Best of luck to anyone who tries to decipher this novel

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Who Killed Jerusalem? by George Albert Brown 576 pages

How could I resist a novel whose main characters are Ickey Jerusalem and Ded Smith? Especially with this elevator pitch: “A rollicking murder mystery based on William Blake’s characters & ideas updated to 1970s San Francisco.” You’re right; I couldn’t. But what made me think that I would, all of a sudden, understand and adore Blake since I could do neither of those things when I was in college twenty-five years ago? What I was thinking! Unless it was the characters’ names, the setting is one of my favorite cities and I won the book from

Here's what synopsis from Amazon:

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?

I loved Chapter One, in which author Brown drops us right into the middle of the action. Ickey died a gruesome death there in the plane’s bathroom. But by Page 5, I was so lost I found myself reading words and wondering WTH?

And I will admit to reading every blast word of this 576-page tome and only understanding about a fifth of it. Afterwards, I jumped on Amazon and perused the review section. This is what I wanted the book to be, from a review by Maddogish:

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.

But all I got was a series of headaches, a lot of re-rereading, so much that it took almost a month for me to get through this novel. Best of luck to anyone who tries to decipher this novel. Who Killed Jerusalem? receives 2 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.