Murder at SJU PDF download by Thomas Edward Trisko

Murder at SJU

Civitas Publications
Publication date: April 2012
Digital Book format: PDF (DRM-Free)


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"Murder at SJU" is an adult gay male mystery and romance novel. A Saint John's University college student, Mark Swan, is murdered in 1968 on the campus of SJU and its parent Benedictine Abbey. The campus is set amongst acres of its own lakes and forest in central Minnesota. Mark's murder is investigated by his male lover, David White, forty years later. The investigation leads to a murderer more powerful than David could imagine. Along the way the reader experiences the sweet but closeted relationship in the Sixties between Mark and David plus the sophisticated, humorous, mature relationship of David and his partner Christian in the 21st Century. Note: This novel contains explicit sex scenes between David and Mark as well as David and Christian.

Opening Paragraphs:

Chapter I Old Loves Never Die

The basement columbarium was dimly lit. As I squinted at the carved names on the walls, there was a soft footstep behind me. Before I could turn I felt strong arms encircle my chest and squeeze. Then came a kiss on my neck. I tried to jerk away with images of Dracula flooding my brain. The arms tightened and the left one moved to my right breast while the right slid down to my crotch and began rubbing and squeezing. I began to relax into it. He turned me around and we kissed deeply as we worked on our belts, flies, and under shorts. He wore bikini briefs and I suddenly felt inappropriate in my cotton boxers. Not to worry, he just pulled them down and got to work where it counts. It wasn’t easy muffling my moans of pleasure. He barely tried to muffle his. When it was over, we were both on the marble floor leaning against the niches.

“That was risky,” I whispered as I stood to pull up my pants.

“You loved it.”

“Yeah, I did,” I mumbled into the shadows.

“Besides, there’s no one here yet. The funeral won’t start for another hour.”

“I know, but I wanted to find Mark’s niche and leave this flower,” I said as I picked the rose up from the floor where I had dropped it in the heat of passion. “But I can barely read the inscriptions in this light.”

“I think I saw a dimmer switch by the stairs,” Christian said as he walked toward them. In an instant, the room was brightly illuminated by the recessed floods in the arched ceiling.

We both began looking for Mark’s name on the walls. After a couple minutes, I heard Christian say, “Here it is” from the next room. Sure enough, as if to confirm that a bad dream was actually reality, the inscription read

Mark Swan

That was all. How could the life of anyone so beautiful, so complex, so loving be reduced to those few carved characters on a wall in a basement? I felt a mild nausea grip the pit of my stomach. I knew (or at least thought I knew) the story of Mark’s life, both exterior and interior, better than anyone but Mark himself. The cold fact of his being dead, being here for over 39 years, still seemed impossible for someone with that sunny blond hair, playful blue eyes and romantic disposition toward me. My eyes began to tear up and Christian put his arm around my shoulders.

“You loved him very much, didn’t you, Davey?”


“They never did catch the shooter, did they?”

“No, the Stearns County Sheriff those days was a complete incompetent; a nice-guy politician. They didn’t have many shootings up there then. He didn’t have a clue how to proceed. Even today, that part makes me the angriest. Whoever he was, he got away with it!”

Christian reached out and felt the carvings with his fingers. “Have you been here before?” he asked.

“No, I’ve felt guilty about it, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to face this. I guess sub-consciously if I didn’t come here it was as if he were still alive somewhere. I only heard about his death when I tried to call him from Washington. He had already been cremated and put here, and I was in Georgetown living on a $200 monthly stipend, so I couldn’t have afforded to come back to Minnesota for the funeral anyway. I gave the Georgetown student chaplain $5.00 to say a mass for the repose of his soul. You know, one of those lugubrious requiem masses they did back then, where the priest wore black vestments and the choir sang that scary “Dies Irae”. I bawled through the whole thing. I suppose the chaplain thought it was an excessive reaction for a college friend. Those days we were all in deep closet, so I couldn’t tell him or anyone that Mark and I had been lovers.”

“Were you a couple like we’ve been for 35 years?”

“It was impossible to have our kind of relationship back then.”

I stuck the little plastic water vial with its single red rose to Mark’s stone with the little piece of clay the florist had given me for the purpose. I kissed his name.

“Let’s go out in the sunshine and walk around the grounds for a while before the funeral starts. This place is oppressive.”

“Sure, “he said.

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