Hamlet Is A Big Subject For Dora Benley:
Dora Benley not only likes to write novels about ancient Rome and Greece, she is also fond of Shakespeare and Hamlet. Two of her recent novels have concerned themselves with Hamlet. Just last week she published the YA thriller Ophelia Plot about a girl who was kidnapped while she was putting on Hamlet on the high school stage. Yet to be published is the Edward Ware Thrillers at War novel Murder at Hamlet’s Castle. Dora and Edward are attending a performance of Hamlet when they get a note from Churchill. They have to make their way to Hamlet’s Castle in Denmark where they are supposed to hide the Lawrence maps.
After narrowly escaping the von Wessels, Hitler’s chief spies, in Santa Fe while on leave from Mid East Quarters in Cairo, Edward and Dora don’t know where to go next and where to hide the Lawrence maps, key to world domination. They have just been watching a production of Hamlet when they get a note from Winston Churchill. He says that he and Clemmie got locked in the dungeon of Hamlet’s Castle in Helsingor, Denmark. It was where the Danish army used to be billeted in the Middle Ages. They had to raise Hamlet’s ghost screaming to be let out. It just occurred to Winston it would be a perfect location to hide the much sought after military maps. No one would ever suspect they were there — and if they did they would never be able to escape with their lives let alone the prize that Hitler has been seeking for years.
But after a huge chase scene to get away from states they meet unexpected obstacles in the castle in 1934. The mistress who keeps the place up turns out to be the perfect Nazi spy in cahoots with Hitler and the von Wessels. Once again they need to escape. But this time they meet an unexpected ally in the famous Dane himself, Shakespeare’s most famous character. They uncover Hamlet’s secret notebooks that tell them just what they need to know. Others were cornered in this castle long ago. Hamlet tells them how he escaped in a tale that upsets all previous notions of the man, his character, and his fate.
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Ophelia Plot: Next Cheops Books Promotion:
The teenage heroine is playing the part of Ophelia on the stage back at her high school. Suddenly when Hamlet is lamenting over her dead body, for she was supposed to have committed suicide to escape the wild Danish prince, the lid to the coffin slams shut. She does not remember anything else until she wakes up in the trunk of a car in a car repair shop in Hole, Arizona where she has never been before in her life. Worse, she cannot remember anything except a few lines from the play:
Tomorrow is St. Valentines Day.
All the morning betime.
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine . . .
Those had been the lines that her character on the stage, Ophelia, had been reciting near the stream where she killed herself. At this point the heroine cannot even remember her own name, though she is dressed in diamonds and expensive clothing.
She is thrown out of the car repair shop with a wad of money in her hand and stumbles into a bar and grill where other teenage girls start picking on her because she looks so out of it. She does not know where to go next. Has she been robbed? Are thugs after her? She had better figure it all out soon or she will find herself dead.
If you enjoy Ophelia Plot you will enjoy other young adult thrillers by Dora Benley that have a romantic edge such as Silver Wolf Moon, Mary’s Gone, Latin Lessons, Rose Red, Murder on Spirit Island, and Murder in Jasper.
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Chapter 7: Wall Street Swastika: Poor Ophelia
The next morning they went to the first class dining room for breakfast. Nervously Dora looked from side to side. She didn’t see any of the creepy German spies who had haunted them yesterday evening at dinner. Had they all decamped when Edward made the rogue who attacked her walk the plank? Did they want to avoid trouble? Had they been waiting for that ship that had been shadowing them to escape? Had Hitler sent it? Were they on their way to Germany right now?
Dora did not feel comfortable sitting in the dining room where last night they had encountered the rogues. Rita had sent her excuses that she was having breakfast in her cabin. But Dora had to sit there and endure it. Winston always insisted on having a full breakfast pefectly cooked. He said it was the only way to start the day. He had to have his wits about him, and his wits had to be carefully nourished.
