Who Killed Jerusalem?

A Rollicking Literary Murder Mystery Based On William Blake's Characters & Ideas Updated To 1970s San Francisco

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Pub Date 06 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 02 Aug 2023

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A budding cult classic that dramatically splits the reviewers. Which side will you be on?

A seamless melding of the intricate plotting of Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose; the side-splitting humor of John Kennedy Toole in A Confederacy of Dunces; and the fabulous world of William Blake.

​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 lovemaking, 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?
A budding cult classic that dramatically splits the reviewers. Which side will you be on?

A seamless melding of the intricate plotting of Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose; the side-splitting humor...

Advance Praise

"The protagonist’s sleuthing keeps the pages turning, and his intense personality contributes to the narrative’s frenetic, free-falling tone. Overall, it makes for an entertaining and fascinating reading experience, as Ded is alluring, smart, funny, and has a mind full of colorful notions.

Brown, a self-admitted “lifelong devotee of William Blake,” considers his novel a contemporary “riff” on that seminal poet’s oeuvre. Readers who enjoy ruminative mysteries that are as ornately embellished as museum tapestries will enjoy this creative amalgam of art, San Francisco history, and deep suspicion.

A zany, inventive, and multilayered fever dream of murder and mayhem."


"Graphic and comedic, the novel indulges in reflective, sometimes nonsensical, streams of thought. Still, the narrative’s primary problematiques—the state of beauty, the creation of the universe, and the nature of reality—are ably revealed through the artistry of Jerusalem’s life and Ded’s surreal experiences. 

In the surrealistic mystery novel Who Killed Jerusalem?, an investigator seeks out the truth about a man’s death—and about ultimate reality.


"This novel is built on the premise that Blake, a radical non-conformist, would have fit in well with the flower children of San Francisco. The poet’s intense interest in metaphysics and his compelling artwork figure prominently in Who Killed Jerusalem?.... a clever conceit, with many humorous episodes."


"The protagonist’s sleuthing keeps the pages turning, and his intense personality contributes to the narrative’s frenetic, free-falling tone. Overall, it makes for an entertaining and fascinating...

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$350,000 National Marketing Campaign

• Full Pre-Release Publicity Campaign through

Mindbuck Media Book Publicity

• Cision News Releases

• Major Online and Media Advertising; Campaign with

radio, print...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781737774419
PRICE $20.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 21 members

Featured Reviews

Review of eBook

In 1977, Ickey Jerusalem, heralded as San Francisco’s golden boy, arrives on a 747 overnight flight . . . dead. Found in a locked, first-class toilet, the poet laureate, to all appearances, committed suicide.

Ded Smith, an insurance investigator for the Olympian Life Insurance Company, joins San Francisco Police Inspector O’Nadir as he investigates the death. Despite evidence to the contrary, Ded [sometimes referred to as Doctor Deadly] is not so sure certain that Ickey’s death was by his own hand.

But if Ickey didn’t take his own life, who is responsible for the poet’s death? Could it be Robert William, the flight purser? Perhaps it was Beulah Vala, Ickey’s blind personal assistant, or Bacon Urizen, his lawyer? Or could it have been the plastic surgeon, Doctor Bromion Ulro? The business manager, Tharmas Luvah? Or, perhaps, Adam Ghostflea, Ikey’s chauffeur?

Why would any member of Ickey’s coterie murder the poet? And why would Ickey commit suicide when it seemed as if he had finally reached the apex of his creativity?


Although inundated with references to William Blake’s poetry, words of wisdom, paintings, and drawings, the author of this philosophical murder mystery asserts that any familiarity with Blake is not necessary for readers of this delightful tale. And, although the author ascribes Blake’s musings to Ickey Jerusalem, the wandering metaphysical concepts may be just a tad confusing for those who have yet to meet Blake.

Ickey’s retinue is as unusual as the names they bear; their nonplussed attitudes belie the inventiveness of this madcap tale. With strong [albeit a tad comical] characters and a plot that only slowly reveals its secrets, readers who enjoy untangling the mystery before the big reveal will find much to appreciate here.

At times, the narrative tumbles into absurdity; the compelling metaphysical aspects often elicit chuckles. But the plot is clever; with its healthy dose of humor, this tightly-woven mystery is sure to keep readers guessing . . . and the denouement doesn’t disappoint.


