Murder At Hamlet’s Castle:
Dora Benley has authored the 12th volume of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series, and they are still coming adding more volumes. In the future look for more adventures including upcoming Murder at Hamlet’s Castle. Edward and Dora are always looking for places to conceal the much sought after Lawrence maps. They have hidden them everywhere from the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, to the floorboards beneath the bedroom at Edward’s estate in the south of England, to Dora’s bedroom in Oakhurst outside Pittsburgh during the First World War, to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the Rose Tree Museum in Tombstone, Arizona, at Winston Churchill’s estate, Chartwell in Kent, in the tent at Petra in the Syrian desert while fighting with Lawrence of Arabia, and up Edward’s sleeve everywhere he goes as a Colonel in His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Why shouldn’t the much fabled maps be associated with Hamlet? Apparently in the bowels of Kronburg Castle in Helsingor, or Elsinore in the play, the Danish Prince constructed a vast storage area where he was storing military supply equipment and secret plans and maps for conquering the enemy named Fortinbras whom his father, the previous king of Denmark, was trying to defeat. The castle fell into ruins and very few people remembered the secret chamber. Winston Churchill chanced upon information about it in his researches to European history, and of course Hamlet was a real prince and not just the fictional creation of Shakespeare’s imagination.
So Dora and Edward decide to hide the Lawrence maps there thinking that no one will find them. But that was in the 1930’s. What happens when the Nazi overrun Denmark? Dora and Edward had better get those maps out of there quickly or there will be hell to pay for all of Europe and the civilized world. To be or not to be? They won’t get the chance when Hitler invades. They just won’t be and neither will Denmark.
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Latest Crazy Plot for Edward Ware Thrillers:
Try this plot on for size. Midsummer Dora and Edward leave the Desert Southwest, Cheops Books LLC Headquarters, and drive north through Wyoming to keep it cool. They might even stop at Yellowstone to let the coolness permeate everything before heading due east through Pittsburgh to visit Dora’s parents and onward to New York to board the ship. The ship takes them predictably to Southampton where they rent a car at the Southampton Airport for the next twenty-two days. The spies are onto them.
They visit all the tourist sites in the south of England from Bath to Dover. They make themselves look like tourists when they are secretly meeting with operatives. They make sure to have tea with Winston Churchill at his estate at Chartwell in Kent. Then they deceive everybody and make themselves hard to follow when at the very end of August they board a ship in Southampton that takes them to Gibraltar. They seem to be playing with the apes. Really at night they are signalling spies on the African Coast not far away in Morocco.
They hope nobody notices as they stop briefly at Cartegena in Spain and Valencia in Spain to meet with operatives while other tourists tour around and see the sights. Finally they disembark in Rome as the plot thickens.
Great works of art have been the repository of the Lawrence maps before. This time they visit the Bargello Gallery and deposit them in a secret niche carved in Bernini’s statue, Apollo and Daphne.
Quickly they hurry out of Rome on a train to Milan. They take the train from Milan to Paris, meeting Winston at the Ritz just to confuse any possible spies or pursuers. They make their way back to Britain and then America.
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Chapter 13: Wall Street Swastika: Putlitz to the Rescue
The German Embassy in London, otherwise known as Prussia House, seemed to be a seedbed of sedition and intrigue. They took up temporary residence at Winston’s London town house, Morpeth Mansions, to attempt to unravel what was going on. There was an uptick in activity there around the clock since the Wall Street Crash. That much was obvious.
After they had crashed the gambling party they had to be more cautious. No more would they be invited to the more Nazi-leaning events. They needed to find somebody who could slip in and out unimpeded and get information for them what the Nazis in London were up to, what their communications with Germany were like, and what was going to happen next so they could try to avert it or combat it.
Winston made a point of reaching out for contacts among his own contacts. He had the Prof down from Oxford to lunch one day. He suggested an old college chum of his name Putlitz. He had recently attended an Oxford alumnae event. Putlitz, an employee of the German Embassy in London, had been at the cocktail party. He had done nothing but complain about the rising power across the North Sea.
