Have I solved a part of the Forty Eight Year-Old Isdal Woman Mystery?

(after listening to ten podcast episodes, I have nineteen theories)

The BBC podcast called Death in Ice Valley https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p060ms2h was running via the World Service and asked listeners (me as well) to solve the mystery. There is/was also a Facebook group which listeners use to test out their sensible and most ridiculous ideas in an attempt to solve this mystery. Some of the references below are specific to the podcast. You’d need to listen to that and read some of the Facebook Group entries https://www.facebook.com/groups/deathinicevalley/ to get a feel for the potential crime or suicide committed. Some references can only be gleaned from the Facebook group. Some ideas were not covered by the podcast — but were from external sources or wikipedia, which I intend to fully edit …one day.
On the afternoon of 29 November 1970, a man and his two daughters were hiking in the foothills of the north face of Mount Ulriken, in an area known as the Isdalen Valley. They found the charred body of a woman, hidden among some rocks, in an area popularly known as Death Valley. Also found (by the autopsy) was a large quantity of sleeping pills brand name Fenemal; a 1/4 bottle of kloster liqueur from Vinmonopolet — mostly empty ; two partially charred plastic water-carrying bottles; an almost fully burned plastic cup thought to be from a thermos flask; remnants of rubber boots; a shawl; a woollen jumper; an umbrella; a watch with two clip earrings and a ring.
Beneath the body was a container and fur hat remnants which they later found contained a small trace of petrol. The autopsy determined she died from taking an overdose of sleeping pills and carbon monoxide poisoning — with the burning from the fire only as a contributory factor. Many of the sleeping pills in her stomach were undigested. A few days later the police found two suitcases in a train station which contained a wide variety of items. But the most alarming thing was many of the labels on cosmetic products in her suitcases were scratched off and the clothing labels removed.
If you are curious I built a list of them here and the items found around the body (it will always be a work in progress): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HavB8NzWyRaFp79NIdmC0_ARxOE1ZvQ_CcSgkQHpJaU/edit?usp=sharing

This 48 year old mystery has prompted many books, blog items, newspaper articles and theories with ideas that she was a spy. Most contain significant errors. Few have focused on simply trying to determine her real origins from the DNA evidence. Though with new isotope tests of her teeth this work is beginning to happen.

She checked in to hotels in Norway and Europe using many assumed names but the most perplexing was the so-called coded log of her travels found in one of her suitcases. It prompted the thought she was a Russian spy because she had travelled to Stavanger close to the dates Penguin missiles were tested and was in Bergen when boat crews may have been in hotels. The various hotel registration cards showed potential links to many cities including Brussels, London, Rome and Paris and the various items found in her suitcases seemed to confirm this. No passport was found though it is assumed fake ones were used.

This timeline I created might help you view the locations, her travel log references and activity dates: http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/1761402

On the 12/5/2018 a person on the Facebook group for the Death in Ice Valley podcast was looking at date coincidences on the various hotel registration cards trying to determine her date of birth. These dates seemed to suggest she was aged 25 to 27 in 1970 because of the repeated use of 1943 and 1945. So I thought I’d investigate the names and places on the registration cards.

I came across some strange ‘catholic’ coincidences for Isdal woman from the names and places used on her hotel registration cards (those in bold font):

Saint Genevieve — Paris
Saint Walpurga or Walburga — Antwerp
Saint Claudia is a saint and a mother of later Pope Linus, Rome
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, R.S.C.J., (December 12, 1779 — May 25, 1865) is a French saint of the Catholic Church
Alexia — Saint Alexis of Rome

And don’t forget the alcohol a kloster liquer from Vinmonopolet found at the scene of the crime. These were originally made by monks in cloisters — hence the name. Then there’s the picture of the Madonna and baby in her suitcase and another religious postcard from the UK.

All these saintly catholic references can only mean one thing — the person who completed all those hotel registration cards using different names was a catholic.

But there is also one curious name that doesn’t fit. Finella (or Fenella). That is a Gaelic name.

Rather than try to say the answer is….. I have proposed several theories. The number of these grew as the podcast progressed. I tend to believe just one (perhaps two) of these theories — but I’ll leave it to you to come to your own conclusions. I sometimes re-write parts of a theory as I find or decide some evidence seems incorrect.

Theory 1 — She died with her boot(s) off!

Isdal woman died with her boot(s) placed alongside her body. That suggests to me that Isdal woman did not die at that place. She was transported there and the ‘celebrity’ sailor boot(s) found near her body were placed at her side and incinerated with her.

But I think she did not die that day. I think that this could have been her second incineration.

The first investigators report said:

Extensive damage at the knees of the body, calfs and lower thighs suggests however that a subsequent fire of a more prolonged nature has arisen here.

I think she may have died on or even before the 18/3/1970 on the Carl Erik fishing boat when a penguin missile was fired at it. She may have already committed suicide. She may have been placed there, a homeless woman, to see the effects of a penguin missile on a dead body. But if she was alive — either a ‘stop the Vietnam war’ or ‘Stop the hydroelectricity project’ protester who thought they wouldn’t fire when they saw her banner, or even simply a navy woman who failed to leave the boat after lighting the stoves.

But it was not a clear day and there were rough seas:

Left is the Carl Erik exploding after a Penguin missile hits it — does anyone else see a person on top in the flames?

On board the fishing boat Carl Erik were two propane stoves a heat source for the penguin missiles to detect. When the inert missile hit the ship those stoves with the gas canisters exploded. This may have been a piece of theatre for the high-speed filming by the navy. Isdal woman may have tripped on the boat and knocked herself out as the sea was very severe. Perhaps getting burnt on her lower body — as she stood on top of the steering house waving a banner hoping to get the attention of the penguin missile testers.

The Isdal woman body on the hill was severely burnt by petrol — but that may have been her second burning. She may have already been severely burnt by the propane gas canisters exploding in the two stoves on the fishing boat.

Again the crime scene investigator said:

The whole body was burned by fire. It was red-ish, brown and sooted, and gave a convincing impression of having been enveloped by a short but intense surface fire.
Curiously this gas bottle rolled down a hill by my car at traffic lights as I was writing this story — a godsend?

Perhaps there was a navy cover up — necessary to make sure the Penguin missile system was approved in 1970/71 as it was. The rest a work of fiction that people have troubled over for 48 years.

The viking burial on the hill for the woman who died on the boat might have been another piece of dramatic theatre. It might make sense if she was a navy woman.

The rest of the drama perhaps a lookalike made to march around to create a story to explain a strange death on a hill which happened months earlier on a fishing boat — killed by Sigurd — a missile.

Theory 2 - The innocent lookalike

A second woman was identified by her former boyfriend as being Isdal woman. But police ignored this line of questioning as she was determined to be alive. Anna Lisa (aka Anneliese), as NRK referred to her, returned to Salzburg and died in 2004.