I received a free copy of this eBook from Galbraith Literary Publishers and NetGalley
#WhoKilledJerusalem #NetGalley

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Entertaining mystery, with an out of body experience :-)
Full Murder in Common review here:


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Who Killed Jerusalem?
By George Albert Brown

This is a very strange book: from the characters' names to the metaphysical theories, the story is at times funny, at times engaging, and at times totally confusing. It is a murder mystery – if the reader can follow the plot line.

The protagonist is an insurance adjuster named Ded (Dedaelus) Smith. His own story is enough to confuse the reader right from the beginning. He is sort of a lost soul trying to find himself, since his divorce from his wife Harriet. Since his divorce, he has spent virtually all of his time flying from job to job and has built up his relationship with policemen while working out whether insurance claims should be paid.

Ded is on a plane to San Francisco, when a dead body is found in one of the plane's toilets. The detective called in happens to be a friend who asks Ded to sit in on the interviews of passengers. Thus the plot begins.

The deceased is one Ickey Jerusalem, the self-described "Poet Laureate" of San Francisco. What is initially believed to be a suicide turns into a murder investigation. Who killed Jerusalem? His lover, blind Beulah Vala; his chauffeur, Adam Ghostflea; Tharmas Luvah, his business manager; Bacon Urizon, his lawyer; Dr.Bromion Ulro, a physician; Robert N. William, the flight purser – or is it someone else?

As you can see by the names, this is NOT your everyday murder mystery. I found this book confusing, sometimes bogged down in nonsensical quasi-religious theories – and yet I found myself hanging in until the very end. The Agatha Christie type ending – where the detective wraps it all up – makes the read worthwhile.

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If Hercule Poirot was investigating the events of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, this would be the book a stoned Agatha Christie would write. Ded Smith is a sad sack insurance claims investigator whose reputation for getting to the truth of things pulls him into the drama of who killed Ickey Jerusalem right from the moment Ickey is found dead in the first-class bathroom in his flight to San Francisco. He gets pulled in deeper when it is found that Ickey recently took out a multimillion-dollar policy with his insurance company. This is a quirky and at times bizarre read which interweaves the poetry, art, and philosophy of William Blake with a locked-room mile-high club murder mystery. The cast of characters in 1977 San Francisco is as colorful as you can possibly imagine. It was a challenging and long read with lots of dialogue that needed some chewing to get through. While humorous at times, I sense the humor is more suited to the male species (do guys really compare randomly encountered objects to the shape of sperm that much???).

Like Poirot, Ded Smith uses his brilliant grey cells to get to the bottom of things without telling the reader exactly where he is going with his thoughts along the way. If you persist, the payout at the end as Ded unravels everyone's secrets and delivers the ultimate reveal. I don't think you need to know much about William Blake to enjoy this story. A quick Wikipedia read of Blake's bio is a nice supplement. Sure, there are probably lots of intricacies a Blake fan will appreciate all the more, but just read and go with the flow.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars because I appreciate the author's artful and quirky cleverness.

Thank you to Galbraith Literary Publishers and #NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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Icky Jerusalem is found suffocated in the restroom of a 747! Could this have been a suicide? He seemed to be a little distraught with his decision to cease his life’s work of crafting metaphysical poetry, but would that have caused him to commit suicide?

Being a poet laureate is a daunting responsibility. How does one continue to write prose when the karmic juices are not flowing? Ah, but there are certainly distractions in life that can fill the creative voids. One is the lovely Beulah who had been a professional female wrestler prior to developing hysterical blindness.

Ded Smith is an Insurance Adjuster whose primary goal is to ferret out insurance claims that are suspect or fraudulent. A $20 million dollar insurance policy was taken out just prior to Icky’s death, but Icky had a reputed fortune of nearly $350 million.