Winston, always a treasure trove of ideas, had another brilliant one. He summoned his wife, Clementine, down to London from the family estate at Chartwell in Kent. She was to arrange a dinner. The only guests were to be Colonel Sir Edward Ware, Mrs. Byrne, the Prof from Oxford, and this man from the German Embassy, su Putlitz. In other words, he invited only other members of the Lawrence map plot. He was clearly going to discuss business.
Putlitz shook his hand heartily and told Winston he had heard about him as a backbencher MP who almost all alone among the government and the British upper class was an enemy of the Nazis. Putlitz was dressed in the old style in a rather fussy fashion. He was a member of the German nobility, thus the “su” in his last name. He was from an old Prussian family with an estate in the country not far from Berlin, in fact situated about halfway between Hamburg and Berlin. He had always been proud to serve at the German Embassy since his family had much business and London and had spent much time there. He had a townhouse not far from Morpeth Mansions. But recently the German presence in England had been corrupted by Adolf Hitler, who was some sort of upstart from Austria who had appeared in Germany not long after the Great War. He had been imprisoned in Bavaria after the Putsch in 1923. Putlitz had thought he would never heard about the bastard again. And now here he was during the past few weeks creating an uproar all over Germany.
“Yes, and holding gambling events in the German Embassy in London of all things!” shuddered Clementine as she directed the server to present another glass of vintage wine to Putlitz.
“Edward always told me that the German Embassy was a staid place full of respectable people!” Dora agreed.
“That was under the old ambassador!” Putlitz cringed visibly. “But these days no one has any manners or sense of tradition anymore, least of all this Adolf Hitler character. He would not be above turning the Embassy into a brothel if it would provide enough money for his nefarious political activities.”
“Especially since the German government has been forced by Hitler to appoint Herr von Wessel as the commercial attache at the German Embassy,” Edward added. “That man has financed Hitler since before anybody ever heard about him. He goes back to 1918 and 1919 before Hitler even knew he was going to be a Nazi, Herr von Wessel had joined the party.”
“And that awful wife of his, Frau von Wesel, is even worse,” Winston wriggled his nose.
Clementine shook her head and sighed.
“This is why we need you to work for us,” Winston leaned closer to su Putlitz. “I can’t really pay you much for all the danger you will be risking, but we need the information badly if we are to do anything to counteract this rising star of the Nazi Party.”
Putlitz agreed. “That is why I came here tonight. I want to do something about it even if it costs me my family fortune.”
“That is the sort of fellow we need to hear from!” Winston called for his box of cheroots and offered one to su Putlitz. They toasted to Putlitz’s success.
“My family has always backed the old traditions,” Putlitz assured them. “And England has always been our greatest friend.”
Dora and Edward were having dinner with Winston and the Prof at Morpeth Mansions about one week later when su Putlitz sent a message by a trusted messenger to Winston. Winston tore it open and read it through silently first. Then he read it aloud as Dora leaned as close as she could to hear better:
“I want to warn you that Herr von Wessel and his wife, Frau von Wessel, are up to something big. And this is particularly heinous. Herr and Frau von Wessel are inviting the Prince of Wales to a private dinner to meet Nazi Party officials being sent there from Germany. The Prince is known for his lack of discretion and can be easily influenced and in addition has a big pocketbook. This private dinner at the Embassy is scheduled for this Friday. Sorry not to give you more notice. But we don’t want to involve a crowned head in what should be a major scandal.”
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Chapter 12: Wall Street Swastika: Nazi Party In London:
Now that Dora, Edward, and Churchill along with the Prof had evaded the onslaught of the Nazi spies at the British Museum and at Studland Beach and had finally deposited the Lawrence maps where no one could find them for now, they could finally concentrate on Hitler. Winston invited them to stay at Chartwell for several days. At Winston’s estate in Kent they received almost hourly reports about Nazi activities in London and back in Germany itself.
