The Rupert Murdoch hacking scandal veered into pulp novel territory Monday when a whistleblower was found dead - and a laptop belonging to the mogul's flame-haired lieutenant was discovered in a trash bin.
The global media bigwig and one of his sons will appear before the British Parliament Tuesday to face the wrath of politicians emboldened by the scandal threatening his empire.
GET A HANDLE ON THE SCANDAL: THE KEY PLAYERS
Murdoch's very grip on the company he founded could be at stake: News Corp. execs are reportedly considering replacing him as CEO with Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey - a move considered unthinkable just days ago.
It all depends on how well the mercurial 80-year-old does Tuesday - and, Bloomberg News reported Monday night that company execs were "concerned" after watching Murdoch's rehearsal.
But an Associated Press report quoted one News Corp. exec, Thomas Perkins, as denying the board is considering ousting Murdoch.
The Murdoch report came after a day of increasingly bizarre developments.
Internet hackers took over the website of The Sun newspaper, posting a fake story announcing Murdoch's death.
The group claimed to have accessed the News of the World and Sun email systems - hacking the hackers - and promised to reveal dirt today.
Earlier, Sean Hoare - a hard-partying former showbiz reporter for News of the World who had ratted out his boss - was found dead in his home of what appeared to be natural causes, police said.
Hoare had accused former editor Andy Coulson - who later became the prime minister's spokesman - of ordering reporters to hack into voice mails and commit other crimes.
Coulson was arrested July 8.
Hoare was in poor health after spending years snorting cocaine with rock stars, the Guardian reported.
Rebekah Brooks was hauled in by police on Sunday. (Sang Tan/AP)
Monday night, police were examining a laptop and phone found in a bag thrown into a garbage can in an underground garage near the London home of Murdoch protege Rebekah Brooks.
Brooks' husband told reporters the items were his and unconnected to the hacking probe. He tried to get the bag back from the garage security guard who had found it, but could not prove it was his, the Guardian said. Cops seized the items and were looking at security camera footage to see who had dumped them.