Man with dark hair and graying temples

Laurence Bricker interview

Tuesday, June 14, 2022 – 4:37 p.m.

Laurence Bricker is a professor at the University of Mississippi and was a colleague of Douglas Reed.

Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him in his office on the University of Mississippi campus.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Detective E. Parker
  • Laurence Bricker

Detective Murphy: Can you please state your name and address for the record?

Laurence Bricker: Laurence Bricker. 1424 South Lamar, Oxford.

Detective Murphy: Enjoying the conference?

Laurence Bricker: Tolstoy was a writer worthy of study. Faulkner, not so much.

Detective Murphy: The mighty Doug Reed would have disagreed.

Laurence Bricker: Speaking of overrated.

Detective Murphy: How do you think his death will change the shape of the English department?

Laurence Bricker: The university will probably hire another flash-in-the-pan.

Detective Parker: People have described Reed as brilliant.

Laurence Bricker: He might have been if he applied himself. He was one of those individuals who believed academics was something you shoehorned in between parties and dalliances.

Detective Murphy: We had a detective like that. Thought police work should play second fiddle to his work with community theater. He's no longer with the department, thank goodness.

Detective Parker: He closed some significant investigations.

Detective Murphy: Just imagine what he could have accomplished if he'd applied himself. I apologize for the digression, professor. Earlier today, I reviewed some old case files to prepare for court.

Laurence Bricker: I understand.

Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Dr. Reed alive?

Laurence Bricker: Sunday evening at Rowan Oak.

Detective Murphy: What did you two talk about?

Laurence Bricker: As always, we spoke as little as possible.

Detective Murphy: I understand the policy.

Laurence Bricker: You know who I always pitied? Monte Marcos.

Detective Parker: Who's that?

Laurence Bricker: He was Reed's graduate student, and as such, probably had to spend more time than anyone else with Reed. I'm sure Reed expected to be worshiped.

Detective Murphy: That must have been unpleasant. This detective I was talking about, he used to send the work-study student—a student majoring in criminal justice—out to fetch lunch.

Laurence Bricker: Unfortunately, there are professors at this institution who will do just about anything.

Detective Parker: Did you ever hear Marcos complain about mistreatment?

Laurence Bricker: Just because I didn't hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Detective Parker: Doesn't mean it did.

Laurence Bricker: Your point is valid. I'm only expressing my educated opinion.

Detective Parker: Were you jealous of Doug Reed?

Laurence Bricker: I admired his potential. I felt he frittered away his mind and applied himself to frivolities.

Detective Parker: Did others in the department agree with your assessment?

Laurence Bricker: Detective, I have better things to do than sit around venting. I couldn't care less what others thought of Reed.

Detective Parker: I imagine that would change if the rising star rose above you. Was Doug Reed next in line for department chair?

Laurence Bricker: I should hope not.

Detective Parker: What would you do if you learned he would soon be your boss?

Laurence Bricker: I'm … speechless. Are you saying that was a possibility?

Detective Parker: I was just asking.

Detective Murphy: This disturbing behavior of Reed's, who else did it bother, on-campus or off?

Laurence Bricker: I wouldn't know. Everybody?

Detective Murphy: I imagine he made enemies. I know our guy did. Who would you say gained the most satisfaction from his death?

Laurence Bricker: As I said, Monte must be relieved. So too, every female at the university. Even if they didn't fear having to deal with his attentions, he must have generated some level of disquiet. And if he had been made chair? There would have been no end to him.

Detective Murphy: Even department chairs can be killed.

Detective Parker: What part did you play in this conference?

Laurence Bricker: Little to none. I sat in on committees, of course. That's what we do when we're not teaching, but I put my mind elsewhere, mentally reviewing the novels of Tolstoy, looking for sections that offer new avenues of research. It keeps me from thinking my time is being wasted when, in fact, it was.

Detective Murphy: I assume you had to attend.

Laurence Bricker: My absence would have been noted. I did all the Sunday things I was supposed to, and then skipped out of the insufferable dinner at Rowan Oak after I was certain I'd been seen by all the right people.

Detective Parker: What time did you leave?

Laurence Bricker: Quarter past 6:00 p.m. at the latest. I've become a master of appearing to be present. Then I rushed home to allow Tolstoy to flush the day from my memory.

Detective Murphy: Can anybody verify that?

Laurence Bricker: While Tolstoy must remain mute, my wife, Margaret, would have had quite a lot to say if I'd left the house before 9:00 the next morning.

Detective Parker: Does the fact that you weren't a key player in organizing the conference mean you're going to come out smelling like roses? A colleague might have been murdered, but it wasn't your show?

Laurence Bricker: You don't understand academia. Nobody's ever at fault. Things are more convenient that way. This batch of students will eventually graduate, packing their experiences along with their bags, and a new collection of fresh faces will knock on the door to gain admittance. There's always a new batch. People need an education if they're going to get ahead.

Detective Murphy: Sweep the dirt under the rug, and wait for the student to roll up the rug on the way out.

Laurence Bricker: Exactly. Meanwhile, my research continues.

Detective Parker: Who do you think killed Doug Reed?

Laurence Bricker: I don't know the details, of course, but when I heard he'd been shot, my first thought was he'd gotten involved with the wrong woman.

Detective Parker: Do you mean the killer was a woman or the woman's partner?

Laurence Bricker: Does it really matter?

Detective Parker: It does to us. We'll be arresting the killer.

Laurence Bricker: In the end, Doug was the seed of his own destruction. Do you require anything else? Other matters demand my attention.

Detective Murphy: If we have any further questions, we'll be in touch.

Interview ended – 4:58 p.m.


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