The Chain of Lacodere


THE CHAIN OF LACODERE is a trophy necklace presented by Louisiana Lacodere Parish to an outstanding athlete. This intriguing mystery story is about those who have worn this prestigious gold necklace with its dark foreboding consequences.
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THE CHAIN OF LACODERE is a trophy necklace presented by Louisiana Lacodere Parish to an outstanding athlete. This intriguing mystery story is about those who have worn this prestigious gold necklace with its dark foreboding consequences.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477244111
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 7/26/2012
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,408,468
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Copyright © 2012 R.G. Sommer
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4772-4411-1

Chapter One

It was close to the midnight hour when Father Kevin O'Shea placed his book on the desk, walked over to his window, pushed aside the soiled curtain, and gazed into the starry heavens, admiring the twinkling jewels that surrounded the moon in all its majestic glory.

His eyes focused themselves in the direction of the Novitiate building beyond the main Abbey, and he thought to himself how wonderful it was to be able to sleep with a deep restfulness like the thirteen novices who made up the nearly closing Novitiate year. He thought of his own Novitiate made in that very same building nineteen years previous. His hand released the curtain as it closed the scene, and slowly he walked to his desk. His heart was heavy and sad. Nothing seemed to matter to him now. His priestly duties failed to have the appeal and zeal of former years. His mind was obsessed with the past. A past that knew very little joy and contentment. There was a void within his breast that yearned to be filled ... filled with the happiness that should be in the breast of a priest so learned and highly regarded in the Benedictine Order.

Father Kevin's desk was a literary mess. Papers of recent examinations given, but not corrected, books on various problems of psychology, notes taken in his own studies made so many years ago. He picked up several sheets of examination papers only to toss them back on the desk with utter disinterestedness. He walked over to his combination radio-phonograph and turned the switch. Within a few moments, the strains that yielded the immortal Debussy love song usurped his mind. He returned to his desk and sat down. How many times he listened to Clair de Lune that night he wasn't able to determine. Each time, though, he thought his heart would burst, and it was with manly restraint he pushed back the tears that would surely flow unless checked. This time, the music was too much for him to bear. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed like a child. A certain release of this inward sorrow often managed to clear the mind and enable one to regain lost ideals, but to Father Kevin, no such release rewarded him.

His mind wandered back to his boyhood days; days filled with much happiness and all the bliss that comes to youth; days that admitted little of responsibility, less of moral burdens. He was only recalled back to the realities of his cell and its monastic surroundings when he would lift his head from the nest-like rest of his hands and look about him and fasten his eyes on the many papers to be corrected.

There wasn't too grave a difference between May 29th, 1946 and the same month and day twenty years past. The locality was now Georgia, while in 1926, it was Lacodere, Louisiana. He was now a priest in the Abbey of Cassino under the Rule of Saint Benedict. Then, too, a great World's War was fought and won by the United Nations that wasn't even heard of in 1926. He, in those days, wondered if Al Capone would be caught and apprehended along with his many cohorts of those wild Twenties. He was busy then, with the same thoughts that many seventeen year olds in 1946 entertained. In 1926, he was the pride of Lacodere Prep and the apple of the Hesuitical eyes of the institution. In 1946, he was the professor of Psychology and newly appointed Dean of Men at Cassino College in the heart of the peach country of Georgia.

Yes, Father Kevin had much to be thankful for in 1946, and in that very same year had a great deal more to divorce from his mind if he was to be the success all the Abbey's faculty thought he should be. Even tonight, the twentieth anniversary of his high school graduation, he must start to forget all that preceded and look in the direction of the future for that ray of hope and consolation that comes through the veins of activity and the avenues of diligent labor. He must forget Madeline Turrell forever. He must break the recording of Debussy's classic. The strains of sadness that usurp one's soul while listening to "de Lune" must be forever purged from within by new thoughts, clean and healthy thoughts, thoughts that make one awaken in the early morn with situations to conquer, mountains made into little hills for those tired limbs to climb with ease, studies made simple only through clear lectures, love to find its way into the heart where hate finds contentment only for the belligerent. All this Father Kevin must do for his own betterment and for the many young men who will look upon him as their guide and Father-Director. Therefore, he must put aside his own grief and past misgivings to supplant in his own Irish heart the happiness that must be always apparent on the glowing countenance of one who is free, yes, free from the shackles of those days in 1926 and the more horrible nightmare of 1944.

The present is the best time in the world for reconversion. After a rest throughout the summer to follow, he will find the fall filled with important appointments—new faces in his psychology classes—new students to enroll in the preparatory department of the College, and the usual run of freshmen with their "know-it-all" expressions in speech classes.

Why not dry up those tears and prepare for the great advent of tomorrow, wherein lies new hopes, new loves, greater zeal, and look with determination into the prospectus of tomorrow with the ointment of salvation for the many students who will look to him for the encouragement so vital in an age of uncertain scopes?

