PAPERBACK BOOKS
THE INDIGNITY OF DEATH

Still looking for the perfect murder/mystery recipe????  
Try this …..
Take 1 Chief Inspector   -  Ryan Gregorian (if in season)
Add 1 psychic - of the Cassandra variety
Throw in a vision of three coffins.........Add 1 dead politician shot outside a brothel
Mix well and you have the ingredients for The Indignity of Death  
....According to Cassandra’s vision, three people will die.  
The politician is the first victim and Ryan is desperate to find the killer before two more deaths occur.  

He is determined to succeed while painfully aware that Cassandra has never been wrong before. 

In Store Price: $AU25.95 
Online Price:   $AU24.95

ISBN: 1-9211-1834-2
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 250
Genre:  Fiction

 

 


Author: Helen Denkha 
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2006
Language: English

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Author Profile    

Helen Denkha was born in Iran and is of Assyrian descent. She moved to Australia with her family in 1973.  

Although most of her education was completed in Australia she still speaks fluent Assyrian (Aramaic) and Farsi.  

Helen also enjoys song writing. The lyrics to her song The Hunter were recorded by an Assyrian/Iranian singer.  

The Indignity of Death is her second book featuring Ryan Gregorian.  

Helen lives in Sydney and has worked in various financial institutions for over fifteen years.

 Read a sample:

Prologue:

 

Monday – May 12

 

The first coffin was lowered into the ground, then the second and a third. Several hands helped push the coffins down one on top of the other. When it was over, the people stood wiping their hands clean. Their faces and genders were not distinguishable in the dark.

            As they walked away, the feet of a man were seen dangling over the open grave. He was hanging with his neck in a noose. A tall man walked over and tightened the noose a little more. He had missed the other people by a few seconds.            

            Cassandra woke from an uneasy sleep. She had fallen asleep on the sofa in the living room and forgotten to turn off the lights or the candles. Luckily the candles were all still burning brightly although the wax had dripped and formed a base on the mantelpiece.

            She had not seen or spoken to Ryan in almost nine months. She had many dreams in between but they had not involved a crime. Cassandra would have to tell him about this one. Ryan would not want to hang the wrong man.  

 

Diary of a Killer – Monday May 12

Dear Diary

I have decided to do it. I know that once I begin there will be no turning back, but I must do it, otherwise I’ll never have any peace. It is frightening but rather exciting; there is a lot of planning to do, like a party – except that there won’t be many people…just the two of us.

That’s funny – it’s very funny. It will be a party of two. I’ve made a list of things to do. It makes it more real and I tick them as they are completed.

It’s strange going about my daily routine, talking to people, eating, working, doing all the normal things one does and all the time I keep planning.

I saw him today, from afar, he didn’t recognise me. He wouldn’t remember the likes of me. I should have stayed away but I couldn’t. I wanted to see his face close up. I wondered if there would be anything in his expression to show he would die soon But there wasn’t, he doesn’t know what is waiting for him. That’s all right, because I KNOW.  He was talking to a friend and they were planning to go to the snow. He suggested July.       

That’s very funny too. He’s planning a snow trip and I’m planning his death. Planning, planning, planning, the whole world is planning something.  I don’t want him to go skiing in July. I’ll do it long before then.

It’s good to have a reason to get up in the morning – a goal. I’m just worried about what I’ll do when it’s over. I’ll have to set myself a new goal. I feel different. I have a purpose, it must show, people are looking at me differently, with more respect. They must sense the power in me.

I have to go now. Lots of things to do. I have to check my list, tick, tick, tick. 

 

Monday – June 14

 

Deborah Rawlston picked up her handbag and was about to rush out of the office when her phone rang. She looked longingly at the door. She could just pretend that she didn’t hear the phone and walk out, there were so many other telephones ringing; no one would notice. She glanced around, the new guy at the opposite desk looked at her telephone and then back at her in a meaningful way. If only she had walked out two minutes earlier. Her errand would have only taken ten minutes. The girl at the shop had promised to keep the boots for her if she turned up right on ten in the morning. She desperately needed those boots for the upcoming ski trip. Deborah couldn’t ski to save her life but she liked to dress up and look the part when she went to the snow. She spent most of the time sitting at the bar and drinking and hoping …

            The telephone finally stopped ringing, she could move on now. She looked up and found the guy staring at her again. Suddenly the button on the telephone went red; someone had left a message. She didn’t like the way that guy looked at her, she was only new at the job herself and he might cause her problems. She decided she would at least listen to the message.