The former boyfriend Jon Låte said she even visited him in Bergen before the death of Isdal woman. He only retold his story many years later to NRK and they tracked down the grave in Salzburg of Anneliese Meindl.

Could it be true that the suitcase evidence investigated by the police may have been worn or used by Anneliese Meindl and that she was simply an innocent abroad? It could be the suitcase was taken by Anneliese Meindl to Bergen station’s luggage storage before she caught the train and returned home to Salzburg and to her family clothing business next to a museum in Vienna. Had she dumped the holiday clothes she didn’t need anymore? Her former boss at the Odda hotel said she had left her possessions there as well. This suggests a repeated pattern of behaviour. Had she decided to return to her abusive husband and her children after being away from them for two years?

Remember all witnesses said she was aged 25 to 30. But the modern day tests of her teeth have shown the body to be the body of a 40 year old woman. Who did people see — the 30 year old German speaking Anneliese or the 40 year old Isdal woman?

Also the obvious gap in her teeth never mentioned by hotel staff. It would have been the first thing they noticed as she spoke to them. Did Anneliese Meindl not have a gap in her teeth?

Curiously the scratched off cosmetic labels in the suitcase to hide identity may tie the suitcase to the hotel Solfonn Turisthotell in Odda where she worked as the receptionist in the spring of 1970. The distinctive damask design may have been unique to that hotel in Norway — but this would need to be investigated. But if so, that would be proof that Anneliese Meindl abandoned her suitcases which were then used by the police to fake a connection: to close the awkward suicide case rapidly.

Another factor is that the most commonly used letters in her eight fake names are aieln — and these only occur in Anneliese.

Why the police closed the case suddenly may be linked to one of my other theories.

an extract from the findmygrave website.

Theory 3 — Gaelic Finella (or Fenella)

The name Finella used on the registration card by Isdal woman stands out curiously amongst the Claudias and Alexias. It doesn’t fit. But this provoked another thought about why the fisherman’s son believed his dad was given a gun to travel to London. It doesn’t make any sense. Unless the person his dad identified had her base in the UK. Actually more accurately Ireland and the IRA.

Imagine if Isdal woman was an IRA intelligence officer. She moved randomly hotel to hotel — like an IRA intelligence officer — never staying in one hotel for a predictable time and lying about her identity on the forms. Around 1970 the IRA were obtaining weapons — specifically guns from Norway. These guns may have been stolen from the factory in Denmark and transported through Norway.

Isdal woman may have arranged to meet a key person on the 23rd November 1970 to hand over cash for guns — but it turned out to be a trap with her being kidnapped, tortured and then killed.

Just 350 metres from an ancient gun powder storage unit her body was found. Spycatcher described it as an incendiary explosion. He proposed it was like a can of hairspray exploding. The investigation said an initial burning, then a secondary burning — but the investigator didn’t say like an incendiary bomb explosion.

She reappeared 6 days later on a hillside, her body burnt so she was unrecognisable. Her burnt clothing the black or blue tricot tracksuit and the belted outer jacket suggests she may have been wearing clothing very similar to a paramilitary soldier. Was her hat a fur hat or a leather beret?

Theory 4 — The art thief and forger

In a later era, Ole Christian Bach was a con artist — he was involved with the theft of the famous Madonna artwork by Munch from an Oslo church. He also established porn shops in Norway and Sweden for his dutch boss Gerard Kok. This links the criminal underworld to two items found in Isdal woman’s suitcase (a postcard of the Madonna and a box of matches from one of the network of porn shops — years later run by Kok). She also had a scalpel in her suitcase — which is ideal for art theft. Forging passports and artwork may be linked. Bach committed suicide in Sweden during a police car chase. His lawyer said he was terrified of the Norwegian underworld and may have believed he was being chased by hitmen. Perhaps he had been told what they did to Isdal Woman in the 1970s?

During the podcast the character called Spycatcher said Isdal woman always carried a canister — he said it was hairspray. But alternatively it could be a cardboard tube for stolen artwork from churches in Norway. On a map were marked four hillside locations — do these match church locations of famous artwork?

Also curiously Meindl — the name of the Isdal woman’s lookalike — is a famous name for art theft. In the early 1960s (around 1963) a German couple living in Pasadena took two small paintings for restoration and evaluation. The paintings turned out to be stolen renaissance paintings — likely part of a Nazi hoard of stolen paintings from Florence stored in the South Tyrol (San Leonardo di Passiria).

The couple whose surname is Meindl claim they were given them by a little old lady in Munich (Josephine Werkmann) who died. After the dealer tries to sell the paintings representatives of the Italian government contact JFK and demand they are returned. Eventually the couple decide that giving them back might give them less stress (they were threatened with extradition to Italy) and perhaps questioning about their identity. Five were later found in a butcher’s shop in Munich. One eventually found in Switzerland the other two paintings of the Montagnana Group still remain undiscovered thought to be part of Meindl’s five he stole — which he may have sold in the US to buy his restaurant. The fact Meindl lied about Josephine Werkmann suggests he knew exactly what he had stolen and had tried in Munich to sell them to her. Perhaps he did sell two to her and used the money to travel to the US and open a restaurant. Johann Meindl had been a German soldier, a sergeant, in South Tyrol involved in moving stolen art treasure for the Nazis. He and his friend Hans Lindermayer had stolen them in transit.

Johann Meindl and his wife after giving back the artwork

Isdal woman says her occupation is business associate, secretary, antique dealer or travelling saleswoman — if you combine these together she may have been trying to set up an art/antique theft with a gang of local criminals or did she have the two other small paintings to sell for the Meindls in 1970?

Another visible link to the Isdal woman story is Mrs Meindl’s broach. These look like they could be part of a set.

Theory 5 — Meindl boots

The company Meindl make military grade walking boots. The UK army used them in Iraq. Even an astronaut wore them.

The distance of the Meindl factory from Salzburg

Mrs Anneliese Meindl claimed to her holiday lover in Norway that her husband was abusive and she was on the run from him, leaving behind her two children. She said she had first run to Ireland for a few years then ended up in Norway.

Isdal woman is supposed to have had various meetings with a young blonde man or other older German man in the Neptun hotel restaurant and then in a hotel room. On one occasion looking at a long piece of paper. Hotel staff said her boots were often muddy — suggesting regular outdoor trips.

receipt from hotel viking 22/3/1970

Perhaps Mr Lukas Meindl, the then boss of Meindl Boots, was searching for a relative and sent his younger son Alfons to initially meet with the private detective (Isdal woman) in Stavanger, Norway as she arrived from Paris by plane. He may have wanted her to log where she was going for all those costly payments. They were a rich family — they could afford a private detective to search for a missing relative in Norway. But they would hate to be cheated out of money.

Did Isdal woman later show a long sheet of paper to the older German man (Lukas Meindl) in the Neptun restaurant, Oslo. Could this have been her completed travel log showing where she’d stayed and searched in order to request payment from the family?