Why not close the pages of yesterday forever, place the thoughts of Madeline in the void of oblivion—the grotesque horrors of that siege on the beach of Peleliu in the history of that September 15th? But, no, he wanted to recall the smiles and joys and laughter of his own Novitiate. He wanted very much to relive these decades, if only for tonight. He wanted to remember September of 1941. Yes, there were sad days intermingled with the joyous ones. Tonight he would take a trip back and recount the time spent. Tomorrow it would be over—his passion, scourge, crown and death, with his resurrection, a new and different Father Kevin would emerge forth to tackle tomorrow's problems tomorrow. But, for tonight, he must sit back and think.

Father Kevin got up from his seat and turned the switch that silenced Clair de Lune. He returned to his easy chair in the corner of his cell and sat down to prepare for a nocturnal reminiscence. One last gesture—he slipped his hand between his tunic and shirt, unfastened the clip, and released the Chain of Lacodere from around his neck. It fell gently into the palm of his hand. He closed his hand tightly around the gold chain and medal, leaned back in his chair, adjusted his head on the uppermost leather cushion-back, and closed his eyes—to think!

Chapter Two

September 18, 1909, was a happy one for Timothy Patrick O'Shea. During his noon meal, the nurse called from the hospital to announce that he was the father of an eight pound baby boy. She wasn't able to determine who the boy resembled or what features he possessed, because she was very busy at the time, and if the father of a newborn baby was really interested, he could come to the hospital and see for himself.

The birth of little Timothy, (he was baptized just two weeks after the eighteenth and given his father's name) left Margaret O'Shea in poor health. Doctors advised Big Tim to move to the South—perhaps Florida or California as the damp climate of Seattle, Washington was anything but healthy for Mrs. O'Shea.

It was a hardship for Tim to leave Seattle. He lived in the great Northwest for nearly five years. An occasional trip back to Alaska to visit the scene of his acquired fortune was his only leave of absence. To move South would probably make him forget the snow and ice he loved so much in the desolate Klondike region around Nome. But, if the doctors wanted Margaret to go South, well, South they'd certainly go.

In October of 1910, the big and roomy house on Fontaine Street in Lacodere, Louisiana, finally saw its completion. Margaret designed the whole house according to her own tastes. It was the year that her sister, Elizabeth, came to live with them from Ireland. Big Tim sunk quite a sum of money in this large stone house. It was easily the biggest place the native of that southern town had ever seen. He bought anything and everything Margaret wanted. If she desired some rare piece of furniture manufactured in the Chicago area, he'd be off to get it, remembering to pick up something on the way he thought she'd like. If he couldn't get what she suggested in Memphis, he'd take a trip to New Orleans. Often he and Elizabeth would leave Margaret and the baby and take a jaunt to New York City or Boston in quest of chinaware or rugs or silver pieces. Big Tim thought the world of Elizabeth and confided his business deals and personal ailments to her understanding confidence.

Despite the wonderful treatment Margaret received for some unknown reason, she never really recovered from giving birth to Timmy. In the afternoons, she would retire to her room to rest. In the evenings, after the supper hour, Margaret would read or write letters to friends in Ireland. She spent little time with young Timmy. All the duties and cares of the child were left to Elizabeth or the servants. She loved the baby well enough, but it was he who caused her to lose all sense of duty. She just wasn't the same sweet Margaret Big Tim married in Killashander that lovely May morning in 1891.

At the suggestion of Doctor Jereau, the newly acquired family physician, they should take a long vacation to Europe and leave Timmy in the faithful hands of Elizabeth. This met with two-fold agreement. Big Tim could return to Erin after so many years of absence, and Margaret could see those many friends she corresponded with each evening she spent at her desk in the library. It was mutually agreed that the trip would be made in the Spring of 1911, and they would sail from Boston's harbor in early May. Leisure trips to New York could be planned so as to make the necessary wardrobe purchases and little gifts for all their Celtic friends procured at the numberless stores in the East. There was a marked improvement in Margaret's outlook after the plans were formulated and settled upon. She completely forgot about Timmy and Elizabeth. She regained strength to visit New Orleans more often. Sunday Mass as taken in with religious fervor, whereas before, she was either too ill or too tired to dress so early on Sunday morning. Or, maybe she wanted to get back into the swing of things Catholic so she wouldn't shock the relatives on the Ole Sod.

Timmy was growing into a beautiful child. When Elizabeth would take him for an outing in the carriage, people would stop to admire his beauty. He never cried when people would pinch his fat little cheeks. He seemed to enjoy the attention. It was sort of a precaution that he remain in his buggy, because he was able now to walk a little, or, at least, operate a kiddy-car. He learned to say "Liz" before "mama," but this didn't bother Margaret. She was glad of the shifted responsibility. If Elizabeth took delight in taking Timmy to church in the mid-afternoons, it was perfectly agreeable with Margaret.

As the months rolled along, the day of departure arrived. Both Big Tim and Margaret were ready. They were ready weeks before the date was set. Timmy didn't cry when his mother bent low to kiss his cheek—Elizabeth did enough crying for both. There seemed to be a glow of happiness in Margaret's every expression. Her orders to Elizabeth were simple. She could do whatever she pleased. There was no need to render instructions concerning Timmy. All the past year, she was his constant companion, nurse and mother. In fact, she was happy to have him stay with her rather than make the journey across the ocean with his parents. Big Tim gave a few financial instructions and in a laughing gesture, told her there was enough money in the bank to take care of her needs the rest of her life, that is, if she didn't live more than fifty years longer.

