The 1931 murder of Julia Wallace in Liverpool has fascinated British crime writers for decades. It’s been called an unparalleled mystery that compares only to the infamous murders perpetrated by Jack the Ripper.
On January 20, 1931, a man calling himself R.M. Qualtrough called Liverpool Central Chess Club with a message for one of its members, William Herbert Wallace. The club’s secretary took the call and passed on the request for Wallace to go to 25 Menlove Gardens East the following evening. Wallace worked as an insurance agent, so such things weren’t particularly unusual.
When Wallace got to the area the following evening and tried to find the road, he found that there was a North, a South, and a West Menlove Gardens—but no East. Assuming someone had played a prank, he made his way back home, where he found his wife brutally murdered in the living room.
William Wallace was convicted of the murder, but the verdict was overturned after an appeal. Two other suspects have been considered. One was 22-year-old Richard Parry, who’d lost his job working for Prudential Insurance when William Wallace caught him fudging the books. Another was Joseph Marsden. Julia Wallace had been paying Marsden for sex, a fact he wanted to keep secret as he was about to marry into a wealthy family.
Several books have been written about the murder, and each new writer has been convinced that they’ve finally solved it—yet none of them actually agree on the outcome.