Double, Double


Double, Double is a literary mystery in which the murder of a prominent scholar during a performance of Macbeth draws police investigators directly into the smoke-and-mirrors world of the Authorship Controversy—the debate over who really wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

On the day following the murder, scholars on both sides of the controversy were to have advanced their cases in a high-profile public debate. The murdered professor had given to know, however, that he had found the “smoking gun” that would clear up the matter once and for all—damaging the careers, purses and romantic aspirations of his opponents, who staked all of the above on the claim that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the real author of the plays.

Detective Superintendent Ian Stokes now has exactly the case he never wanted. His relationship to academia is tensely loaded: his parents are both professors at Oxford University. Determined to find the murderer but bristling at the academic catfight, he reluctantly asks his mother’s help in uncovering Thompson’s secret. Their parallel investigations, criminal and academic, lead each of them independently toward the killer, but also back into the past, to the breakdown of their relationship many years before.

The novel is set in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2006. The exposition of the historical Shakespeare/de Vere controversy, on whose resolution the case seems to hang, is interwoven with the contemporary murder mystery.

Two mysteries in one: a Whodunnit—who was the murderer? And a Whowroteit—who wrote Shakespeare’s plays?

Prominent professors will stop at nothing—was Shakespeare Shakespeare, or was he the Earl of Oxford? The detective couldn’t give a damn—he wants the guilty party. But he’ll only find the murderer if he finds out the real Shakespeare. Murderer Macbeth stalks about as well. To say nothing of the witches.

A gripping conjunction of two “cases”—as if it were a murder mystery by Shakespeare. He would have read it with delight.

—Frank Günther, German translator of the complete works of Shakespeare.  

The Swiss writer Ashley Curtis has written a whimsical literary mystery drawing on Macbeth. He proves himself an authority on the plays and sonnets of the famous poet and weaves excerpts into his plot, but not without allowing his characters to act independently and with depth. A delight for Shakespeare fans, literary historians and fans of mystery novels. With an illuminating afterword by Shakespeare translator Frank Günther.

—Renate Schattel, ekz Bibliotheksservice

At the end of a performance of Macbeth Professor Thompson is found dead in the auditorium of the Swan Theater in Stratford.

Who was the real author of Shakespeare’s works, the man from Stratford or Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford? This is the question to be addressed in a prominent conference that comes to an abrupt end with the death of the main speaker. Hotel rooms laid waste and attacks on yet more academics suggest that evidence that might clear up the century-old controversy is being suppressed. Investigating the murder is Ian Stokes—intelligent, intuitive, imaginative, and well acquainted with the academic world. Since the authorship controversy appears to be of central importance in the murder investigation, he asks his parents—both of them literature professors—for help. As in a game of deception this thrilling mystery weaves the hunt for the murderer together with the search for evidence for and against the Oxford thesis. Motifs from Hamlet and Macbeth repeatedly leave their mark on the action and the plot. 

An intelligently constructed mystery with intriguingly wrought protagonists, for readers with literary interests who delight in complex guessing games. 

—Birgit Schönfeld, Evangelisches Literaturportal



Foto © Werner Geiger


Foto © Werner Geiger

Kommode Press. March, 2019 (in German).

Interested English publishers are invited to contact the Kommode Press.