They were off! Last goodbyes, kisses and tears were soon an echo of the mind and a pressure too hastily passed along. Elizabeth saw Big Tim's smile for the last time as he waved from the carriage and ordered the driver to hurry along. Little did they realize their second honeymoon was to end in disaster.

Christmas arrived in Lacodere with Easter following in early April. Timmy was growing into a fine little lad of nearly three. He could carry on, in his own little way, a conversation that consisted mainly of questions. His "Auntie Liz" patiently answered all his inquiries. She never tired of Timmy, yet, she couldn't be held guilty of spoiling him. In the afternoon walks, they would make a visit to the Benedictine Church where young Father Joseph could be seen making the Stations of the Cross.

Timmy like Father Joseph. He would lift him high in the air and pretend to leave him suspended only to release him when the boy would scream with laughter and ask for a second and third lift to the heavens. The big German priest often held Timmy close to his chest and carried him to the side altar where together they would touch the burning taper to every vigil lamp before the shrine of the Virgin Mary, and never insert a coin in the container. This made the child very happy. His little eyes would beam as he watched the blue, red and yellow lamps flicker. But Auntie Liz remained in the pew at the rear of the Church praying for her little nephew and her sister and Big Tim. She had received very few letters since they departed. Did they plan to remain in Ireland another year? Certainly nine months away in Europe was enough vacation and rest.

It was the ring of the postman that made Silba rush to answer the door in March, 1912. When she opened the door the fragrance of early magnolias greeted her. It was late in the month, and was the first letter in several weeks Elizabeth had received from Ireland. When Silba returned to the kitchen to finish the dishes and laugh and play with Masta Timmy, Elizabeth went out on the sun-porch to read Margaret's short note. She hesitated and reread the paragraph that mentioned their return:

"Tim has reservations of some description on the wonderful ship called The Titanic. I'm so thrilled about sailing on this magnificent ship. It's her maiden Voyage, and Tim was so fortunate to get space assigned. We'll be home around the end of September. Timmy must be a very big boy, and I hope he's been a good boy since his mommy left. Miss you very much. Kiss my baby for me."

When Elizabeth told Timmy his mother was coming home, he showed little emotion. He looked at his Auntie Liz in a strange way. Their little vacation would soon be over. His years wouldn't permit him to rationalize in the direction of any other possibility. Had he but known that this was only the start of his real life in Lacodere, Louisiana.

Much preparation was in order about the O'Shea household. Jordan, the colored houseman, gardener, chauffeur, and story-teller must renew his efforts to have everything in readiness for the return of the travelers. Silba would start that very day to give the house a thorough going-over. Time would fly with all hands working diligently, all with the exception of Timmy's. He wouldn't cooperate under any plea or stress.

Chapter Three

The last couple left the living room of the O'Shea house. All had expressed deepest sorrow that Margaret and Big Tim went down with the ship the builders had promised "even God couldn't sink." Old Mrs. Turrel, who did the shirts and fine linen, came to offer sympathy and condolences. She had her only child, little Madeline, by the hand, now a big girl for two years, and with long, silken-like, coal-black hair. She was an unruly child, due perhaps because her father wasn't around to administer the strap when occasion demanded. Madeline's father was killed in Memphis only three months previous to the great sea disaster, when the Rock Island's freight train pinned him between two cars. Mrs. Turrel had her hands full with little Madeline, and a recent cough the old lady developed seemed to hinder her from doing as much laundry as she should to provide substantially for herself and child.

The ever-talkative village plumber was there to tell everyone about the headlines which boldly retold what was on the lips of all the nation. The ship was cursed. Why should an iceberg appear when no previous report was noted? Other ships had crossed that very route only a few hours before and certainly would have given a warning signal. What could have been in the mind of the ship's master with such a notable passenger list? He was accused of being drunk and had abandoned his post. But then, lots of people make as many accusations about others with little or no foundation or basis for proof. Indeed, sorrow reigned throughout Europe and America. It found a path to the heart of Elizabeth, the new mistress of the house on Fontaine Street. But, for Timmy there was no understanding of the tears that fell for days after. All he could manage was a pained expression because his auntie was sad.


Excerpted from THE CHAIN OF LACODERE by R.G. SOMMER Copyright © 2012 by R.G. Sommer. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Written in a style popular a half a century ago, this delightful

    Written in a style popular a half a century ago, this delightful book offers the reader a captivating story partly based on religious life. Catholics over 55 would really enjoy the many references to religious congregations, events and culture. A definite page turner! I started reading the book on a flight from Miami to Toronto and read half of it by the time we landed.

    While some may find the style and content outdated, I found it refreshing in that the writing and the story lines are clean, mature and without superfluous information. Although literary in style, the story is told in a very lyrical fashion and flows extremely well. A must read for mature folks!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    It was truly delightful and fun to read.  It was difficult to pu

    It was truly delightful and fun to read.  It was difficult to put down once you get into it. Will there be a sequel ? I'm sure it would be most interesting!!

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