Colorado native, OR nurse, and author of The Mad Hatter’s Son, Helen writes mystery thrillers. Her series, the Annie Collins Mysteries, center around an OR nurse who becomes involved in a murder quite by accident. Find out how it all turns out ... buy the book today!
Death is as casual—and often as unexpected—as birth. Jim Bishop
Frost watched her get into the elevator with her lawyer
and leave. There was something there, he wasn’t sure what, but after being a
homicide detective for fifteen years he could feel it. He often felt that buzz about things, and more often than
not he was right. Despite the buzz, he was sure that her friend’s death was a
suicide and that she wasn’t responsible. She’d unfortunately found the friend
and tried hard to keep her alive, but there was a lot she wasn’t saying.
And there was something about her
lawyer that had his buzz going as well. Something
more there than just a professional relationship, he thought. He hadn’t
missed the concern in the young lawyer’s face or the under the table hand
squeezes; he felt sure he’d seen the guy before; he just couldn’t place him at
the moment. It’d come; the name or where he’d seen or met him would pop up
eventually. If he were right about it, he’d bet that the guy was crazy about
her and that she hadn’t a clue. Probably considered him a friend and nothing
more. Wasn’t that always the way?
He went back to his desk where his
partner Denise Miller stood waiting for him. He wasn’t crazy about her and it
wasn’t because she was female; he liked working with women. She just wasn’t
homicide material and he’d bet she’d be gone before the year was out. Dead
bodies upset her and the hours interfered with her personal life she’d said. He’d
almost laughed when she’d said that. Dead bodies and no personal life—that was
homicide wasn’t it?
All kids her age talked about was
work/life balance, he’d heard it from his own kids. Well you didn’t find that
in homicide. Dead people had no respect for your work/life balance. Fortunately,
he’d been married forever and his wife was a tolerant woman who loved him. Even
so, the job had played havoc with their marriage over the years.
“What’d you think about her story?”
Miller asked as he sat down in his desk chair.
“I think she’s telling the truth, just
not all of it, and I’m not sure why. Almost doesn’t matter, it’s a pretty clear
case of suicide. Still, I’m curious about what she’s not saying.”
“We could bring her back in.”
“Nah, not worth the trouble. She’s not
guilty of doing anything to her friend except trying to keep her alive, so no
point really.” But damn, I would like to
know what she’s holding back, he thought.
DA’s office! The
thought popped into his head like a jack-in-the box. That’s where he’d seen the
guy. He was an assistant DA or something. That was interesting. How had she
ended up with an ADA representing her? One more piece of the puzzle that suggested
more than a professional relationship. ADA’s weren’t in the habit of
representing clients not associated with trials. So, maybe they were friends. Poor guy, he thought shaking his head.
He spent the next hour sorting through
and filling out paperwork, his mind on autopilot with the familiar, tedious
tasks that had to be done to keep the machine of justice functioning. That made
him laugh. Justice was a fluid concept in his mind. Sometimes there was no
justice and no reason for the things that happened to people and sometimes the
payback, or karma, or whatever you wanted to call it, was pretty horrendous.
There was no rhyme or reason to it as far as he could see, you just kept
plodding along and hoped you wouldn’t be singled out like some of the homicide
victims he’d had the unpleasant experience of tending to.
this Libby Matheisen,
he thought, what a waste. She’d been
a beautiful woman and talented artist; rich, privileged, pampered, and dead by
her own hand. It was a shame that someone hadn’t been there to intervene and
stop her, and maybe that’s what he was picking up on with the friend. Guilt
that she hadn’t been able to save her, but also that she hadn’t been able to
prevent her suicide.
He shook his head absently, shuffling
papers, and then filing them. Miller had wandered off, who knew where, and he
was glad. He could never think of things to talk about around her. There was
too much of an age gap and they had little in common. He wasn’t sure why she’d
asked for homicide. It had this surface gloss and glamor that didn’t take long
to dispel. A floater or a bloater or a dead kid and most new additions to the
department made a hasty exit.
It was kinda mean he supposed, but he
and several fellow detectives had a bet going on how long she’d stick it out.
He’d bet on 10 months. If he was right, he’d win $500 and maybe he’d take the
wife somewhere nice for dinner and an overnight at a fancy hotel. She’d like
that, maybe he’d get lucky. He sure hoped Miller didn’t disappoint him.