Chapter Two:”The Coburn Mystery” Original Draft [1988]

[Note: I think this is Chapter 2. ]

The crowd standing in front of the Coburn house talked among themselves. Sarah never entertained. But this morning felt different. Even the old Magnolia trees that cast their crooked shadows across the exterior of the house appeared less ominous. Instead of discouraging visitors, their twisted limbs seemed to welcome everyone.

Inside the cheaply furnished home, District Attorney Franklin Swart, a self-made man, Sheriff Michael Sheehan, known as “the terror of criminals,” and Coroner William Ansyl Brooke, a former physician employed by the Ocean Shore Railroad, contemplated the safe. It was big and occupied the best spot in the dining room. How much cash and gold did it hold? Far more, they thought, than any of them had in the bank or hidden under a mattress.

It was Swart who opened the safe and looked inside, disappointed to find only $1600 –the only indication of disappointment was his wrinkled brow.


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