Frederick Marshall stayed up all night anxiously wondering where his wife could be, only to be told by a neighbour in the morning: "Your missus has been murdered."
He had worried about Frances' absence, but by breakfast time assumed she had stayed with a friend. He nipped out to the Rob Roy Hotel - now called the Birdcage Tavern - to see about a job.
But a little later, on the way home to Grattan St in Freemans Bay, Auckland, a shopkeeper told him his wife had "took very bad", and soon his neighbour revealed she had been killed.
Frederick took off for the Newton Police Station where he learned that it was true. His wife of 20 years had been stabbed and slashed to death the night before.
Aged in her 40s, Frances had about 25 wounds on her head, neck and chest. Her skull was fractured, her lungs and heart were stabbed and her internal jugular vein was cut. She was found in a pool of blood and would have died quickly from blood loss.
Her attacker probably killed her with a pocketknife, was likely to have been left-handed and struck so hard that hand injuries would have occurred, according to doctors who examined Frances' corpse. But a knife wasn't found, there were no reports of a disturbance, and there was no sign of a struggle, nor of robbery.
Frances' left hand was wearing a glove, the right was bare, and her small blue hat was still on her head, although her clothes were disarranged. Her handbag was found nearby and it contained 7p. Five shillings (worth about $40 today) was found under her body.
These were among the few firm details unearthed in the case, in which the killer was never identified. The case of Frances "Fanny" Marshall is one of at least 60 unresolved homicides in New Zealand since the start of World War I.
The shortage of facts on Frances' death two months after the war began left a void that the Truth newspaper tried to fill with wild theories. The paper likened the crime to the 1888 Jack the Ripper serial killings in London, and said Frances was probably killed by that "foul being known to scientists as a necrophilo (sic) - one who satiates his lust on the body of the dead".
"This, of course, is only surmise, and perhaps the mystery may yet be cleared up by the authorities," the paper said, hedging its bets.
Frederick had arrived home at about 9.40pm on Monday, September 28, 1914, to find that his wife wasn't there. Other witnesses described her movements to an inquest. She visited a friend in Wellesley St at about 9pm and left at 9.40pm, saying she was going home. On the way, she bought cigarettes at a shop near today's corner of Hobson and Union Sts (Hobson and Wellington at the time). A boy aged 15 saw a woman and a man and walked past them on Upper Nelson St at about 10.15pm.
The next morning, Frances' body was found by a young girl. It lay in a narrow alley between tramway worker Peter Ericksen's Upper Nelson St house and a scoria wall attached to the neighbouring premises of tea and coffee merchant M. D. Taylor. The alley was accessible only from a vacant section, where the girl had been playing, behind Taylor's premises.
Upper Nelson St no longer exists. Part of working class Freemans Bay, it was bulldozed in a "slum clearance" operation and to make way for the tangle of Auckland's motorways from the 1950s.
Frances was born in England and she and Frederick, a fish curer, had no children.
Police records describe Frances as a prostitute, although Chief Detective McMahon put it more delicately when questioning Frederick - who denied it - at the inquest.
"Now, is it not a fact, Marshall, that you are aware this woman had been leading a questionable life for some time?" the detective asked.
"No, I am not, sir," Frederick replied.
He asserted they led a happy life together, then admitted he hit her from time to time and had caused a black eye. The coroner, however, concluded Frederick wasn't involved in her death.
Answering the detective, Frederick said he had last had sex with his wife on the Sunday evening before her death.
Ericksen, whom the little girl had told of the body beside his house, said he had seen Frances in the vicinity before and concluded it was for immoral purposes.
The inquest jury's verdict was that Frances had been murdered by some person unknown.