TSoA: Chapter 29: Dark Girlfriend

Remember Stephanie Kovacs, Dark Mistress to puppet-of-The-Seven Shane Barrington?  Well, LaHaye and Phillips are on board with this description, calling Stephanie

…the mistress of one of the world’s most powerful media magnates.

I suppose, like TV Tropes, they see the word “mistress” as far more dirty than the word for what Stephanie really is: girlfriend.  Seeing as how Stephanie is single and Shane has been divorced from Ambiguously-Gay-and-now-unambiguously-murdered Arthur’s mother for many years.

Shane assigns his girlfriend to cover the murder of Hank Baines, which is inexplicably being called “a random drive-by shooting.”  Stephanie’s initial report, which went out one full day after the actual shooting, “had once again given Barrington Network News the jump on all the competition.”


A report given one day after the event gave BNN the jump on everybody else?  Even the local TV news reporters, who could have been there in minutes and gotten footage of the emergency workers and, no doubt, an on-the-spot interview with Michael Murphy, who surely would have been sticking his face in every camera he could find and expounding on his Biblical theories about the shooting?

Okay, I could understand if Stephanie’s was the first in-depth, investigative report.  Perhaps The Seven could have told Shane some exclusive-but-false fact, something to make BNN stand out and simultaneously throw both reporters and officials off the scent.  But that’s not what we’re told here.

A mere forty-eight hours after the shooting, Hank is being buried, which seems super fast for the victim of a crime which is no doubt still being investigated.

Stephanie sets up “as close to the graveside as possible without upsetting the mourners too much.”  She sees plainclothes officers keeping an eye on everything, and Pastor Bob Wagoner giving the service, which seems odd because Hank’s wife and daughter were the ones who attended his church, not Hank.

Okay, maybe that doesn’t seem so odd, after all.

After the service, Stephanie starts to walk in the general direction of Hank’s wife.  Murphy, who never learned what a fake-out is, intercepts her to self-righteously expound on the press “hounding” people.


It is all as Stephanie planned.  She wanted to talk to Murphy in the first place, and knew just how to get him in front of her fastest: act as though she wasn’t interested in talking to him at all.

I know that statement analysis is not hard science, but it’s still kinda interesting to read Murphy’s responses while considering it.

“Professor Murphy, you were the last person to see Hank Baines alive, is that right?” [Stephanie asked]

“I was present when he tragically lost his life, yes,” he said.

WHO TALKS LIKE THAT??  This was a simple question, why not just give a simple answer?  Yes, he was the last person to see Hank alive.

“Would it be correct to say you were friends?”


See?  Simple answer to a simple question.  Was that really so hard?

Now, in all fairness to Murphy, Stephanie then spits out a rapid-fire series of questions, culminating with:

“Tell me, do you feel any sense of responsibility for his death?  Do you think it was appropriate for you to be here today?  Can you explain why your fingerprints were on a gun found at the scene?”

Well, at least the last question is an easy one to answer: “My fingerprints were on a gun because Hank was shot, so I grabbed his gun to shoot at the shooter.”

Plus, Talon was shooting at them with a sniper rifle, so there’s no way Murphy could ever be implicated in Hank’s death.

But let’s see how Murphy answers:

“I’ve come here to pay my respects to a fine man and a good friend.  I think it would be tasteless and inappropriate to speculate about the perpetrator of this tragedy at his graveside, don’t you?  I have given the police and FBI the fullest possible statement.  Perhaps you should ask them.  Thank you very much.”

Geez, Murph, a “no comment” would have sufficed.

Murph turns to stride away purposefully, but Stephanie has one last question to ask his retreating form, this one about his “clandestine expedition” to find Noah’s ark.

Ha-HA!!!  Zing, Murphy!

He tried not to looked [sic] fazed by the question.  “Like many archaeologists, I’ve been fascinated by stories of the ark since I was a boy,” he said.  “It would certainly be a great adventure to try and find it.  Now I’m afraid I have to go.”

Huh.  Well, Murph, I guess speculating about the cause of Hank’s death is tasteless and inappropriate, but speculating about great adventures by his grave is just peachy.

And wow, what a denial, eh?  Surely Stephanie’s viewers will now assume that Murphy is not planning a clandestine expedition after all, right?

Stephanie rocks.  I do so love when people make Murphy look like a fool.

Posted on January 20, 2013, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Obviously no real, true Christian would ever interfere with or try to make political capital out of a funeral… oh, wait… I don’t see them condemning the Westboro Baptists…

  2. A mere forty-eight hours after the shooting, Hank is being buried

    Ah, no. No no no. Unless . . . “It’s a CIA conspiracy!!!!!”

    Given the veracity of media news-reporting in the past two months, at least initially, I’d give the “drive-by shooting” a pass. But BARRINGTON News Netowrk?! Please. Let me see the Murdoch News Network first, and then I’d consider reconsidering.

    Good point, Ruby. Can a woman really be a mistress (using the “unfaithful” definition) if nobody is being cheated on, not even a little bit? Methinks not. I think the REAL point of calling her a “mistess” is to nail home what an awful, immoral godless heathen this Intrepid Reporter is. I mean, she comes up with a clever plan to get an interview with the surviving eyewitness and she did her homework enough to know (or make an educated guess) that he’s trying to find the Ark. . . . I only question her use of the word “clandestined.” Talon and Methuselah and the Seven obviously know about the quest; Sherri knows about it; the CIA can more than likely know about; Murphy’s students can probably guess what he’s up to given his propensity to leave the syllabus to lecture about his current pet projects; I think even the Dean knows or can guess . . . soooo, yeah. Not exactly clandestined.

    And hey, you’re on TV Tropes! Congrats, Ruby!

  3. I think ‘who’s the bastard that did this’ is a fair question to ask, even at a funeral. Obviously, Murphy isn’t all misty-eyed, so yeah, relevant question.

    Though if the Seven still want to find Murphy, I don’t know what involving him in an (they hope) unsolvable murder of a federal agent is supposed to do. Whether the police will suspect Murphy or not, he’s still the one and only witness, and I doubt they’re looking forward to him going to a remote part of Turkey far away from civilization.

  4. I suppose it’s too much to hope that a Christian novel about a quest for biblical history would ever use the phrase “fuck buddy”, but I can dream.

  5. …the mistress of one of the world’s most powerful media magnates.

    I prefer to think of her as the mistress of one of the most powerful media magnets. It makes about as much sense.

    Every time I read one of these, I am more and more drawn to writing Shane Barrington fanfic. And I don’t write fanfic.

  6. I do so love when people make Murphy look like a fool.

    This is Ruby’s oblique way of telling us she has a crush on Tim LaHaye.

  7. PS. “fazed” is correct – usually used as “unfazed by (apparently shocking event”.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, January 25th, 2013 « The Slacktiverse

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