Mary Monaghan



The first case I ever cracked was when I was on a train and just as it entered a tunnel there was a knock on the window.  The lights in the compartment flickered and I glanced at my fellow travellers.  They too had heard it, a furious knocking, but where was it coming from?  We looked at each other as the train sped through the tunnel.  The lights started to flicker; one of our fellow travellers had gone down the train to the dining car.  He had been gone a long time.

Jimmy was a street sweeper, but not just any street sweeper, he used to sing and dance as he swept the streets.

As the train emerged into the light of day there was a sharp thud.  The teacher who was sitting next to me moved towards the window and looking out she saw the street sweeper’s body bumping along the railway tracks.  She motioned to me to look out of the window and I immediately pulled the emergency alarm.  The train shuddered to a halt.  The rest of the passengers had now seen what had happened and the noise was incredible as they shouted and screamed to each other.

I blew my police whistle, ‘Order, order, I am a police officer, please stay calm and stay where you are.’  I moved to the door, opened it and jumped down to the tracks together with the driver and the conductor.  Jimmy, the street sweeper’s lifeless and mangled body lay sprawled across the tracks.  Some of the passengers tried to approach the body. ‘Stand back, stand back,’ I said.  ‘This is a crime scene’.

I followed procedure and confirmed that Jimmy was dead and then surveyed his body for clues as to who had perpetrated this crime.  This was my big chance to make a name for myself.  I knew it would make all the papers, a murder on a train, and I was right there.

I thought back to my time on the train. Jimmy had been talking to the suave and very opinionated ad executive, Al who was smoking outside in the corridor.  It was clear that the Al did not like what Jimmy was saying to him.  Jimmy was not happy with the attention that Al had been paying to Jimmy’s fiancée Ethel.  Ethel was a quiet, timid sort, a teacher and evidently didn’t know how to fend off Al’s unwanted advances.

Jimmy followed Al when he went to the dining car.  Al returned ta few minutes later, his face flushed, holding his shoulder.  Yes, it had to be him who had manhandled Jimmy off the train sending him to his untimely death.

I had cracked the case, my first one ever.

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