The Death of Mr Robinson

Anthony Horowitz

The police were absolutely correct in their assumption that I was very close to Mr Robinson when I killed him.
It was an extremely opportunistic crime. The blackout caused by the failure of the National Grid lasted only four minutes and the train was in total darkness for just twenty seconds before emergency lighting kicked in. This left a very small window for the murder which took place exactly half-way between Mile End and Stratford on the Central line.
Mr Robinson was a retired school teacher. He lived alone. He was not wealthy and no money was taken from him. According to his neighbours he was quiet and reclusive. He liked jigsaw puzzles. So who took it upon themselves to drive a screwdriver into the elderly man’s neck – and why?
The police were able to examine CCTV footage of everyone in the front carriage, which is where the incident happened. The main suspect was a burly man in blue overalls, Frank Scarman, a self-employed carpenter who happened to be carrying his work tools in a metal box. Sitting opposite him, Carla Jones, who had recently moved to London from Norwich, had a history of mental issues including anxiety and depression. They were both close enough to be caught by the blood splatter. Carla was the first one to see him dead when the lights came on.
Dr Azra Rashid, sitting opposite, would have known exactly where to strike, being a consultant physician at University College Hospital and police were alerted to the behaviour of Eddi Kay, a stand-up comedian who had been performing that evening at the Soho Theatre and who thought the whole business to be hilariously funny. And what of single mother and Labour activist Louise Chancellor? She had been eating a burger on the train and Mr Robinson had complained about the smell. The brief argument had been recorded and at least gave her a motive of sorts.
It had to be one of them. There was nobody else close enough and although Dr Rashid believed he felt a gust of cool air just before the murder, this was unlikely as they were nowhere near a station.
I was not Dr Rashid. Nor was I any of the others. But as it happened I knew Mr Robinson very well. I had seen him get on at Shepherd’s Bush and I had thought how nice it would be to kill him. When the opportunity arose, just twenty minutes or so later, I couldn’t resist it.
He was my headmaster at the prep school where I was sent when I was eight. My parents were wealthy. At the time, I dreamed of becoming an actor or a writer...something in the arts. I loved drama and music. But Mr Robinson had other ideas. I don’t know why but he picked on me from the day I arrived. He humiliated me in front of all my friends...not that I had many friends, thanks to him. I still remember his sarcasm, the way he made me feel worthless, ashamed of myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had a happy life. I have a wife and two children. I enjoy my job. But I never became a famous actor or a director or anything like that.
I became a tube driver. 

Anthony Horowitz

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