The Mystery of Kathryn Scharn

Here's a murder mystery from 1900 that has too many suspects, and not enough dispassionate investigation. Kathryn Scharn was a young woman living in New York City. She worked at a factory, had an active social life, and lived in an apartment with her younger brother. On August 19, she had plans for a double date with her brother and his girlfriend.

Kathryn did not keep her double-date that night. Some time after midnight, Fred Scharn returned home, after having been out for most of the day. He was deeply puzzled about his sister's failure to join the scheduled outing. He was even more perturbed when he found their front door was unlocked. Kathryn was always careful to keep it locked. The apartment was completely dark, and eerily silent. When Fred went into her bedroom, he found her body lying across the bed. There was a dreadful wound on the back of her head.

When Fred realized Kathryn was dead, he went into a panic. Curiously, he did not immediately send for police. Instead, he ran to the house of the Scharn landlord, one Dr. A.H. Tyler. He was greeted by Tyler's housekeeper, Mrs. Lawler, who told the sobbing, hysterical youth that the doctor was out. When she learned of what Fred had found, she brought him to the police station.

Who could have done the dastardly deed? Was it her boyfriend, who was not only prone to jealousy, but was found to be leading a double life? Was it her brother, who had some shady dealings at work and was thought to be a petty criminal? Was it her landlord, who didn't mention to police a similar murder at his rental property a few years earlier? Or was it the woman at Kathryn's workplace who was feuding with her? The police investigator completely bungled the case, and we are left to form opinions from what we know. See if you can solve the mystery at Strange Company.

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