Is the final entry the meeting of MM with ML. Is MM the missing Meindl or her final meeting with Lukas Meindl for payment?

Representing woman detective (also a potential lookalike)

Was Isdal woman sent as a private detective from Kirchanschöring by Lukas Meindl to find a missing Meindl tracking her movements in Europe and Norway. The missing Meindl would be her target, a non-drinking christian woman, staying in certain hotels where alcohol wasn’t sold. Whereas Isdal woman had alcohol in her bags.

Did Mr Lukas Meindl simply refuse to pay Isdal woman for her failed efforts to track down the missing Meindl. So knowing her financial predicament after months of wasted expenditure she committed suicide. Or could she have been seeking out the missing Meindl at hillside locations, explaining the marked hillside locations on one of her maps. Remember, Anneliese Meindl was working in Odda in a mountain top hotel and before that living or working in Ireland. Was that also around the same time as one of Isdal woman’s visits to the UK to look for her?

Did Isdal woman finally find the missing Meindl working in the restaurant at the top of the Ulrika mountain, at the top of the cable car. Or was it a false lead that lead to her bizarre suicide or even murder?

Theory 6 — Fruits on a table

Fruits on a table by Gauguin

In June 1970 a famous Gauguin painting Fruits On a Table was stolen from the widower of Matilda Marks — the Marks & Spencer heiress. Another picture Pierre Bonnard’s Woman With Two Armchairs was also taken. A policeman and two men appeared at her home claiming to be there to fix the burglar alarm. They asked the maid to make them a cup of tea. They then cut the two artworks from their frames — rolled the artwork into a container and gave it to someone to take abroad to a buyer in Italy. We only know this from what happened next.

Just one month after the theft in July 1970 Isdal woman was in London. This was recorded in her log. She then travelled back to Paris via Amsterdam then to Rome. She was then back in Norway by October.

The Gauguin painting turned up in the kitchen of a fiat car worker many years later. He had bought the painting in a lost property auction in 1975. It had been left on a train in a container as the train completed its journey to Turin. The paintings remained in Turin station lost luggage for 5 years.

Did Isdal woman take the paintings as a courier first to Amsterdam, Paris and then on to the buyer in Rome — but did she then leave the paintings rolled up in a tube on the train? Was she simply drunk and tired leaving the paintings on the train as the train went on to complete its return journey to Turin from Rome. The cleaners or guard found them rolled up in a container and put it in the lost luggage. They may have thought it was a student’s art coursework. They remained there for five years.

Was the Italian mafia behind this art theft? Did they track Isdal woman, their courier, down to Norway where she had fled realising her mistake in losing the artwork? Did she try to fake it out by continuing to carry around a cardboard tube to buy more time? Was the elderly German she met in in a restaurant in Oslo the buyer, whereas the younger blonde German his sidekick who checked that it wasn’t a police set-up. Perhaps he made her say exactly where she’s been in the log for the last 12 months so he could check her out at each step.

Her final meeting in the coded log ML 23N MM could have been her finally meeting with the new buyer on the 23rd for him to buy the MM (Matilda Marks) paintings. Perhaps she took an empty cardboard tube to meet him hoping to pull off a scam but it back-fired and she ended up dead.

Another curious fact was that in early 1970 a company was registered with companies house in the UK called Meindl & Son. But it never seemed to trade. It dissolved the same year. Could that have been the payment vehicle to the UK burglars — a payment from Meindl to Meindl & Son would not be seen as an illegal transaction.

Potentially the Italian mafia could have tracked her down to the hotel in Bergen, and it was why she wanted rooms to check the street below out of the window. Was she writing down car number plates on page 2 of the notebook looking for a car that returned? Impressions of numbers are visible on page 3 — the coded travel log. Did she run to the Ulriken hillside with the mafia in pursuit after taking a dozen sleeping pills to commit suicide? They thought she had the valuable paintings with her in a cardboard tube. When they found her did they make her strip off all her clothes and check each item for the hidden artwork before torturing her. When they realised she didn’t have them, did they get her to put most of her clothes back on, then burn her body on the hillside to destroy the evidence of an earlier attack by making it look like a suicide?

The one obvious clue to a mafia killing is Isdal woman’s nose had supposedly burnt off even though the body is found lying down with her nose to the air. A mafia killing is often preceded by appendage removal. The other clue could be the cutting of hair left rolled up in her woollen jumper.

Could the strange plastic lid at the crime scene be from a cardboard tube used to carry pictures, described by the investigator:

On the same stone, there were also a partly burnt, circular flat lid made of plastic.

Isdal woman was in London just a month after the Matilda Marks artwork theft. She travelled to Amsterdam — perhaps to have the artwork verified for the buyer or simply for the quickest flight from London. Then on to Rome via Paris to the buyer. Having lost the artwork on the train did she flee to Norway for her final months — knowing they’d catch her in the end?

Theory 7 — H is Hospital

The coded travel log found in Isdal woman’s suitcase follows a pattern:

‘from date’ then ‘to date’ then location — or date then location.

There are a few exceptions to this rule — the very first entry, the very last two entries and an H. People have estimated this to be a location like Hanover or Hamburg or Home. But H could be Hospital and without a date — as she didn’t know how long her treatment would last.

At the crime scene you find a woman with only hair at the back but none at the front and in her woollen jumper a collection of hair tufts. It looks like Isdal woman collected all the hair that fell out. Perhaps she did this to show to a doctor.

There could be a medical a reason she travelled to Norway. It is one of the few places in the World that had a leprosy hospital until 1946. In 1965 a new leprosy drug rifampicin was developed and marketed in Italy in 1968. Rifampicin is always used in combination with dapsone and clofazimine to avoid causing drug resistance. Did she or her doctor make the mistake of taking it in isolation in Italy and become resistant?

There is a also a strange form of scalp leprosy and Isdal woman did have cream for skin blisters. Did she buy an extra mirror to see the back of her neck to apply the skin cream?

From a 2013 newspaper article about leprosy:
“There was bubbling, the skin was very red and I wondered how on earth I could not have noticed when I’d actually burned myself.”

In 1970 Bergen opened a leprosy museum.

There is a one month gap in Isdal woman’s hotel stays. Her Oslo stays end in March and then reappears in April in a Bergen hotel.

Could she have been staying in a hospital getting specialised treatment for her scalp? The coroners report showed no signs of surgery or child birth. But I doubt they would check for leprosy.

Could she have been treated incorrectly and not been given the drug correctly in combination with the other drugs. The treatment didn’t work and she decided to burn herself and her leprosy.

Remember she was buried on the 5th February 1971 in a zinc lined coffin:

This can be one of the easiest theories to disprove as a DNA test can expose leprosy.

