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CARNIVAL KARMA

 Carnival Karma is the second of the Alan Dodd crime series.

 On a day off, Senior Constable Alan Dodd becomes involved in a religious riot in Toowoomba, which leads him to become friendly with a well-known clairvoyant.  Later, when two local clergy are murdered, the clairvoyant is a suspect along with a young gay man who was known to both clergy.  Alan is convinced that neither is the killer.

 His investigations lead him to a break-away religious community in his area.  The Cold Case Squad becomes involved in the case because the murder method used on the priests is similar to that used to murder a young pregnant woman in Queens Park twenty-three years before.

 Are the murders by the same killer?  Or an act of revenge?

 Alan is captured and imprisoned.  He escapes and discovers the identity of the clergy killer.  After a gun battle in which two people die, he is able to assist in identifying the murderer from twenty-three years ago.

In Store Price: $26.95 
Online Price:   $21.95

ISBN: 978-1-921574-82-5     
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 308
Genre: Non Fiction

© Cover Design— Owen Winter 2010
Cover image top – Toowoomba Queens Park Gardens, Qld - Carnival of Flowers
Cover image bottom – Culvert under Hume Street, Toowoomba, Qld.

By the same Author: Fire Line


 

Author: Arn Winter
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English

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Author Biography 

Arn Winter is a retired civil engineer and teacher who has worked in various places around Queensland. A qualified theologian, he also has a deep affinity with the spirituality of the plains and scrubland west of the Great Divide and an interest in the experiences and stories of long-time residents. 

Carnival Karma is the second in a series of crime stories he has written centred around the psychically-sensitive Senior Constable Alan Dodd. 

Fire Line was the first in the series, also published by Zeus Publications.



Chapter One – Thursday (Two days before Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers)
 

The young woman crossed the road and entered Queens Park Gardens. Almost at a run, she stumbled in her high heels along a well-lit path. Oblivious to the Canary Island Date Palms on both sides, to the heavy scent of massed spring annuals and to the cool evening breeze in her face, she was consumed by her own disappointment and rage. She noticed an ambling group of noisy sightseers approaching, and was self-conscious enough to want to avoid their prying stares. She veered to her left off the path, passing behind the thick trunk of a Kauri Pine, and dodged around shrubs to find herself among the tulip trees, pines and camphor laurels of the park itself.

She hurried southwest across the tree-studded acreage towards the city, towards the bus station where she could catch a coach back to Brisbane.

It was 8.10 p.m. on Thursday, the day before the beginning of Toowoomba’s annual ten-day Spring Carnival of Flowers.

Toowoomba was at its most beautiful. As her coach had climbed the range to enter the city from the east, the young woman had, with the other passengers, admired the flowerbed displays along the roadside. Now she cared nothing for the natural and cultivated beauty of this inland city as she stumbled on, her eyes dimmed by angry tears.

She would get even with the selfish bastard, she thought bitterly, if it was the last thing she did. Tomorrow she would go to the police and tell them he had been molesting her since she was fifteen. His precious career would be in ruins. That she had been mature for her age and lost her virginity at thirteen was beside the point. He’d still had sex with her when she was fifteen, and that was a criminal offence. She irritably tugged up the loose sleeves of the oversize cardigan he’d loaned her against the evening chill.

Ahead through the thin mist, she saw a group of people making their way leisurely back to the city after viewing the flower displays. She veered further to the left to be beyond the trees so they would not see her overtake them. A middle-aged woman looked in her direction when she swore loudly as the prickles of a fallen Bunya Pine frond laddered her stocking.

Even further to her left, not far from the lights of Margaret Street, a smaller group of people were making their way up another pathway from town, this one paralleling the street. The young woman kept between the paths to avoid both groups.

Near the bottom of the hill, she returned to the pathway to pass the public toilets. She was attractive in a brassy way. Short, aged in her early twenties, and with a buxom build and short dyed-blonde hair. Her face was heavily made up, though streaky now from her angry tears. Her clothing, light for the evening chill, consisted only of high-heeled black shoes, dark stockings, a dark green miniskirt and the borrowed grey woollen cardigan, several sizes too large for her, over her pink tee-shirt. Her arms were folded tightly under her large breasts, as much for solace as for warmth. A red vinyl purse hung from her left arm on a short strap.

Outside the toilets, a thin young man of about her own age loitered in the bushes. Of dark hair colouring and complexion and wearing heavily framed spectacles, he glanced at her before turning away.

She crossed the footbridge and entered the well-lit gardens on the corner of Margaret and Hume Streets. The air was heavy with the sweet scent of stocks and petunias and humid from the mist of fine spray that drifted from the sprinkling fountains. Several couples and two family groups with older children wandered between the gardens admiring them. A pair of teenage boys with one of the families leered at the young woman as she approached, while their middle-aged parents stared at her with hard-eyed contempt.

To avoid the half dozen people waiting to cross the intersection when the lights changed, the young woman veered away towards the creek. She stepped down from the gardens onto the concreted floodway. Weeping willows along the eastern side drooped over the four-metre wide ditch, and shallow water in a semicircular drain along the centre of the concrete gurgled ahead of her towards Gowrie Creek. She increased her pace away from the bright lights and approached the three-celled culvert that carried the creek under Hume Street.

 

The culvert, its cells a little taller than head height, was a popular shortcut for pedestrians walking between the park and the northern end of the city centre. During the dry season, only the centre cell ran with a thin trickle of water. The southern cell in particular was a popular pedestrian underpass, safer than jay walking across the busy street above, at least during daylight hours.

Beyond daylight hours, the underpass was rarely frequented by respectable people. It became a haven for groups of youngsters experimenting with sex, glue-sniffing or marijuana smoking. During the summer months, provided it wasn’t raining, drunks and derelicts slept on old mattresses or overcoats in the northern cell of the culvert. As most of these folk weren’t worth robbing, and bashing them drew increased police surveillance of the area, the youngsters usually left them alone.

 

The young woman hurried into the underpass. McCafferty’s Coach Terminal was only a hundred metres or so beyond. She thought there was a coach to Brisbane at 8.35. She should just about make it. Her steps echoed hollowly in the empty tunnel and she increased her pace.

A bulky shadow loomed ahead against the back-lighting of distant street lights. The woman felt no alarm. It wasn’t a gang of teenagers. Probably a derelict looking for a quiet place to drink his sherry. If he said anything or seemed threatening she could easily avoid him and run to the safety of the bus station. She moved to the left of the passageway to pass him.

“Helen?” the figure enquired when they were almost level.

Startled, she stopped to peer at the dark shape.

“Is that you?” There was both hope and contempt in her voice.

The figure stood close by for a moment before twisting violently against her. She felt the blade burn into her stomach centimetres below the waist of her miniskirt – through the foetus, up through her diaphragm, across the aorta and into her heart. Breathless and dying, she crumpled to her knees as the blade was withdrawn. She had no final thought except surprise.

The man stooped down to take the purse from her arm. He turned her slightly so he could slip off the grey cardigan. He folded it over his arm to hide the purse and turned to stride silently back the way he had come.

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