Chapter One: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

By June Morrall

Wednesday, June 4, 1919

San Mateo County District Attorney Franklin Swart had his hands full with the sensational Inez Reed murder case. Jury selection was to begin in a few days. Now, when the eyes of voters were fixed on his every move, he was called to investigate an equally headline-grabbing murder.

The new victim was Mrs. Sarah Satira Coburn, the rich, elderly widow of an eccentric Pescadero landowner. The killing took place in her ranch home in the tiny, remote South Coast farming village. She had been clubbed to death.

The D.A. knew the Coburn name very well. There were few who didn’t know the Coburn name in San Mateo County.

For years and years the Coburn’s private and public lives had provide the seeds of gossip. Their public life steered them in and out of courtrooms. Mrs. Coburn’s husband, Loren, should have been a lawyer–he earned the distinction of being the most litigious individual in the county.

Rich–as he was–Loren Coburn often didn’t pay his lawyers when their work was done and they often had to sue in order to collect their fees.


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