The Noir of the Rings
If Raymond Chandler had written The Lord of the Rings, it might have gone something like this……….
The story begins with a funeral, and the reading of a will. General William Baggins is dead, and has bequeathed his entire estate to his adopted son Freddy – with one condition. In his youth and before his rise to respectability, William Baggins was something of a thief, and he wants his son to return one item in particular to it’s rightful owner; a ring.
Freddy enlists the help of Alf Grand, private investigator, and he discovers that the ring was owned by Sour Ron, the Eastside gangland boss. For reasons of his own Alf agrees to help Freddy in his quest to return the ring. He hangs around to make enquiries while Freddy sets off with Sam “the Man” Gamgee, and Pip & Merry Thurgood, a couple of two-bit hustlers.
Meanwhile, Sour Ron has heard that the Ring has resurfaced after believing it missing and long gone. This is one item that can link him with a particularly violent heist several years ago – it bears the makers’ hallmark and an inscription he added later that says “One Ron to Rule them All”. Were it to fall into the wrong hands (the cops, or worse still, the hands of other gang leaders who could use it as leverage), his days of freedom would be over. He despatches several thugs to retrieve the ring and make sure there’s no witnesses.
Freddy & co start to feel the heat pretty quickly, and end up on the run. They make it to the Pony, a speakeasy run by Barliman, a known snitch for the police. While there they meet up with Harry Gorn, an old friend of Alf Grand and handy guy to have on your side in a fight. He proves his worth at Wind Hill where he manages to drive off several of Sour Ron’s heavies – but not before Freddy takes a bullet!
Here endeth Book I.