            She sat at her desk and retrieved the message, rolling her eyes in frustration. She should have known it was another hoax call. Some woman telling her if a reporter from the Daily Globe could be present at 31 Carlisle Close, Beaumont Hills that night, they would get the headline of the year for their next morning’s edition. The woman had not left her name.

            Deborah picked up her bag and walked out, this time with a clear conscience, knowing she would soon be in possession of the beautiful boots. What she didn’t know was that by ignoring the message on her answering machine she had missed the scoop of a lifetime. She was about forty-eight hours away from losing her job at the Daily Globe newspaper and would have no need for the boots after all.  

            Superintendent Donovan replaced the receiver slowly back in its cradle. He shook his head several times and muttered, “Damn shame.  It’s a damn shame.” After allowing himself the thirty-second luxury of regretting the death of an old acquaintance he picked up the telephone and began to set the wheels of a crime investigation in motion. His first call was to Chief Inspector Ryan Gregorian.

            “Good evening sir.”

            “Ryan, I need you to get down town as soon as you can. Alan and his team are already there, but I want you to handle the press. They’re going to be all over this like moths around a candle. I can’t believe this has happened. I’ll ring his wife myself, it’s the least I can do. I‘ve met her a few times. Can’t say she is exactly my cup of tea, but I’d rather she heard it from me.”

            Ryan waited patiently to be told what ‘this’ was. The super sounded a little agitated and unlike his normal self.

            “Are you talking about a homicide sir?”

            “Sorry Ryan. I know I’m rambling – I’m all over the place. It came as a bit of a shock. Senator John Holtzman was found dead thirty minutes ago, shot twice in the chest, reeking of booze. I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it.”

            Ryan had heard of Senator Holtzman, indeed there were few people who hadn’t. He was a tough straight-speaking farmer’s son who had made it to the top despite his humble beginnings. He had dedicated his political life to implementing drug reforms and building shelters for battered women and runaway children. In his spare time he had managed to unravel dirty secrets about other politicians, judges, high profile barristers and various prominent community members. Ryan estimated the number of people who would wish him dead could easily be in the hundreds.

            “I’m sorry sir, he was a good man. He will be a great loss. The public loved him.”

            “Yes, well – I doubt if the public will keep on loving him for much longer once all this comes out,” said Donovan.

            “I don’t understand sir; it’s not his fault the poor man got shot.”

            “No, no it’s not his fault. It’s the circumstances that will tarnish thirty-odd years of good reputation – he was killed outside a brothel Ryan.”

 

            Ryan drove to the address Donovan had given him, 31 Carlisle Close, Beaumont Hills. He wondered if the super or someone else had got their facts wrong. He had expected the brothel to be in a sleazy down-town area. A housing development project, that had commenced almost three ago, had turned Beaumont Hills from a respectable middle-class suburb to an expensive estate, which only people of above average income could afford. Ryan wasn’t aware that any part of Beaumont Hills was considered a red light district. Several flashing police sirens, a mortuary van and an ambulance led him to his destination. He was met by Detective Milanovich, known as Milan by his colleagues.

            “What have we got Milan ?” asked Ryan as soon as the detective was within earshot.

            “I guess you know who the victim is sir – it’s a damn shame, a damn shame; what a way to be remembered,” said Milan unknowingly echoing Superintendent Donovan’s exact thoughts.

            “Was he definitely inside the house; is it possible the body was just dumped there?”

            “No Chief. We’ve spoken to the people inside. One of the women confirms he was with her for an hour. There are three more people inside the house. Detective Dawson thought he’d wait until you arrived before interviewing them.”

            “Anyone from the press here?”

            “Got a few journalists poking around – no television crew but that won…” Milan broke off to yell at a constable who was walking towards him. “What the hell are you doing, I thought I told you to keep the spectators at bay.”

            “We’ve got the area taped out sir, no one will get through, but there’s a lady asking to see the Chief.”

            “What’s her name?” asked Ryan.

            “It’s Mrs Suzanne Holtzman. She’s just heard about her husband sir, and she is demanding to see whoever’s in charge.”

