Who Killed Jerusalem? By George Albert Brown
In 1977, Ickey Jerusalem, San Francisco’s golden-boy poet laureate, is found dead in a locked, first-class toilet on an arriving red-eye flight.
Ded Smith, a desperately unhappy, intelligent philistine with a highly developed philosophy to match, is called in to investigate the poet’s death. Thus begins a series of hilarious encounters with the members of Jerusalem’s coterie.
Ded soon realizes that to find out what happened, he must not only collect his usual detective’s clues but also, despite his own poetically challenged outlook, get into the dead poet’s mind. Fighting his way through blasphemous funerals, drug-induced dreams, poetry-charged love-making, offbeat philosophical discussions, and much, much more, he begins to piece together Jerusalem’s seductive, all-encompassing metaphysics.
But by then, the attempts to kill Ded and the others have begun.
Before Ded’s death-dodging luck runs out, will he be able to solve the case, and perhaps in the process, develop a new way of looking at the world that might allow him to replace his unhappiness with joy?
Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to Mindbuck Media Book Publicity for sending me an advance copy of this book.
I was really excited to get the opportunity to read this book because I went through a massive William Blake phase when I was at University. I even composed a four part choral piece to Blake’s poem The Tyger and went to several exhibitions of his art work. This knowledge did help me whilst reading this book but I will be honest even at times I had to do some research to make sense of certain things which makes me worry that people with no experience of Blake’s work and his metaphysics would struggle with this book.
There are some great characters within this book and some characters that I really did not get along with. Sadly, the one character I really did not like was Ded. Ded is rather a sad character who has not had a very happy life so far. His childhood was sheltered and not happy and he has basically been just going through life working and just existing. Although I felt sorry for Ded I really did not like how he acted and found him painfully socially awkward. I also did not like his sexual habits very much. The other character I did not particularly like was Beulah. I found Beulah to be rather childish and very naive. At times I felt sorry for her but at the same time I just wanted her to get angry and react to things.
Most of the members of Jerusalem’s coterie were hilarious and were the reason I kept reading the book. Ghostflea the chauffeur was definitely my favourite character. Ghostflea had an interesting upbringing and I love how he learnt to drive by reading a book. The image of an erratic driver who really can’t drive driving like a drunk person around San Fransisco in an English hearse was hilarious and had me laughing a great deal.
The other character that had me laughing was Tharmas. Tharmas basically spends his life as high as a kite and going from one sexual encounter to the next. It was hard to imagine him as a business manager for Jerusalem.
I will be honest I did find this book a hard slog and what made it worse was that I guessed who the killer was very early on and when I was right it felt like rather a let down and extremely predictable. The ending where Ded explains all his theories in the plane was in my opinion not needed and it felt like Brown was trying to imitate a Poirot book but not as successfully as Christie. Overall, if this book had been shorter I think I would have enjoyed it more but from about half way through it was becoming too much like hard work. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.
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About the author
George Albert Brown, a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law, started as a hippie in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury and retired at the age of 40 after having co-founded a successful international finance company. Following stints thereafter as a humorous author (The Airline Passenger’s Guerrilla Handbook) and an angel investor in over a score of high-tech university spinouts, he built a catamaran in Chile and for more than a decade, cruised it across the globe with his significant other. Today, as a father of three grown children, a grandfather of four not-yet-grown children, and an involuntary lover of stray cats, he continues her peripatetic lifestyle by other means.