Twists and turns abound in this frolic of San Francisco lifestyle. So much to deduce within this novel that waxes metaphysical contemplation or argument amid the prose. I am glad the author brings it to a satisfactory conclusion but it could be considered overly long to do so. 3.5 stars – CE Williams

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This is one of the craziest, fascinating, and entertaining book i read in a long time. A book that talks about the investigation about a poet who is writing Blake's poems in the XXI century.
If this is not weird enough the investigatore is even crazier.
I read a lot of mystery, any type of mystery but this was one of a kind.
And I had fun and enjoyed it.
It's a sort of marmite book and the pre-requisite is to have read Blake,
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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This book has a very long and mostly correct title. I need to get that out of the way, because it really is in he way. I haven't read any William Blake, so I can't tell if those characters are these characters. The names are beyond real. I mean, the main victim is called Ickey. That's a shortening of Icarus, but still. The detective is named Ded Smith. I can't go through the other character's names or we'd be here all week.
This is a murder mystery. Someone killed Ickey and made it look sort of look suicide. The possible killers are a very small group because the death happened on a plane.
Ah, the drug soaked 60's and 70's in San Francisco. I was there then. Parts of the city looked normal and possibly were. But there was an undercurrent of strangeness all around. Even grocery stores burned incense. This book rakes that strangeness and doubles down on it.
Ded is an insurance claims adjuster. He is mostly involved because his company wrote a $2,000,000 policy, payable to Ickey's girlfriend. There is an out if Ickey did commit suicide. Ded has been called in to prove Ickey killed himself. It was just a coincident that Ded was on the plane where and when Ickey died.
There are lots of things that just sort of happened. Ded goes to a very surrealistic funeral where he meet an even odder group of people than he is already involved with. Ickey's inner circle is beyond strange and a little disagreeable. If I were to give you the 411 on these people, this review would be just as long as the book and that is 560 pages.
Ded, in spite of the strange characters and the psychotropic atmosphere, solves the case. I'm not all that sure how he came to his solution. He pulls one of those drawing room gatherings of all suspects, a la Agatha Christy, and goes through why each suspect could have done the deed and how before excusing them with a "you didn't do it anyway". His final suspect confesses after Ded's version of events is explained.
This book felt to me to be a throwback to many novels written during the 70's on the psychedelic style. It doesn't need close examination. In fact, paying to much attention to the meat of the story will confuse you even more. Just go with the flow and let the words take you where they want to go, and the tale will weave a very calming spell on you. It's a trip.

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I know nothing about William Blake and even still I loved this book. I guess if you were familiar with Blake there would be another level of understanding and experience.

Holy Moly--the characters in this story! Such an odd assortment--I would love to see how Mr. Brown's mind works to come up with this bunch! At the top of the list is Ded Smith. I'm not going to say much about what he does because that would be giving too much away. Suffice it to say, he's astute, wise, greatly influenced by philosophy with particular interest in Plato. All this leads him to astonishing conclusions.

And there are so many twists and turns that Brown had me guessing the entire way through. When I thought I had it figured out, there was a sharp twist in another direction. This is one of those books that you have to stay with to the very end because you want to know what happens!

This was my first George Brown book. I'm looking forward to more.

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This was the most fun I have had with a mystery book ever! The book is loosely based on William Blake's poetry, characters and ideas... fortunately you do not have to be familiar with any of Blake's work to love this book. If anything it opens the world of poetry in an accessible manner so that maybe more people will learn to love epic poetry and romantic era classics. The book centers on the mysterious death of San Francisco Poet Ickey Jerusalem and his wild and crazy group of cohorts. An insurance adjuster, Ded Smith who is known as Dr. Death for his uncanny ability to determine cause of death and solve murders, is on board the flight when Jerusalem is found dead. He is initially asked to help the police with interviewing the suspects as a friendly courtesy, but when it is discovered that Ickey took out a life insurance policy a month before his death, Ded is called in to rule if the case a suicide or murder in an official capacity. While he investigates each of the suspects and the crime itself, he finds himself caught up in a web of philosophy, intrigue and murder. The poet not only collected delightfully weird friends the stand out on the page; he had seemed to develop strange ideas on life and existence in general. I can honestly say the author had me guessing until the end who the killer was, while at the same time weaving so much philosophical information and poetry that I found my self in awe of how he tied all of it together. This is a truly magical and unique book that will take readers on an epic journey.

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This was a quirky and unique read. it may not appeal to everyone, but i enjoyed it.
Many thanks to Galbraith Literary Publishers and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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