The Unicorn

Miss Irene Cohen had moved to Britain during the war when as a Jew her family faced persecution and even death. After they had been in Britain for just a few years, her father died of cancer. Irene’s mother struggled to bring-up a child alone in a strange country, but she was a seamstress and she managed to secure employment. Irene’s mother died when Irene was in teaching-training and that left Irene completely alone. However, ten-years later she was contacted by a Peter Cohen who claimed to be her uncle, he was never to meet Irene as he died before anything could be arranged, they had got to know a bit about each-other by writing regularly, Irene inherited his estate when he died, and she used the money to buy the house she had lived in until her death. She continued to work as a teacher until her retirement. It appeared that she was a well-liked and respected member of the staff at Riverside Primary for over thirty-four years.

Looking at everything Lily had discovered she still could not determine a motive except that maybe the victim had let in someone she knew who maybe asked her for money and she refused, and in a rage, had killed her, but then why did the murderer not help himself to money and valuables, maybe he had lost his temper, realised what he had done and just fled. There was little for forensics to find which possibly meant that the murderer had arrived with murder in mind, because he was careful not to leave any finger-prints at the scene and other than a few fibres not consistent with the dead woman’s clothing, forensics had little to offer.

The enquiry lasted over six-months and in all that time no leads led Lily anywhere of any significance, a few names were put forward, but after investigation they were eliminated. In September of that same year the case was put on a back burner., un-solved.

It has been ten years since Colin Blake killed Irene Cohen, he had never committed murder before her and only twice since.  He did not really have the stomach for it, but people had to pay the price for the hurt they had caused him. Starting with that stupid old woman who had been his teacher, she had laughed at him. One day she offered to give him some extra help did she really believe he was that thick? The class had been asked to draw their favourite animal, did she have to laugh, did she have to tell the whole class, it was too unkind, how was he supposed to know that unicorns did not really exist? That day had never left him, it had pointed out to the rest of the class he was stupid. The bullies had never forgotten it and they had called him unicorn-boy until the day they had left school. They were paying for it now. The worse bully was Tony Harper he had never moved from Riverside and he took an unfortunate swim in the canal a few months after Irene’s death. Then there was Paul Townsend, ‘fat Paul’ as he was now known, he couldn’t run anymore and for once he was the one providing the food-himself. All they found of Paul was his wallet and pieces of his clothing in a deserted warehouse, the rats had feasted on the rest. Not laughing at me-now are they?

Standing at the High Street crossing waiting for the lights to change he became impatient to cross and decided as he couldn’t see any approaching vehicles he would take a chance, a sports car killed him on impact. Very few people attended his funeral, Colin had been a loner. What was interesting was an old exercise book found by the police when they went to his property after his death, it was nearly overlooked but one of the officers recognised the name on the front. She had already discovered that some of the neighbours thought the dead man weird, saying they he often could be seen walking and talking to himself. Not that meant anything, but it was just a gut feeling.

Lily Looked at the exercise book and on its front cover it bore the name of Colin Blake, Class 5, Miss Cohen.  The front cover had been decorated with a unicorn drawn freehand. It took only two weeks for Lily Goodman to solve the murders of Irene Cohen, Tony Harper and Paul Townsend, but her murderer was already dead, justice had already been served.


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