Deni Starr, Author

I’m Deni Starr, writer of mysteries, whodunits, crime dramas, suspense thrillers, and ghost stories.  This is now my world after careers as a forensic photographer, free-lance paralegal, equestrian, hash-slinger, investigator, criminal defense attorney, family law attorney, martial artist, process server, women’s civil rights advocate, and most importantly, Girl Scout.

From the crime scene at LV’s 22, photo: Deni Starr

On a number of occasions I got involved in murder cases to help lawyers who had filed civil suits against bars and taverns when someone had been shot to death in one. I now know every legal theory that exists in Oregon for liability in this type of death. Bars are, as one witness put it, “predatory environments” and bad things happen there. The one pictured here was LV’s 22. On July 27, 2005, a bar patron, Eyo Nyong, stepped outside the 22 and was shot to death. It is believed the murder was witnessed by a number of people, but no one has come forward with information for the police. The murder remains unsolved. The bar has been torn down and replaced.

He is the three of hearts in the Crime Stopper’s deck of cards which is given to inmates in the Oregon prison system in the hopes that someone in prison will be willing to offer information on the murders featured on the cards. These cards have already solved cases.  [Read more]


Throwing in the Towel
Deni Starr

Cover art: M. Puckette

When we’d first come into the room, I’d kept a nervous eye on Randy and the young men I thought most likely to take his side about our conflict earlier. They seemed pretty much oblivious to my presence, so after a while, I just stopped worrying about them. Randy, however, wasn’t happy with how we’d left things. He’d been hurt, but not really injured. He’d been significantly disadvantaged by the fact he had clearly not considered me someone who could hold my own in a fight. Now he knew I could fight, but probably no idea as to how well.

John and I were headed out the door, John just ahead of me, when I heard a voice behind me.

“Hey, Chuckie, look here.”

I turned around just in time to see Randy’s fist headed to my face. It was too close for me to block, so without thinking I just ducked. John was too far ahead of me for the punch to hit him flush, but it hit him hard enough to hurt. But Randy’s timing was off. He’d done this just as Paul had walked by.

“Randy, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Paul demanded. Randy looked around, abashed and defensive.

“Hey, he did the same thing to me.”  Randy argued, pointing at me.

“It was not the same thing. I hit a pimp. You hit a priest,” I said.

“You a priest?” Randy asked, looking at John. John, who was holding his nose, reached inside his sweatshirt and pulled out his crucifix to show Randy.

“Oh, shit,” Randy said, seeing it.

“You’re going straight to Hell for that,” I told Randy as John and I walked away.

“Is it broken?” I asked.

“No. I was almost out of range. I don’t think it’s even going to bleed,” he told me.

“You should know to block your head.” I said.

“I’ll remember that the next time you invite me to meet your friends,” he retorted. [Read More]

The Evil That Men Do
Deni Starr

Haunted House Mystery

Photo:  Deni Starr

“What are you reading?” Laura asked, returning to the table with our drinks and more pretzels, these mixed with peanuts

        “Reports on the death of Lily Waters,” I said.

“Remind me of who she is, again,” Laura said, sipping her drink.

“One of the people Sam Wade researched for Alan White- 20’s Jazz singer,” I said, passing over the document.

I went on to the next one. This was the autopsy report. It noted the massive head trauma with multiple skull fractures and bleeding- two broken arms, and crushed thoracic cavity- Cause of death- massive multiple trauma- manner of death, suicide from fall. I finished reading this and passed it over to Laura. I picked up the third document and started reading it. This was a detective’s report.

“Today, 11-2-24, contacted by close associate of decedent, Whitney Williamson Esq. He stated decedent had recently been ill with influenza and depressed over professional set-backs. A musical performer, the decedent had been in the process of negotiating a tour, which had not materialized due to contract difficulties causing decedent to become morose. Also according to wit, decedent using excessive amounts of alcohol while ill.

        Conclusion: Suicide while temporarily of unsound mind.”

Photo: Deni Starr

The report was signed by a detective grade police officer. That was apparently the grand sum total of the investigation into her death. I was surprised. Even back then, I would have thought they would have done something more thorough, for example canvass the neighborhood to find out what roof she’d jumped off and who knew what about it.

I passed the third document over to Laura and pulled out my tablet, pulling up a map of San Francisco and punching in the address 1437 Pennoyer. According to my computer- there was no such address.

“What’s going on here?” I asked Laura, showing her the computer search results.

“That’s probably an old street that’s been renamed. Let me see what I can find on a historical map.”

Laura got into the historical society, found their historical maps, and found that 1437 Pennoyer was now in the 200 block of Second Street. She pulled up Google Earth and punched in the 200 block of Second Street.

“Oh God.” she said.

She turned the tablet around so I could see it. Second Street ran at right angles to Senate and the 200 block of Second Street was right along the side of 769 Senate. Lily Waters had jumped off the roof of Alan White’s house. [Read More]