HAMLET MEETS A CORPSE
“We are going to play Murder Gonzago,” explained Hamlet to Horatio.
“And what king of game is that?” asked the famous actor.
“Each player has a set of lines. No one knows what they mean. But put together, they point directly to the killer. The one who guesses the murderer first wins, and you, Horatio will present the prize.”
“And who is the murderee’?” asked the actor.
“Come and I”ll introduce you.”
As Horatio gained the parapet, he saw the figure. Seven feet tall, in armor head to foot, it looked exactly like the King. “Isn’t he a wonderful actor?” cried the Prince. “He makes such a convincing ghost.”
“Too convincing,” said Horatio. “That’s no ghost. That’s your father, the King of Denmark.”
“But the King, my Father, as you so cleverly remembered,” said the Prince with an antic disposition, “has been dead for a month.”
Prince Hamlet has a problem. Someone has murdered his Father, the King. Or have they? Is the King still alive, and out to frame…who? His own son? His world-be murderer? Or has Hamlet, the Prince, murdered the King himself for obvious reasons? Or, perhaps, not so obvious reasons. What is the King’s real relationship with his son’s girl friend, the almost-too-innocent Ophelia? Or has the King simply gone underground, to prevent a coup? Denmark is a small place, and almost everyone has a reason to want it. Or is Hamlet simply making it all up? Is he really Prince? Or has he hired all these people to play a kingdom? And why? To hide a very real murder, perhaps? Is he not, after all, the best actor of his time? All this one man must discover. All Horatio is not a super sleuth. He is a college student. Big Man at Wittenberg U, he had the lead in the senior play. And Hamlet did not. In a true test of friendship, Horatio must unravel theatricals that are no longer amateur before things get out of hand. And things, to start with, are not so hot in Denmark.
READERS OF THIS NOVEL WILL ALSO ENJOY THESE CLASSICS:
Check one. Visitor _____ New Resident _____ Drifter _____
_____ I am interested in membership.
_____ I would appreciate a visit with the pastor.
_____ I wold like a visit from a small planet.
_____ I am the pastor.
_____ No, I am not Prince Hamlet.
ADRIANCE HALSTEAD is the author of more than 8 pages in this book alone. His books have sold well under 800,000,000 copies worldwide. -“Worthless slop,” “I could not understand it.” - J.D. Wilson.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Claudius. Now King of Denmark, he would like to play it down. A man with an ear for intrigue, a limp, and a hump, he was by far the most suspicious player at the Palace. And that’s not the St. Moritz, Palace, darlings.
Hamlet. Son to the late, nephew to the present King, he was still his mother’s only son. Or was he? And did he know it? Still, he knew something. And he wouldn’t tell. Bearded, fat, balding, and middle-aged, he was a sloppy dresser as well. No John Weitz for him. And Ralph Lauren oft proclaims the man. Someday his King would come. If kingdom come did not come first. A tiger’s heart in a coward hide, he played hide-and-seek with himself, and counted on Fortinbras, perhaps wrongly, to save the day. What he knew, everyone would know. If they lived. Over his dead body. If, indeed, any of it was true.
Polonius. To old to die, he must plot to live. Only his daughter stood between him and three kings. One day she might be Queen. But whose Queen? He was tired of playing houseboy, but life at court was dirty business. One slip, and it was curtains.
Horatio. Alleged friend to Hamlet. No one knew his background. Rudely handsome in an artsy way, he was perhaps too good to make-believe, and too good to be believed. the only player with no motive, he always managed to be in the wrong place at the right time. Of course, he did not need a motive, if there was indeed no murder. But there were too many motives, and not enough murders. This alone was suspicious. But soon all that would change.
Laetes.. Son to Polonius, brother to Ophelia, he had a double-pronged reason for carrying two swords, one of them tipped with poison. And that was just one of his secrets. His own father thought him a drunkard, gambler, brothelizer. And possibility a murderer.
Voltemand and Cornelius. Cronies of King Claudius, conspirators with the King of Norway, they could tell young Fortinbras more than he should have known. Everyone in Denmark was playing right into their hands. And the price was right. It might be no accident that the country was surrounded.
Rosencrantz and Guidlenstern. Are they victims of a mad killer, or only tigers of a typing error? Not since Edward II had anyone been murdered by grammar. One had to take the ambassadors word for their deaths. But how did they really die? And who had the most to gain by it? Were they really dead? Or were they, along with Coltemand and Cornelius, secret allies of old Norway?
Osric. A newly hatched courtier, he ran around with his shell on his head, his heart on his sleeve, and murderer on his mind. And in the end, he alone would live. Some people would call it luck. Other would call it obnoxious. But one man thought it was a plot. A graveyard plot.
Francisco. An honest guard, he saw nothing. But he did not believe in ghosts.
Barnardo and Marcellus. They saw it first. But what you see isn’t always what you get. Simple men, they shot first and never asked any questions. Later they would become Norwegians.
Players. Disgruntled by their nobel patrons’ lack of taste, they would have their revenge at intermission. The cast was good, but perhaps they has caught the wrong fish. Who were they really, these suave strangers who presented treason as entertainment, who baited kings and got paid for it? Horatio’s college troupe, or even ‘Norweigians? Whoever they were, they were assassins of more than character.
Two Gravediggers. Florid and debonair, they knew too much, and the graves they dug might be their own. Born gossips, they unearthed a family skeleton they would not live to reveal. Covered in dirt, they looked a lot like Voltemand and Cornelius, or maybe Norweigians.
Fortinbras, Prince of Norwary. Pleasant and good-looking, his secret ambition was to be King one day - of Denmark. Only two people stood in his way: Hamlet, and his own uncle. Two people - and a ghost.
Hamlet’s mother. A monumental woman whit the face of a mastiff, she was devoted to her husband and the goblet. Childishly obsessed with shiny things, she failed to notice how badly cooked the meals were. Unfazed by the continual disappearance of her dinner guests, she was heard to observe that “a bug” must be going round.