Theory 8 — The Italian Photographer

It has been reported in the Facebook group for the podcast that an Italian Photographer Giovanni Trimboli was in Norway around about the same time as Isdal woman. The police questioned him and he explained he’d given a woman ‘like’ Isdal woman a lift to the Hotel Alexander in Loen. They didn’t question him further even though he didn’t provide the photograph of her he had promised to the police.

He was a fairly well known postcard photographer in 1970 with an Italian publishing business. He was obviously wealthy enough to spend a large proportion of his time trekking around Northern Europe.

A book was written by a Norwegian investigator named Aske pinpointing an Italian photographer as the killer — but not using the name Trimboli to avoid legal action by his relatives in Norway.

This again was viewed by many as a dead-end. He knew her. That doesn’t make him guilty or a killer. Even though in Isdal woman’s suitcase was a postcard by him and a person had identified a grey VW beetle close by the crime scene on the 23rd November 1970. But there was no concrete evidence that he was linked to the VW beetle or was near the crime scene that day.

In 2018 I was trying to use various software to try to read the impressions made by page 2 of the Isdal woman notepad on the coded log on page 3.

I had started to give up when I was using free Forensically software:
https://29a.ch/photo-forensics/#clone-detection for clone detection — looking for pattern matches.

Matching identical objects

I was pleased that it confirmed there were objects in the background to match. And various people on the Facebook group had confirmed they could see numbers. I wasn’t imagining them. But few tried to work them out. I was very frustrated.

As I studied the images as the light was fading I started to see more numbers I saw a lower case e, then a series of digits. I asked the Facebook group if this was a legitimate car number plate in Norway. Within days it was confirmed it was but then it was also confirmed it was a VW beetle registered in 1968.

The car that matched the numbers I could see.

Imagine thinking you’d found forensic evidence after 48 years. It was a huge surprise to me. The problem then was how to work out whose car it was in 1970. People on the Facebook Group simply accessed the database in Norway and found all the owners. The thing that struck me as odd was the first owner name was the same as the last owner name. Another person saw what he thought was Italian writing. It turned out to be the name of a 1970 insurance company.

So my numbers turned out to be a dead end.

Further Facebook Group members said evidence was submitted to the police of a VW near the reservoir below the crime scene on the right date and at the right time.

A lucky search turned up a Trimboli-looking postcard from around that era showing a VW ‘herbie’ car. He had a distinct postcard style almost like a modern HDR image where 3 pictures are taken a fraction of a second apart to make a highly detailed image.

VW beetle

Could this VW be owned by Trimboli — was he the proud owner of a new car taking its picture?

But evidence is still needed to link him to the crime scene. A third of all cars in Norway in the 1970s were VWs.

According to Askes’ book: the Italian made a lot of journeys in Norway Sweden, Finland and Helsinki between June and the beginning of October with a woman. They stayed together until the 12th of October. He also travelled a lot to Milan, where his postcards was printed. He also lived in a flat in Oslo with a former Miss Norway. He travels back and forth to Milan from Stockholm with his car stationed in Sweden.

Specific journeys logged by Aske’s book include Stockholm from Milan 01/10/70, driving by car to Oslo and Oppdal in Norway from the 02/10/70 to the 04/10/70 then on to Ørje in Sweden 06/10/70 and to Helsinki in Finland on the 11/10/70. Postcards you may find on the Internet reflect these journeys.

Without reading Aske’s book it would be hard to further verify this theory or work out what these dates mean in relation to Isdal woman.

Theory 9 — Operation MusterMesse

MusterMesse is a trade fair in Basel. In 1970 it started in April just after Isdal woman travelled to Basel. She travelled via ferry and train on a continental ticket from Stavanger to Basel. She had 8 or 9 days to set up, plan or whatever she did before it started or even travel to other trade fairs.

MusterMesse logo — used by many trade fairs

Between the 1st April and the 29th we only know she is in B after the 1st then F on the 29th. Which we have assumed as Basel and FrankFurt. MesseFrankfurt is the largest trade fair in the World. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messe_Frankfurt

On two hotel registrations cards she writes: 
Reason for visit: Handelsverkehr (trade)

In April we have a gap in the log. The Paris trade fair is betwen the 25th to the 10th May. So she could be there. She is in R, assumed Rome on the 14th May.

1970 Trade Fairs:
Basel (MusterMesse) starts 11th April to 21st April
Osaka, Expo 70 Japan 15th March to 13th September.
Paris Trade Fair (Foire de Paris) April 25th — 10th May.
Frankfurt (MesseFrankfurt) starts April 28–1st May
Isdal Woman log:
1st April B travels to Basel for 2nd.
29th April F — Frankfurt
Videos on Pathe site:
- 11/4/1970 — Soviet day festival, Osaka, Japan at Expo 70. woman (no wig) with national costume — horizontal line below the waist.
- 26/4/1970 — Paris trade fair — a woman like Isdal Woman with a wig and a visible horizontal line below the waist, hidden by her trench coat.

You can search for them here: https://www.britishpathe.com/search/query/trade+fair

I believe her log gives her time to visit each of the trade fairs and even return to Japan again during August. Attractive and scantily clad women were often used at trade fairs and motor shows in the 1970s.

Here is a picture of a woman with a wig, trousers or skirt with a horizontal line (like a Russian national costume) or thigh high boots, wool mini skirt (or jumper) and a trench coat. It is at the Paris trade fair 1970. The items she is wearing ‘exactly’ match many items at the scene of death or in both suitcases relating to Isdal woman. She seems to be rushing somewhere in the film.

British Pathe made their final newsreel February 1970. Yet we have one in April or May 1970 by Reuters on the Pathe site which stars an Isdal woman lookalike in a minor role — dressed in a wig and moving rapidly and the camera follows her. What does that suggest. She was part of a commercial movie making company or late for work?

Thinking back — who shot the newsreel for the Penguin missiles? We know there was one up to the date of the shooting of the Carl Erik fishing boat as that video is now available online on Youtube.

Hand colorised image — looks like Isdal woman and has similar clothing to items in her suitcase

So is Isdal woman travelling between trade fairs being caught on film. Is she there by accident, to display products — like cosmetics — or to shoot videos for Pathe/Reuters newsreel? Alternatively is she there to steal identities and money or courier secrets as a spy?

A member of the Facebook group confirmed via a former Scotland Yard detective that trade fairs were a common means of secret communication between spies in the 1970s. There was no Internet.

Looks like Isdal Woman but the jewellery doesn’t match her suitcase

Here is another coincidence — this woman is at the MesseFrankfurt 1970 trade fair with the same Napolean haircut. But she doesn’t have the same jewellery as Isdal woman. She seems a lot wealthier — but yet another twin around the same age. She seems to have a thick notebook and an event brochure with an event leaflet alongside. And is that a radio cassette — is she using it to record the conversation?

