It was a worried confidential secretary to King George of Greece who went to Scotland Yard one day in the middle of June, 1946. He explained that the king was soon to leave Claridges to live at 45 Chester Square, Belgravia, and the resident housekeeper Miss Elizabeth McLindon had disappeared.
He said there was a note in the vestibule advising the other servants that they would not be needed for the time being and they would be informed when they were required. Although the note appeared to be in the housekeepers handwriting, it was unauthorised. If she had gone away, she apparently intended to return because her belongings were still in her room. She had neglected to cancel the milk deliveries which had accumulated each day in her absence. There was now six days supply outside the servants entrance, indicating that she had probably left the house on JUNE 8th.
A detective accompanied the secretary to the house to search it. The secretary said he had checked all the rooms except the library, which was locked. There were two keys for its door, one in the housekeepers possession, the other in a safe at Claridges.
The detective burst open the door, and the housekeeper was found in the room, shot in the back of the head. A spent cartridge from a .32 automatic lay on the floor beside her. Her wallet lying nearby contained nearly £30, so robbery was not the killers motive.
Several pieces of expensive jewellery were found in Miss McLindons room, prompting detectives to wonder why someone apparently well-off had found it necessary to work as a housekeeper.
Her correspondence included two letters from someone signing himself “Arthur” and postmarked June 11th and 12th. A police surgeon had established that she had been murdered some time between the evening of June 8th and the next morning, so the two letters had been posted, had arrived, been opened and placed in her room after her death.
Checking the references she had supplied when she applied to become the kings housekeeper, the investigators found they were forgeries.
Some of Elizabeth McLindons more valuable jewellery was taken to well-known London jewellers for identification, and a diamond and sapphire bar pin was identified as having been ordered by a West End businessman. Confronted with the pin, he admitted giving it to Miss McLindon, but said their relationship had ended when he was succeeded by a fat little Brighton bookmaker named Arthur Boyce.
Traced to a Brighton hotel, Boyce too claimed that Miss McLindon had left him for another man. He denied writing to her within the past fortnight, but his handwriting was found to match that in the two letters signed “Arthur.” He had apparently tried to copy the hand of the man who had supplanted him in Miss McLindons affections, thereby hoping to incriminate him.
Arrested and charged with murder, Boyce was convicted by an Old Bailey jury and hanged at Pentonville Prison on November 1st, 1946.