As with any play, there’s typically an Act II. In the case of the Shakespearean spin-off of the previously reviewed The Case of the Dead Dane by Steven Duggan, there’s a second act in The Case of the Dead Dane: Volume 2. Will and Kit are back in the second installation of their investigation into the deaths of Amleth, his family, and Ophelia’s father with questions aplenty to solve for the verdict in Amleth’s innocence.
For anyone who has studied Shakespeare, it is commonly debated whether he is the true author of all the works he published. It was, therefore, interesting to see the concept of Shakespeare stealing his words in Dead Dane: Volume 2. This installation read quite a bit like a detective novel and ends of a good suspenseful note and included the contrary argumentation that was prevalent between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The integration of Anne and Will’s story with that of Will and Kit’s investigation into Amleth was far better handled in this volume through Will’s reminiscences that directly relate back to an element of the case being discussed.
There were quite a few grammatical issues throughout the text despite the attempt to incorporate the language appropriate to the time period. Additionally, there was a rather confusing moment when Amleth appears to have been referred to as “Hamnett,” which is the name of Shakespeare’s son, albeit spelled with only one “t,” and made me question whether I was reading about Amleth or Will’s backstory. It was also strange to read about an Ophelia with a backbone–it was interesting and disorienting all at the same time as her agency was a frequently discussed matter in my Shakespeare courses.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.