He and Edward sat there discussing of all things the Lawrence maps themselves. Edward had them right now up his sleeve. Before the voyage was over they were supposed to rendezvous with Churchill’s best friend, Professor Lindemann of Oxford. The gentleman was aboard the ship right now. Winston was pretending he did not know the man. If they saw him they were not to say hello or wave. In fact, he was sitting across the room right now. Dora turned to see him reading the newspapers all by himself at a table next to the Roman pillar near the kitchen entrance. Waiters zoomed past the physics professor left and right and he did not eyeball one of them. Instead he seemed to be doing the crossword puzzle if Dora had to guess. He was marking things down on the newspaper itself.
“Do you have any word what the Dictator is up to right now since he got word of the crash?” Edward asked very low.
Churchill dug into his poached eggs on toast covered with heavenly hollandaise sauce with bacon on the side. Winston nodded. “I talked to Lindemann last night in secret in the men’s room on the lower level in the dark. He reported that Hitler isn’t wasting any time at all. His speaking engagements had been few and far between until last week. Germany is dependent upon short term loans in particular. The farmers are up in arms, one of Hitler’s bases of power to begin with. Others in the cities are starting to lose their jobs already.”
Dora shook her head. “But can’t they see that the stock market will recover one of these days?”
Edward sighed. “Not soon enough to keep the likes of the slippery footed Hitler out of power.”
“Hitler has been invited to the townhall in Nuremberg entitled Why Democracy Has Failed Germany: Time for a Change.” He sipped his hot chocolate.
Dora tapped her fingers nervously on the table.
“The Hugenberg Press is giving him an interview next week. He is going to emphasize how the Nazis never had anything to do with the Weimar government. He even has his eye on two posts in the Thuringian government. He wants to aim at the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education. That way he can control the civil service, the police, and the schools. He says he can do anything after that.”
Dora could not believe this nightmare just because of a bad day of Wall Street. All right. A terrible day. But she had to remember that not everybody had her father’s money.
That evening they were going to meet Lindemann in the theater aboard the ship. Once the lights went out they were going to hand over the maps. That was another clever move by Winston.
Dora had gotten there first. She was saving the four seats near the stage. The Royal Shakespearian Theater was putting on Hamlet. Ophelia was about to be buried in a church yard near the castle in Helsingor.
Suddenly a strange man sat down next to Dora. She rose immediately, but he grabbed her by the hand. She did not know whether to scream and attract everybody’s attention. After all, she had the maps in her handbag.
She did not get a chance to think. The lights had just gone out. He slipped his hand over her mouth and put a gun to her back. She was forced to accompany him up the back staircase to the stage. Whatever he was up to she could not imagine. There was a wooden box that resembled a coffin. He was forcing her to climb into it.
No sooner had she laid down than stage hands picked up the coffin and carried her right out into the middle of the stage. The players were declaiming all around her in Act V, Scene 1 of Hamlet. The gravediggers are arguing with each other whether she should be buried here since she committed suicide.
Hamlet and Horatio enter stage left. They are talking about the various graves. Hamlet finds a skull he likes but says in a voice that sounds a bit too familiar to Dora, “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio!” Why, that sounded like Edward! Or was it her imagination? Had they seen her get kidnapped? Had they sensed an elaborate plot afoot for stealing the maps in the middle of the play?
Suddenly Hamlet sees her coffin. He breaks into lamentations. He claims that he would eat a crocodile for Ophelia or even be buried alive with her. Laertes contradicts Hamlet in the voice of the thug who brought her up here to begin with. She hears Edward shove the thug aside as Claudius and Gertrude enter the stage and declare Hamlet mad. But Hamlet insists on leaning over the coffin of Ophelia and kissing her cheek. She has the maps ready and hands them to Edward.
The curtains close and Dora leaps up out of the coffin of Ophelia. Churchill is stage left calling to her along with Edward still dressed as Hamlet next to the real players who look totally befuddled as Edward, Churchill, and Dora flee the theater to take the elevator to their rooms where Professor Lindemann waits. Dora falls into Edward’s arms. It was another narrow escape.
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