The cook was serving lunch when Churchill opened a missive from one of his spies on the ground in Germany. He read it through first to himself while he was smoking a cheroot, mumbling and exclaiming. Edward leaned over his shoulder to see what was what. Dora waited in suspense to find out what strange turn was next.
“Ha! So Hitler is trying to populate the government of Thuringia with his Nazi thugs!” Churchill exclaimed. “He is trying to nominate Wilhelm Frick as the head of both ministries, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior, and the German People’s Party, the DVP, complains that the man was a man convicted of high treason for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. Good for them!”
Edward nodded, “I remember the man. We were in the streets fighting the Nazis to the last man during the Putsch,” Edward brought back an unpleasant memory. Dora had been there, too. “That man was one of the worst, the most unprincipled, bastards.”
“Does Hitler have the power to make the party accept his nominees?” Dora asked.
Winston sighed as he looked up from the letter from Germany. “Not by himself. But apparently he is lobbying industrialists in the area. And they are bringing pressure upon the heads of the German People’s Party to make Wilhelm Frick their man.”
“What exactly does Hitler want Frick to do?” Dora was puzzled.
“Frick is supposed to purge the Thuringian government of leftists and liberals and replace them with Nazi ideologues who believe in racism to the last man, including all the police and all the members of the civil service,” Edward said.
Churchill read on, practically crushing his cheroot between his teeth. “So here is something we can act upon right away!” he looked up hopefully at Edward. “The gall of the man! He is holding a fund raising event right here in London.”
“What!” Edward practically exploded.
Churchill nodded. “At the German Embassy in London. They are having a grand ball and banquet and getting English aristocrats to contribute to the Nazi cause.”
Edward rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. “I can see it now! They would be idiotic enough to do it, too. Nazism is the latest fashion in London.”
“Hitler is using this money as bribes to industrialists and party officials in Thuringia to start molding Germany to his Nazi vision.”
Edward was to appear at the ball that Saturday night. Dora was to be his guest visiting him in London. But she had to go in disguise. They could not have the newspapers reporting Mrs. Byrne to be where she was not supposed to be. After all, according to the excuse she sent to her parents and Michael, she was staying with her friend Rita Jolivet in New York to help her put her finances back together after the Crash.
Dora entered the ball on Edward’s arm. She was dressed to the hilt in the latest Elsa Shaparelli gown, but since it was a costume ball she was wearing a mask. There was a gaming table in the next room. It was presided over by that spy of spies, Herr von Wessel, Hitler’s right-hand man, and his evil wife, Frau von Wessel. Dora and Edward had encountered them many times before on other missions. They were bad news.
Frau von Wessel was dressed in a Coco Chanel original, a black dress with silver sequins that clung to her curves. She beamed with a wicked smile at the English aristocrats that she greeted by name and escorted them over to the gaming table where Herr von Wessel was presding like a Master of Ceremonies. All this occurred under the big Nazi flags that decorated the ballroom, turning the German Embassy into a kind of circus. To make things even more wicked, there was an open bar on the other side of the room with the gaming table. Drinks were on the house.
Dora and Edward split up according to plan. Edward headed for the gaming table. He pretended to be paying attention to the game, though the von Wessels were immediately on alert. What they did not watch and were not supposed to watch was Dora. She took up her position at the free bar and ordered a drink which she pretended to sip and really poured out in special container she had brought with her in her evening bag. While they were not watching her, she slipped a sleeping potion into the punch bowl. She smiled as a server immediately dipped into it and filled drinks to be taken over to the gaming table. Edward alone knew not to drink anything at the event.
Soon other gamblers were starting to nod off around Edward. Edward complained loudly that no one was taking the game seriously, and it was getting boring around here. Frau von Wessel whispered to her husband. They both frowned severely.
Edward extended his arm to Dora. She took hold of it. Smugly they both left the room resounding with snores.
“Very clever!” Herr von Wessel shouted after them. “But Hitler will answer you all too soon.”
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