s Cross, London, were foreigners; the house was run by a single woman of 84, and it was common knowledge that she was wealthy and hoarded money. This was the background to the murder on Thursday, November 7th, 1918, of Esther Bowen, who was found the next morning with her hands tied over her head and a handkerchief stuffed into her throat.

Some of the lodgers gave evidence at the inquest. “Their evidence cannot be relied upon,” said the coroner. “The police rightly suspect that one or more of them know more than they are saying.”