In the Autumn of 1970 an American Samuel Isaac Schulman was in Bergen. He was the owner of a New York cosmetics company called Bliss International Cosmetics. On the morning of the 23rd two cheques made out to Samuel I Schulman were cashed in the Bergen Privatbank near the Hotel Hordeheimen. A lady who spoke poor English who fitted the description of Isdal woman was also in the same bank on the same morning of the 23rd. Some witnesses suggested they were together. Was Isdal woman working for Bliss International Cosmetics at trade fairs? Did Samuel Schulman come over to meet her for a progress update and did she show him her log of locations where she’d been spending his money, but perhaps not getting sales? If a suicide was she depressed at being sacked or did some bizarre picnic with her boss on the hillside go wrong?

Theory 10 — The Nazi Pilot

Beate Uhse was a female German pilot during World War 2 around 1943. But she spent one of her teen years as an au pair/nanny in Aberystwyth in Wales then Birmingham in England. Both of these locations were identified as birth isotope hotspots for Isdal woman. Beate Uhse herself cannot be Isdal woman. She was born Beate Köstlin on October 25 1919 in Cranz (today Selenogradsk, Poland) as the daughter of a doctor and a landowner. But she could have travelled to the UK to have a baby born after 1932. In wealthy catholic families where a young teenage daughter was pregnant they were often sent away to an aunt and the baby given up for adoption. If this scenario was true, Beate Uhse might have moved after nine months to have her baby in a Birmingham hospital.

For Isdal woman to be 40 +/- 4 years she would have to have been born between 1932 to 1935 in Birmingham to fit with Beate Uhse’s movements. At a guess 1933 would be a logical starting point for a search for a baby born to a young girl in Birmingham named Kostlin. That would make Isdal woman 37 in 1970.

The nearest match I could find was Margaret Ann Holland, father John Holland. But wait Beate Uhse had a black American boyfriend called John Holland in 1963. Can it really be the same person in 1933? He was an American teacher. I doubt this can be the same John Holland but it is an amazing coincidence. An American named John Holland in Birmingham, UK around the same time as Beate Uhse is in Birmingham.

Unlikely to be the same John Holland as he was supposed to be 27 in 1963

In 1936 when black athlete Jesse Owens was winning events in the Berlin Olympics in front of Hitler — Beate Uhse was training to be a pilot aged 17. She worked as a pilot at the test facility in Friedrich in Strausberg. In 1939, Beate Köstlin married her flight instructor Hans-Jürgen Uhse with whom she had a child Klaus. After the war the single widow worked as a farm labourer and tradeswoman in Schleswig-Holstein, near the Danish border. In the 1940s she became a massive advocate of contraception. She printed and sold 32,000 leaflets giving women advice — even though it was against the law in Germany at that time. So a story that could fit is that she didn’t want other young girls to be forced to have babies they didn’t want — perhaps like her?

Her mail order business grew and she opened her first store in Flensburg near the Danish border. How Isdal woman comes into the story would be a guess. It could be she is the child that traced her wealthy mother and is constantly requesting money or the woman who tracked down the child and is blackmailing the mother. It could even be her nanny in Germany who knew all about Uhse.

It could be the suicide of a rejected child or the murder of a blackmailer.
Is the coded log giving the dates and locations of visits to Beat Uhse porn shops or trade fairs across Europe where she is trying to track down her mother or her blackmail victim?

Now here is a new twist to the story — Beate Uhse’s husband Ernst Rotermund until 1972 had a hair restoration business. Isdal woman was found at the crime scene without hair apart from a pony tail. He sold his hair restoration treatment in bottles of nettles and alcohol. Also the bottle in her suitcase with scratched off labels with a tamarind flower could be a hair loss product.

Theory 11 — the forestry workers

I was trying to think of a job that requires foreign travel and a return to a location. The nearest job match I could think of apart from airline worker was a recruitment agency worker. In the UK we often hear of foreign workers being recruited abroad and then working in the NHS. So imagine Isdal woman is recruiting tough foreign forestry workers and providing cash advances on site in Bergen for them to buy food and accommodation for the first few weeks. She would need to be multilingual to speak to them. Then take trips abroad to recruit more workers. There would be a high turnover of workers with long 11 hour days and nights that many would find too hard to put up with. This might explain her meetings with men in the restaurant and hotel room where she negotiates contracts with forestry employers.

2018 deforestation at the crime scene

Could her death be a result of a dispute about pay or a cash robbery by a forestry worker?

Her fake IDs may simply be because her foreign company is dishonest about paying tax in Norway. She keeps moving about to avoid being tracked. She has cash hidden in her suitcase. Is this to give to workers for cash advances?

Forestry workers use driptorches which burn away ground cover. Isdal woman was burnt extensively so that her body fat was found one metre below the surface. Did a foreign forestry worker or group of workers assault her, rob her then to cover up the crime burn her body? They would have had the tools available. The police made little or no reference to forestry workers in their investigation. Yet if they were present in November they would have been on the hillsides for lengthy periods — gangs of them. You could have expected them to be witnesses to a person wandering around the forests.

Driptorch used to burn ground cover

There were three reported sightings of Isdal woman with men on the hillside — one on the 19th, one on the 22nd and one on the 24th. And her body was found in a hidden forested area on the 29th.

Theory 12 — the spy who wants to retire

When a civil servant retires they get a gold watch, a golden handshake and a pension. But what about spies? They’ve been followed by other spies for years. How do they tell other spies to stop following them?

The only way for a spy to retire fully is to die. Look at the Skripal case, he had to meet every month with his former spy handler — just in case — to keep tabs on him. If he talked to the BBC the handler had to be there to make sure he didn’t disclose secrets.

So let’s imagine Isdal woman wants to quit. She’s 30 and can’t keep on with the spying game with men and women following her around or her following them around.

But she had to wait for a body about the same age, weight etc in Norway. Then when they had found one she flew back to Stavanger and the plan was in motion. They told her to buy the boots etc..be visible. Buy a newspaper to date things. Do annoying things in hotels. Be memorable, be foreign.

To find the body you’d have to look for a Norwegian death within a month before she got back to Stavanger, a person of about the same age, but a person about whom nobody cared. A homeless woman who OD’d with pills and carbon monoxide who obviously has a different DNA profile — but who cared in 1970?

The police funeral was too fantastically elaborate — a bit too much for a case they closed as a suicide. All that church service, hymn singing, a bit of a performance really.

The coded log evidence is for her Russian counterparts — to match with their reports of her movement.

In 1967 a famous woman was shot and buried in Bolivia — Tamara Bunke otherwise known as Tania. Often referred to as Che Guevara's girlfriend. Many books have been written about her being a Stasi agent. Most people believe the body buried next to Che Guevara is Tania. But that was based on the unrecognisable body wearing her uniform and having her handbag. Now compare that to Isdal woman — her face was unrecognisable but her body can be recognised by her clothes and suitcase.