 

            Detective Alan Dawson walked around impatiently trying not to disturb anything; there wasn’t a great deal for him to do. He had looked inside the car, no sign of a struggle in there and nothing that would give a clue to the assailant’s identity. He checked his watch and wondered what was keeping Ryan. They had four witnesses to question. Alan had delayed interviewing them, waiting for Ryan’s arrival, but he couldn’t keep them waiting much longer. He decided to give it another five minutes.

            He walked in the opposite direction from where the senator’s body lay. Alan had never met the senator but knew of him by reputation. He wished with all his heart that the body had been found elsewhere. He had formed a certain impression of the man, based on the public image he had presented, and had not considered him to be the type that would frequent brothels.  

            He walked to the other side of the taped crime scene. It was probably much safer; he was less likely to disturb any sort of evidence. The house, which was a split-level brick veneer, faced a park with the footpath leading on to a pub, the Sunset Hotel. Alan could just make out the lights from the pub between the trees. There was a bench close to where he was standing, he decided to sit down and have a cigarette before starting the interviews. He pushed away an almost empty packet of French fries and a Styrofoam cup. The cup must have been half full. As he pushed it away, he spilt some of the contents and as he wiped his hand he turned and glanced at the cup curiously. As he rose and walked back towards the crime scene, he spotted Red Madison and called him over.

            “Yes, Alan.”

            “What are you up to?”

            “Nothing; trying to stay out of the way of these forensics’ guys. They think they’re God or something,” grumbled Madison .

            “Okay, grab a couple of men, and your flashlights, and start looking around the park. Then speak to all the neighbours – again.”

            “What are we looking for?”

            “Someone has sat here and had a cup of coffee and chips not long ago. The coffee’s still lukewarm. I’d say they only moved away when we turned up.”

            “If they saw the damn killer you’d think they’d hang around and tell us what they saw – I don’t know what’s wrong with people.” Madison walked away shaking his head in disgust.

            If they saw the damned killer? I just hope the damned killer didn’t see them,” Alan muttered to himself.

           

            Ryan walked over to a tall slender woman with dark hair and an extremely pale face. He extended his hand. “Mrs Holtzman, I’m sorry that we have to meet under such …”

            She cut his condolences short. “Yes, thank you Chief Inspector. What I want to know is what you are doing about catching my husband’s killer.”

            Ryan had prepared what he believed to be an appropriate speech while waiting for the constable to bring Suzanne Holtzman over. He was not impressed with her rude interruption and did not bother with the rest of his little speech. If she was going to treat this as another item on her busy agenda, so be it.

            “I’ve only just arrived and haven’t been brought up to date with …”

            “Well maybe you should get moving then. I’ve just been called out of a function to be told that my husband’s been found dead in a – a brothel of all places. I was giving a very important speech. This is very distressing. The publicity – God I don’t even want to think about the headlines tomorrow.”

            “Yes it was damn inconsiderate of the senator to get shot while you were at an important function,” said Ryan coldly. “Since you’re so anxious for me to get on with my job, I will go and do what I’m paid for. I won’t intrude any further on your – hmm – grief.”

 

            Christian Masters slowed down to turn into the road which would take him to the cul-de-sac that was his destination. The unexpected sight of the police cars and flashing police sirens made him brake suddenly causing a loud screech. A police officer turned around and gave him a less than friendly look.

            The police officer came up to him, “Do you live here sir?”

            “No I don’t but I need to …”

            “Then you’ll need to keep driving, this is a police crime scene.”

            “Who’s been killed?”

            The officer sighed and replied resignedly. “A Senator John Holtzman was shot a few hours ago. Now just move along, you can read all about it …”

            “I need to get to the crime scene. Who’s in charge?”

            “Chief Inspector Gregorian but I’m sorry sir …”

            “Look, I think the Chief Inspector will want to speak to me. He won’t be very happy if he finds out you turned me away without checking with him first.”

            The police officer scrutinized Christian’s long blonde hair, leather jacket and denim pants trying to guess his occupation. He decided the guy must be a musician in a punk rock band and wondered what his association would be with the chief.

            “Let me see your driver’s license.”

            Christian handed over his license together with another form of identification.

            The officer gave him another long look. “Private Investigator hey – okay wait here.”

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