Hopefully, by mid-June, Part One of The Murder Rule will be completed (and then comes the editing part). It is mostly completed already. Part Two, featuring roadie Bobby Jones, is mostly completed but I need to manuscript the climax and leading up to the climax. Then comes Part Three and maybe, Part Four. The plan is to complete the entire novel, The Murder Rule, before the end of 2022.
This post is the one that leads up to the climax of Part One of The Murder Rule, where narrator and pop-culture pundit Lloyd Denholm begins to come to the conclusion through investigations as to who murdered fictitious rock star Denny Spradlin in early 1996.
Spradlin’s band mate Blake Fenmore has requested of the pop culture magazine X-Zine to have pundit and free-lancer Denholm to find out ‘who done it’ and how. The request was made in Spring, 2005. In this snippet, Denholm meets with Blake at his rock house in the Lake District of northwest England. Below is the snippet, copyright © 2022 by Deborah Lagarde:
“Glad you finally arrived,” Blake smiled as he nodded while shaking my hand, then ushered me into his stone cottage. “I reckon you visited Kemmy.”
“Yes, and what he told me was a shock.” I headed straight for a living room couch. “But I’ll get to that later.”
Blake stood amidst the room. “Brew? Whiskey? Tea? Water”?
“I’ll take water for now.”
“And I’ll drink a brew,” as he headed toward the wooden bar. “Because I’m gonna need one.” Laugh.
The last time I saw Blake was on television being interviewed over Denny’s death from ‘too much skank,’ that is, too much nasal ingestion of a wild American southwest desert plant, jimsonweed, that could be deadly in large amounts. Blake had said that it had to be suicide since Denny knew how dangerous skank could be in large amounts; I suspected that it had to be murder, since Denny had told me the morning of his death that he would never commit suicide; I also suspected Blake knew the truth, but was too afraid to admit it publicly.
But that was then and this is now.
“Let me guess,” I looked at Blake, sitting in a lounge chair directly opposite my position on the couch. “You told the press Denny committed suicide, but in truth you had always believed he was ‘murder-ruled’.”
Fenmore threw his head back in despair, and then snorted loudly. “He was.” Then hung his head in shame. “And I knew it all along, but was too bloody much of a coward to admit it to the media.”
I thought, Coward? No! Blake, had you admitted murder to the press, you would have been next on the ‘death list,’ and you know it! I understand why you said what you said.
“Look, Blake, had you told the media you thought Denny was murdered without knowing exactly who did it, you would have been hounded in any way possible for many months, without mercy. And you would have been living in fear for your own life—”
He stood up, shaking. “I did live in fear for my own life! Why do you think I moved all the way up here? They—”
“They? Who is ‘they’?”
Shouted at me. “You know bloody well who ‘they’ are! The ones who run ‘the Order’.”
“The ones who wrote ‘The Pleasure Rule,’ which, if you turn against this so-called ‘rule,’ they throw ‘the murder rule’ at you. Didn’t that Pleasure Rule manual claim the only way you can leave ‘the Order’ is by death?”
“That’s what scared me and Denny.” Slug of brew as he sat back down. “But we had to leave it. We were pretty much has-beens by then anyway, so we figured it wouldn’t matter to them if we left anyway. No video deal, right? But we wanted to get back to work and get some kind of meaning in our lives again, successful album and videos or not. We figured ‘the no video deal’ was the punishment for not continuing to serve ‘the Order.’ Yet, not a one of us actually thought the Pleasure Rule would become the murder rule.”
As I sipped more water I went into thought mode. You said the ones who run ‘the Order’ ordered Denny’s killing. Well, Swami Negran died in early 1996 right after he tried supposedly to kill two members of Sound Unltd by heart attacks, and two years before that, he killed Adam Bloodlove. So it had to be someone who Negran trusted at the time, associated with him here in Britain. Negran likely had a hand in the death but he too is dead now. So his second-in-command likely planned it. But who else?
“Likely, Swami Negran had something to do with it,” I responded. “He’s gone now, however, so he cannot be brought to justice—”
“I’m sure he has been! Justice, eh? He’s likely roasting in hell for eternity.” Laugh.
Has Blake gone Christian like the Super Six? “So you now believe all that Bible stuff, ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ stuff?”
Snort. “That’s in the Matthew Gospel, right?”
“Matthew 8:12. Christ said the wicked would be cast into the ‘outer darkness,’ that is, hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And several other verses as well.”
Finished my water. “Blake, are you Christian now?”
Smile. “Yes, but I’m not some church-goer. I really do want to stay out of the limelight. I was such a mess I just wanted to, you know, confess my sins and repent and all. And I suspect Denny did as well like right before he died.” Moved forward. “He left me a note telling me someone had poisoned him, and for me to—he actually wrote this—pray for my soul.”
“Now why would he write that if he didn’t even think anything about praying? Like, he writes the note really fast—I don’t even know where he would have gotten the pen and paper, eh? So he writes the note and as he’s writing it he’s asking Jesus to forgive him or something, like, praying for forgiveness. Then he puts the note into the strong box I had the key to, and then dies. Like, he accepts Christ as Savior and then God’s happy he did, so then God takes him if you know what I mean.”
“Well. That’s my take. I’ve had that idea in my head for years now. And then all the sinister events happening to Jack and Erik and them”—that is, Sound Unltd—“and I figure if they can go ahead and become Christians as well after all they went through, then why not me? Nothing bad has happened to them since 2001, right? And nothing bad has happened to me either.”
“Are you doing any missionary stuff?”
“Not yet. I want to get this murder of Denny solved before I do.”
And on and on.
“So who do you think, besides Negran, took part in Denny’s murder?”
“Kumara, the Bollywood actor from India, an associate of Negran’s for years. I am sure he was involved. Denny had told me beforehand that Kumara was visiting him the day he died. So I figure Kumara and Swami did the deed, but there may have been support actors involved as well.”
Which leads to the climax, where Lloyd Denholm finds out who the murderer is.
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