So here is an unusual twist — Trade Fair woman — see the Operation Mustermesse story above — almost matches using facial recognition with Tania. She scores 0.41 with MS Azure. This is equivalent to an 82% match. If the score was 0.50 the software would say they were the same person. When you remember the picture of trade fair woman is a still from a video and Tania’s picture probably reprocessed for the Internet over many years — the chances are ‘in profile’ they would score much more highly against each other with good quality pictures.

MS Azure face match

If trade fair woman is Tania, then you’d have to say Isdal woman is trade fair woman is Tania.

But here is another story of a KGB agent that was around in 1970. She scores highly against Tania. Her movement was from Cologne where she got married then Brussels (near NATO) then on to Norway where she was travelling to register a name change from Aud Rigmor to her new married name. The name Aud Rigmor was stolen it was the name of a child that was born to be part of the new Nazi master race. with a German father and Norwegian mother. The POT agents following her report they lost her trail. But did they lose her trail or end her trail?

Tania is on the left, Aud Rigmor on the right

So If the KGB agent was Tania, and Tania was Trade Fair woman and Trade Fair woman was Isdal woman then all these women may be the same woman. A KGB or Stasi agent.

But then the question remains if Tania didn’t die in Bolvia and Isdal woman was Tania — did she die in the Isdalen valley or was that a body double, again?

This story (written in the 3rd person) is a later development of this:

Theory 13 — The NATO officer’s girlfriend, colleague or wife

Let’s call the NATO officer Hans — because he’s German. He’s about the same age as Isdal woman, perhaps five years older. They’re both from the same birth area of Germany — let’s say Nuremberg — just to make it easy. That fact doesn’t really matter. They were both survivors of the war.

In Isdal woman’s coded log we have H — let’s say H is for Hans. Remember this is a log looking backwards — not forwards.

She meets Hans between the 31st March and the 3rd April. Let’s say by chance he’s staying in the Hotel Skandia in Norway while involved with the Penguin missile testing or more likely NATO exercises that took place in Spring 1970. A married man alone and a beautiful unattached woman. They notice each other, smile at each other over breakfast, but don’t talk. Then another coincidence happens. She’s travelling to a trade fair in Basel. He’s going to Hamburg before his onward journey. He could have flown but he loves boats — he’s a navy man. So once again they bump into each other on the ferry. This time they talk. They talk about books, boats and mountain walking and suddenly they realise they both love the same things. Isdal woman has found her perfect partner.

Of course they could have met years before at work in the NATO offices in Paris or Brussels — and the NATO exercises gave them an excuse to be together in hotels — she posed as his official translator in Norway.

Isdal woman knows where Han’s is going to be next - Paris, Rome or London — and she plans to go there too. Sometimes he lets her down. Doesn’t turn up. But this makes everything more intense for Isdal woman. It is all she thinks about sat in her hotel rooms. A casual affair turns into her becoming more of a stalker. But she doesn’t realise he is under observation because of his senior NATO role as a Commander. From a security service perspective she is acting like a spy following a NATO officer. When she hears from him that he’s in Norway again for more Penguin missile testing or NATO discussions she flies back to Stavanger. She meets with him on the quayside observed by fishermen. Unusually he is dressed in uniform. Normally his NATO role requires dark suits and ties and a briefcase.

Were the Norwegian secret service asked to interview her in Stavanger? To explain where she’s been and why. She then produces a log detailing her movements in Norway and Europe and shows a man in the Neptun Hotel a long piece of paper like her log. Did the Norwegian secret service tell her to leave Hans alone?

Meanwhile did they approach Hans about their suspect and tell him he may be the subject of a Russian honeytrap. A man talks with Isdal woman in her hotel room at the St Svithin — where staff report that they overhear a violent quarrel between her and a man speaking possibly in German. Does Hans then end the relationship? And we know she shared a taxi with a man. Is this Hans or another NATO officer with Hans who shares a taxi with her?

A NATO officer matches the man Isdal Woman shared a taxi with

In December when Hans hears of Isdal woman’s suicide does he take his own life? It has been reported that the police interfered with the Isdalen crime scene, implies that they searched through her clothing items. Were they looking for a suicide note or love letters from Hans?

After Isdal woman’s death a high ranking Norwegian military officer is reported to have said that he may have previously seen the Isdal Woman in the Nato HQ restaurant in Brussels a few years before. As the buildings in Casteau and Evers opened in April 1967 it would have to have been 1967 to 1969 in one of these buildings.

The report of a suicide of a NATO commander in December 1970

When Laturner the author and NATO commander wrote his children’s book Margarets’ Happy Rescue was he thinking of Isdal woman and his first meeting with her?

Is Isdal woman’s first name Margarets?

Margarets’ happy rescue

Another later find was a reference online to Ilona Laturner’s film company D56. Ilona Laturner was the NATO commander’s wife and worked as a film editor or technical adviser. In one hotel the Isdal Woman moved letters around on hotel room doors putting a D in front. The room was 615. Did she edit the room number to become D56?

D56 Film and Ilona Laturner

Potentially instead of a girlfriend perhaps his wife could have been in Norway for NATO film editing or the Penguin missile tests where high speed filming was used. We know the Isdal woman was potentially seen by the Quayside in Tananger by a fisherman with a uniformed man. Again that could be a NATO commander.

A Norwegian military officer Lt Col Ola Evensen saw a woman he described as looking like the image of IW he had seen in the newspaper in the NATO HQ cafe. He described her in detail in his English statement to the Norwegian police:

Evensen had the highest level of NATO security clearance (Cosmic/Atomal) and was responsible for internal NATO security. He would have noticed people not behaving normally. It was his job. Another key finding is that a lot of face matches to Isdal Woman matched people in Romania, Hungary and the Ukraine. We know Ilona Laturner was Hungarian. So another potential explanation was Hans Jurgen Laturner’s wife was the Isdal Woman and that might explain why he committed suicide exactly a month later and why there would be a cover-up.

In the TV interview in December 1970 the Bergen police chief ruled out a link to espionage. In the global press the story put out by NATO on the 31st December 1970 eight days after Hans Jurgen Laturner’s suicide was there was no link to espionage.

The use of the word espionage in December 1970 about two suicides links them together. Also the deliberate delay to release the story suggests a plan to distance this story from the Isdal Woman story.

Could this picture of the opening of the NATO SHAPE HQ in April 1967 be the key to solving the Isdal woman mystery?

Notice the one woman in the room — is that the Isdal Woman with an unusual fur hat?

Theory 14 — The Concert singer’s daughter

When you have a famous mother with talent it is hard to match up. Every day is about where she’s going, what she’s wearing, what she’s going to do and where she’ll stay. There is a saying about being tied to your mother’s apron strings. IW was always having to plan her mother’s itinerary. Where she was going, even what she would sing. She lived for her mother.

When her mother retired she suddenly found she had no life. She had no purpose. But worse she had no income. Her income came from her mother. Really it was pocket money. She could buy perfume, clothes but never a holiday away from her mother. Then when her mother retired her chance came to get away.

