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On December 21st 1907, a passenger train coming from Rome had made a stop during the night at a train station in Foligno on the way to Ancona. While checking for passengers in each compartment, a porter made a shocking and bloody discovery in a first class compartment.

A man looking to have been about 55 years of age was found lying on the floor, covered in blood. The police were quickly called and a doctor came to examine the body. The man was repeatedly stabbed  in the chest and the weapon (a dagger) remained behind, sticking out of the man’s left eye. His body was still warm.

The police interviewed the passengers and no one had heard a sound of the murder. One passenger remembers seeing a suspicious looking man enter the train at Rome, but left again as the train started moving. However, several other passengers saw a man leave the train on the side facing away from the platform when they pulled into Foligno.

The man was soon identified as Signor Ottavio Arvedi, a wealthy engineer from Verona. At first police thought he was murdered while asleep, but they learned Arvedi had a previous attempt on his life and always made sure he never fell asleep on the train. It was then decided Arvedi was either given a narcotic, or overtaken by Chloroform.

The police concluded the motive for the murder was robbery, Arvedi’s wallet and over coat was missing, plus it was said he was carrying a lot of money worth of bonds. However, the next morning a Rome newspaper printed an anonymous letter stating other wise.

“Dear ‘Messaggero'”
(The name of the newspaper)

“You will be surely astonished at receiving this letter. Ad, however, we are now quite out of danger to correct and modify the accusations and suspicions brought against the assassin, or to be more exact the assassins, or Mr. Arvedi.

It is quite useless to inquire about the exact spot where the crime took place and the flight of the murderers; but it is absolutely necessary to acquaint the public with the fact that the deceased had not carried 350,000 francs in his pocketbook. We did believe, indeed, that we would have found that sum, but we were mistaken, for we picked up only 2,000 francs in paper money and 5,000 more in bonds.”

As it turns out, two days after the murder, a couple of peasants from Terni went to the Foligno police with an overcoat and a wallet containing paper cash, and personal bonds, some of which were covered in bloody finger prints.

The police weren’t sure what to think about this, they were sure the motive was murder. However, they made another discovery which made them believe theft wasn’t the motivation, but revenge. A small pearl was found in the room with Arvedi’s body, but as far as they knew, it didn’t belong to Arvedi. Also, Arvedi’s 200 watch was still on his wrist.

Who killed Arvedi and why? I wasn’t able to find anymore articles in regards to his murder. Apparently, the full story was only published in Rome. When I also came across this story, I instantly thought about “The Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie. It would make complete sense, the murder took place December 21st 1907 and the book was released in 1934. But apparently, this wasn’t the inspiration for her novel. Or, at least that’s what she told everyone. But, who knows for sure.

Did you enjoy this story? Will you come back for another?

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