Helen Denkha was born in
Although most of her education was
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
Read a sample:
Read a sample:
Monday – May 12
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.
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.
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
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.
of a Killer – Monday May 12
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
– June 14
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 …
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.
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
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
“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 drove to the address Donovan had given him, 31
“What have we got
“I guess you know who the victim is sir – it’s a damn shame, a damn
shame; what a way to be remembered,” said
“Was he definitely inside the house; is it possible the body was just
“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
“Anyone from the press here?”
“Got a few journalists poking around – no television crew but that
“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.
“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
“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
“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.”
“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
“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
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
The officer gave him another long look. “Private Investigator hey –
okay wait here.”
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