Chapter One “The Coburn Mystery” Original Draft [1988]

By June Morrall

After enjoying a home-delivered roast chicken dinner on the evening June 3, 1919, Sarah Coburn wasn’t feeling so well. She was feeling downright sick. She was old, feeble, losing her health and aware that death was ready to snatch her.

But tonight was different; she was ill and she wanted to lie down. That was hard to do because Wally was on her mind, what would happen to Wally, who would take care of him?

She also remembered what one of her attorneys said the other day. John McNab voiced concern about her safety in the house. In his 90s, Loren Coburn had died during the Influenza Pandemic the year before. McNab told her to take special precautions, hire a bodyguard, he said, draw up a will.

He also said that it was well known she kept a big safe containing a large amount of cash in the dining room –but she hadn’t taken McNab’s advice.

What Sarah had done was announce she was going to buy a limousine and hire a chauffeur. She had planned to discuss this with her housekeeper, Margaret Harrison–but Margaret had gone to San Francisco to shop for new clothes for a trip she and Sarah were taking back East where the Coburn’s relatives lived. They were scheduled to leave in a few days.

Now Sarah was sick and Margaret hadn’t come back from San Francisco.


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