Isdal Woman’s mother’s name was Helena Galey. A mezzo soprano who toured the World of concerts. She trained in Germany, Ukraine/Russia and Italy. She can be located touring in 1953 in the USA and also in Canada.

Helena Galey

In 1953 Helena appeared alongside her daughter — the Isdal Woman — in a Leipzig concert as a Russian singer. In the same year in the US and Canada she was a Ukrainian singer.

Ukrainian singer with relative

Notice the woman alongside the Leipzig singer. Facial ID says the singer is Helena Galey. The younger woman alongside is wearing a watch — like a Solo watch found next to the Isdal Woman. The singer herself is wearing tartan or plaid clothing similar to the shawl found next to the Isdal Woman. But the younger relative hiding behind with the gap in her teeth may be IW.

Woman behind Galey lookalike with gap in teeth — another relative?

Is this the Ukrainian singer’s relative playing guitar and singing in Leipzig in 1953?

Leipzig guitarist 1953 — Notice the teeth

Is she also the dancer in Leipzig in 1953?

Or the party dancer in Leipzig in 1953 with a D on her hat?

Or the circus rider in Leipzig in 1953?

Or the young woman with the juggler — who matches the singer below.

The 1953 Leipzig singer is the best face match to the Isdal woman sketches from all images found on wikipedia compared using Betaface software. She is the face in 100 million that matches ‘all’ the Isdal woman sketches the best using facial recognition software.

She is an 85% match to this Isdal woman sketch. She is also a 100% match to Helena Galey.

This young woman in Berlin in 1952 may be Galey’s daughter or relative.

A potential Isdal Woman who is a folk dancer

If she is Galey’s relative then that would most likely make her the Isdal Woman. She is a 92% match to the woman, relative, next to the Galey lookalike. Potentially her daughter. As this young woman got older in 1970 she would look more like Mrs Galey who matches the Isdal Woman.

Remember the traveller’s cheques used in Bergen were in the name of Samuel Isaac Shulman — his brother Julian was a famous concert violinist. That might make a link to Galey the concert singer if they appeared together at concerts. . In 1960, after a tour of Europe, the Middle East and the Soviet Union with the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Julius Schulman joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He also toured Japan in 1970. He toured with the Metropolitan Opera after 1970. He may have met Helena Galey at that time or her daughter and became friendly with them. Perhaps the traveller’s cheques were handed over to the Galey daughter or relative as some form of payment for a concert appearance sponsored by Bliss International Cosmetics. Bliss Cosmetics was the Schulman company. Alternatively one of the Schulman brothers met up with the Isdal Woman in Bergen as they were having a relationship and wanted to end it with the disastrous consequences for the Galey relative in the Isdal Valley.

Theory 15 — The Translator

To the annoyance of the Death in Ice Valley podcast Facebook group I have been using facial recognition to find matches to the Isdal woman sketches. People believe the sketches are not accurate but my belief is a forensic artist may be 80% accurate.

The best matches to the sketches were a Latvian woman, a Ukrainian woman, and a German woman with East European parentage. But I realised that they were all aged about 30 to 40 to match the woman in 1970. I needed to find her before 1970 in happier times. To achieve this I mixed in a younger woman to my search tween image and quickly found an East German Berlin Translator. But I had no story about her. I circled back around the three matches creating new averages with the sketches and each other.

Then out came a face. A story match. Not the best match to the sketches but to the found faces. Christel Pruefer appears in a police station with a child getting an Interzone travel pass to visit her parents outside East Germany and in a shop showing a passport. She lives in Berlin. Her whole address is given. Possibly the only person on Wikipedia for whom a full address is given and not only that where her parents live. Her parents’ location in Lower Bavaria is potentially a perfect match to the Isdal woman birth isotope data from her teeth. Trying to find a date of birth I found a match to a Christel Pruefer who emigrated to California.

Christel in a police station

If Christel Pruefer is the same one who emigrated in 1955 to California she was born 1931. This is a perfect match for the Isdal woman. Isdal woman has to be born between 1926 to 1934 to match her teeth isotope data. The Christel Pruefer in Berlin with the parents in Lower Bavaria makes her a perfect match to the birth location.

There were two funerals in California in 1968 for two people Henry and Ethlyn Preufer. The wrong spelling for Pruefer. But Henry’s war record uses both names. He was a German fighting in WW1 on the British side and became disabled by the war. The British government paid him a war pension. These wrong side Germans were often called Hessians before WW1.

After Henry and Ethlyn died I suspect Christel (or possibly renamed Krystal in California) returned to Europe before 1968. She had a little money saved up. But it could be that she returned to East Germany with an organisation.

I also returned to an earlier found face from trying to reduce the age of a tween image to search with. This turned up a translator in Berlin in 1951.

This 1951 Berlin translator also matches the 1953 Berlin woman by 98% (0.49 MS Azure score). She also has teeth like the Isdal Woman and people might think she was attractive.

In Bergen the Isdal Woman stayed in hotels that were near water and train stations very similar to Christel Pruefer in her flat overlooking the river Spree and 500 metres from a train station.

Christel Preufer also matches this woman in 1951 returning to Leipzig by train:

Returning with the ‘dealers’ or spies?

See :

There was a story in the Canadian press 1970 of a Klaus Prufer being murdered on the 24/10/1970 at 1am:

The witness to the murder Greg Wallace, Klaus’ friend, became the owner of a property just a few miles from the crime scene in 1970. The tenant Theo Fredrich had arrived from (East) Germany in 1966 to start as a bee farmer on Greg’s land. Was this property part-owned by Klaus or did he arrive with Theo in 1966 or did he arrive on the East German cruise ship Voelkerfreundschaft (People’s Friend) which travelled to Cuba in 1962. At least four men escaped at the Florida Keys — one was a young machinist. The locals believed Klaus arrived in 1952 or 1953 with his brother both as war orphans. But the locals also believed the murder was by random bikers. The police said it was planned and they arrived in a compact car whereas the newspapers heralded the story with hunt for killers in a half ton truck. The death certificate says he was shot in the abdomen and not the chest and on the 25th. Was the coroner given the right body to look at? Also Klaus was cremated on the 28/10/1970 before the murderers were caught. That seems to suggest a cover-up.

This is Klaus with his sticky-out ears being made fun of in 1957.

We also know Hans Jurgen Laturner NATO commander died on the 23/12/1970.

So we have three consecutive deaths: 24/10/1970, 23/11/1970 and 23/12/1970. All may have been East Germans — by birth.

I suspect the 1am Canadian death was ‘paid’ to be midnight on the 23rd of October 1970.

A lady Vera who was known to Klaus Prufer matches a woman on the Voelkerfreundschaft an East German cruise ship. In turn she matches another woman..who matches another called Christel Pruefer. A somewhat abstract proof that A=B, B=C therefore A=C. Or Perhaps Vera = Christel.

(see theory 19 to continue this plot).

Theory 16 — Frau Bartsch’s clothes

This theory is simply based on finding matching clothes in Isdal Woman’s suitcase. I believe many of her basic clothes were East German — like her trench coat and wool dress. The images below show a woman Frau Bartsch wearing the type of clothes Isdal woman wears. Her friends and her husband were all born in 1929. I would guess that would mean she was born around that time — perhaps even as early as 1925 or as late as 1935 — which would still make her a good fit to be Isdal Woman. This is a series of colourised images from wikipedia.

The trench coat in her suitcase was described as brown with a military style collar with secret pockets and around the shoulder a leather piping — see the image above of Frau Bartsch with the leather briefcase. Also the coat is described as having a nylon lining in almost the same colour as the outer — see that same image again. So it is likely this design East German trench coat was owned by the Isdal woman. The other clothing in the images above with belts seems to fit with the Isdal woman. At the crime scene she has blue clothing with black clothing like a tracksuit. All very similar to the images above. Even the build of this woman matches the Isdal woman. She herself would be a perfect fit — except her teeth are not a perfect match. In fact the teeth of her husband are a better fit with the Isdal woman. Though she does have a visible gold tooth. I can’t imagine a woman would have her teeth modified by a dentist to match her husband’s.

Theory 17 — A Daphne Du Maurier Murder Plot

“the truth of her life was darker than any of her plots” The Irish Independent.

While I was searching for matching suitcase items (see theory 16) I came across a picture:

I thought the suitcase on the left seemed to match one of the Isdal Woman suitcases. It was just a quick check and had little meaning other than to say this was a suitcase available in East Germany in 1946.

similar suitcases

Then just as I was about to close the image I looked at the faces. There was something about the man that said to me ‘Not German’.

Betaface ‘reasonable’ man match

This older man was a reasonable (60%) match to Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick A. M. Browning. Most people remember him for Operation Market Garden during World War 2. But few realise he was married to Daphne Du Maurier the world famous crime/suspense/romance writer.

Daphne Du Maurier was supposedly travelling by boat to the US in 1946 so that would make it unlikely she’d stop off in Germany on the way with her husband, surely?

But this 1946 woman looks like her and facial ID says about 88% (0.44) alike:

But what doesn’t make sense is the man is holding the arm of the other woman and if she was Daphne Du Maurier surely she would be holding Browning’s arm. It can’t be her daughter as her children were still toddlers in 1946. But if you investigate Du Maurier you find she was the most unconventional of women. She had an affair with her own father and his mistress. This is Du Maurier with Gertrude her father’s mistress.

Daphne and Gertrude

She also didn’t want to marry Browning but have an open relationship but was persuaded because of his military rank. In 1947 she had an affair with Ellen Doubleday. She also believed her husband was having an affair with Jan Ricardo who became one of the subjects of her famous book Rebecca after she discovered Jan’s love letters to her husband. Some years after Daphne’s marriage to Browning Jan Ricardo (Jeannette Louisa Ricardo) committed suicide by jumping under a train in 1944.

Jan Ricardo-Maxwell

In a personal letter to her husband’s supposed next mistress Maureen Luschwitz she said she liked to kill off the characters in her books. That sounded to me a bit like a threat. In a letter to her 1947 lover Ellen Doubleday she said she would kill dragons for her.

In 1970 her daughter Tessa got married. Was there a dragon she wanted to kill for her?

I still need to track down the woman below to confirm the identity of the people in Germany in 1946. Is this Browing’s 24 year old PA Maureen Luschwitz, Ellen Doubleday or perhaps even the Isdal woman?

Is this Maureen Luschwitz in Lankwitz?

She is only about a 52% (0.26) match to the IW sketches but you have to remember this is 14 years before 1970. The sketches are of an older woman. At best sketches will only match the real person by 80%.

The thought that the suitcases could have belonged to Daphne Du Maurier or her husband’s mistress is intriguing. Also the thought from Rudolf Bartsch that to expose a serial killer another murder has to be committed. Imagine if Daphne Du Maurier’s suitcases were linked to Isdal woman’s murder.

Remember the final entry in the log ML 23N MM

How about Maureen Luschwitz becomes Maureen du Maurier on the 23rd November 1970 — a mystery.

Theory 18 — the Runaways

Anneliese Meindl ran away from her two young children claiming her husband was abusive — but then returned in 1970. Anne Heyligers ran away from her young child in 1966 in Holland or was murdered. The former boyfriend of Anneliese said she had ran away to Ireland. But what if his memory was faulty and she had run away to Israel in 1968.

Here is a 1970 picture of a woman who is a perfect doppleganger of Anne Heyligers and behind her a lookalike for Anneliese Meindl. Dopplegangers of the two runaways attending a candle vigil in January 1970 in Israel.

What pictures seem to fail to show is when there is a gap in front teeth. For example Anne Heyligers looks like this in some pictures and you can see a gap in their front teeth.

This story is a work in progress. If I find more I will add more.

Theory 19 — The Cruise Ship Worker and Entertainer

People in the Death in Ice valley Facebook Group have said ‘How could R be Rostock — in East Germany behind the Wall?’. But now look at this picture and then look at the woman in 1960 with the dyed blonde hair.

Think about it a person who travels on cruise ships between East and West who has dyed her hair so much with ammonia it damaged her scalp and has to wear wigs.

Which ports did that ship visit, perhaps R — Rostock, B — Bergen — S Stavanger — did she fly to catch up with the cruise?.

Google translate:
Zentralbild Mellahn-17.1.1960 MS “Völkerfreundschaft” warmly welcomed in the GDR. The FDGB tourist ship “Völkerfreundschaft”, which became the first ocean-going vessel in the new Rostock seaport, was warmly welcomed in the GDR on 16.1.1960 by the chairman of the FDGB federal executive board, Herbert Warnke. More than 100 journalists from Germany and abroad as well as from West Germany and just as many meritorious workers and engineers took part in the international press conference aboard the ship, which is festively flagged over the top poles at the pier of the new Rostock harbour. Shown here: View into one of the dining rooms of the “international friendship”.


Also see:


I think she also liked singing so perhaps even a cruise ship entertainer from East Germany.

Notice the possible gap in her front teeth

An escapee from the same cruise ship Völkerfreundschaft in 1962 matches Klaus Prufer the guy murdered the 24/10/1970 in Canada.

And the blonde lady on the ship matches another suspect Christel Pruefer:

I assumed that Christel Pruefer had emigrated to California in 1955. But she could have returned to East Germany in 1960.

That would explain why Isdal woman’s spoken German might be a bit rusty after all those years.

She may have attended a 10 week training on a schooner in 1951 which helped her get her job on the cruise ships in the 1960s.

She may have also been involved in collecting non-ferous metal to help the East German economy — see the woman on the right: