Lorelei von Leyden is an antagonist in the Ruby Redfort series, featured in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth books. She is clearly a psychopath but also displays strong signs of obsessive behaviour, shown in the extreme extent she goes to to destroy Ruby Redfort's social life in revenge for foiling her plans. Throughout the series Lorelei assumes multiple fake identities and appearances to hide herself from her enemies or lure people into traps. She is given away only by her unique scent of Turkish delight, which was a special perfume created for her by the French perfumer Madame Swann, while Lorelei worked for her.
Lorelei von Leyden is the daughter of Marnie Novak (formerly Gretchen Erhling and known to Spectrum as The Australian), an actor who worked on set alongside famous director Victor von Leyden, who later became the Count. Lorelei's father was George Katzel, a married man who had had an affair with Marnie Novak. Katzel was an influential producer in the film and telvision world, and he and his wife were a popular couple, so this baby drama was kept very quiet and they wanted Novak out of the way. Marnie's acting career was ruined because no one wanted to hire the pregnant woman. As a kindness to his protégée, Victor gave her daughter Lorelei his surname to avoid rumours. Novak headed to Australia in search of a new life - Victor accompanying her for support as he had lost heart for his films after her ruin - and took Lorelei with her. Things didn't work out as Marnie grew bitter towards Lorelei and couldn't abide to look at her, blaming the girl for the ruination of her life. It is likely that this helped lead her to her life of crime.
Lorelei believed her mother died when she was very young, so it is likely Marnie abandoned her, but we are unsure why.....!
Disguising Talent Edit
Lorelei became once of Victor's protégées when she was young and he taught her theatrical disguise, allowing her to completely alter her appearance using greasepaint. Victor tried to make her into an actress but she had no talent for it, being more interested in special effects make up. Lorelei liked inventing characters and disguising herself, playing mean tricks on people. As Lorelei grew older, she began using this talent to protect her criminal interests.
Stealing the Cyan Scent Edit
At an unknown time adult Lorelei moved to America and put her exceptional sense of smell to use working as the personal assistant of the French perfumer Madame Swann, who created a unique perfume smelling of Turkish Delight for her. However, when Swann realised how evil Lorelei actually was, she would no longer let Lorelei work for her.
Lorelei stayed in Apartment 9, East 23rd Street, Twinford while she organised an attempt to kidnap and extract scent from the near extinct Cyan wolf. She had been hired by her mother to hand over the wolf (probably in exchange for money), but was unaware that it was her mother, believing her mother to be dead. She also planned to double cross her employer and extract some of the wolf's scent for herself before turning over the creature, due to it being irresistible and very valuable. Novak communicated by scented pieces of paper delivered to Lorelei's apartment - the chemical compounds of the scents representing words. Her assistant in her mission was a man named Eduardo, as well as a large group of hired men to operate their hidden cabin on Wolf Paw Mountain.
Lorelei needed to know how to extract the scent from the wolf. Madame Swann had arrived in Twinford to make an appearance at the launch of her new Marie Antoinette perfume at Melrose Dorff, so Lorelei secretly arranged for the perfume to be forged. At the launch Swann fainted upon smelling Lorelei's perfume, knowing that her former apprentice was back to destroy her. Later Lorelei contacted Swann and threatened to expose the truth about Swann's perfume so that she would have no choice but to reveal how to extract the Cyan perfume.
The only remaining Cyan wolf was held by Flemming Fengrove, a reclusive collector of rare, exotic animals. Lorelei paid his zookeeper, Ivan, to release the animals as cover for stealing the wolf. However, Ivan changed his mind after doing so, deciding that he had done the wrong thing, and set the wolf free before its scent could be extracted, which might kill it. Lorelei captured Ivan and interrogated him about how to recapture and control the wolf. When he refused to tell her she sought answers in the library, and having discovered what she needed to know, returned to kill the zookeeper only to find that he had escaped. Lorelei and Eduardo pursued him to make sure he could not arouse suspicion, and found Clancy Crew attempting to help the weary man. Pretending to be his friends, she and Eduardo escorted Ivan away by car, killed him and threw him in the canal.
Lorelei became suspicious that someone was onto her when she returned to her apartment and smelt Hubble-Yum bubblegum - a scent which Ruby had left while following Ivan's trail. Lorelei - under the name of Lyla - encountered Clancy again near Melrose Dorff. Suspecting that he was the one investigating her, she asked him for bubblegum and he handed her Ruby's Hubble-Yum. Lorelei then planned to kidnap Clancy and find out what he knew. Learning that he desperately wanted a Windrush bike, she got one and disguised herself as a young girl. Clancy followed Lorelei to Fir Forest Edge where he attempted to flee on the bike after recognising her scent, but was eventually captured by the henchman awaiting in ambush.
Lorelei interrogated Clancy, now a prisoner in the Wolf Paw Mountain cabin. He only gave up part of Ruby's name. Unfortunately for Lorelei, Clancy had left a trail of ground glows which Ruby followed. She rescued Clancy and stole the Cyan scent that had been extracted, before releasing the wolf to secure their escape. Lorelei fled the scene, and not long after her distrusting mother arrived at the cabin, shooting Eduardo after he divulged that Lorelei had gone and that Ruby had stolen the scent. While the rest of her gang were arrested by Spectrum agents, Lorelei escaped the forest fire that soon broke out, having no reward for her efforts - her mother had escaped after taking the scent from Ruby, who narrowly survived.
Theft of the 8 Key and invisibility skin Edit
After the events of 'Catch Your Death', Lorelei was soon approached by Victor von Leyden, or Count von Viscount as he now called himself, who wanted the invisibility skin and the 8 key stolen from Spectrum agency. He told her how to get them using inside information the mysterious Casey Morgan had given him. Not wanting people to recognise her, Lorelei opted for a new face - Valerie 'Nine Lives' Capaldi, who had been shot dead by Hitch during the attempted theft of the Jade Buddha of Khotan.
Lorelei hired skilled cat burglar and acrobat Claude Fontaine to commit these thefts, using her new identity as a ghost to scare him. She grew impatient when he started using the invisibility skin to commit personal high-rise thefts rather than deliver the 8 key straight away as he was meant to. Having heard about 'the skywalker' in the newspapers, she tracked him to the roof of the Hauser Ink Building, unnoticed by Ruby who was also following him. As Ruby slowly made her way across a high wire, Lorelei cut it with wire cutters, leading to Ruby's fall and near demise.
She got even closer to catching Claude after his theft of the Celeste orchid. She taunted him as he hid in the darkness of the Pineapple building, leading Ruby, who was locked in a nearby cupboard, to believe that Capaldi had returned from the dead.
Lorelei finally caught up to Claude after Ruby had convinced him not to murder Margo Bardem on the roof of the Hotel Circus Grande. Lorelei handcuffed Ruby and threatened to kill her if Claude didn't hand over the invisibility skin and 8 key. He threw the stolen items into the air and fled. While Lorelei searched for the skin and key, Ruby hid only to watch the Count make off with the key - he had come to the roof as he suspected Lorelei would double cross him. Ruby realised who 'Valerie Capaldi' really was when Lorelei called her 'bubblegum girl' - her nickname for her ever since smelling her memorable gum. Lorelei found Ruby hiding and was preparing to throw her from the roof when Spectrum agents arrived to arrest her. Realising she could not escape, Lorelei pushed Ruby from the roof before her arrest. Ruby's lucky survival was due to the Spectrum-issue jumpsuit she was wearing.
Revenge on Ruby Edit
Incarcerated in a Women's Correctional Facility, Lorelei spent her days in prison writing all the ways she would take revenge on Ruby when she got out in a notebook she kept stuffed in the mattress. She eventually escaped by starting a food fight that gave her cover to knock out a prison officer named Officer McClaren, cover her face in food, put on her uniform and drive out of the facility.
Lorelei returned to Twinford desperate for revenge. She sought out Boyd Marshall, who was on the run from Marnie Novak (or the Australian woman, as Marshall knew her), due to his failure to assassinate Amarjargel Oidov after being sprung from jail. They joined forces to protect each other while Lorelei hunted down Novak. She also requested some of Marshall's snakes, wanting to use them on Ruby eventually.
Lorelei took a penthouse apartment at 479 Constanza, with a new identity of a girl called Sal. She took a job at Back-Spin table tennis cafe as Sal, where Ruby occasionally went with her friends. Ruby's friend Del quickly befriended Sal, and Lorelei soon learned the truth about the fight with Vapona Begwell's gang, and turned Del in anonymously. She also planted Vapona's project in Del's locker, disguised as Ruby. When the camera footage was viewed by the students, Del hated Ruby, thinking her responsible. Lorelei also tried to ruin Ruby's friendship with Clancy, planting a note from 'Ruby' in his homework to show that he had been getting help. However, Clancy realises it wasn't Ruby he saw on camera and is desperate to prove her innocence.
It is Clancy who uncovers the true identity of Sal when she lashes out at some people messing about at the cafe, showing a fragment of who she really is. Upon recognising the look in her eyes, Clancy and Ruby head to her apartment - which Ruby had seen her entering - having called for backup. Ruby asks Lorelei why she was messing with a teenager's school life, and Lorelei claims that it is 'just so much fun'. This statement and her laughter at surprising Ruby clearly showed her unstable mind.
Ruby and Lorelei engage in a kung fu battle - Lorelei wins, but Ruby uses the solidifying vapour binding produced by a Spectrum-issue band she wears to tie her up. However, Marshall forces Ruby to release Lorelei in a trade for Clancy's life. Lorelei and Marshall flee, having seen Novak approaching. It would seem that they went their own ways after this incident, as Novak finds and kills Marshall, but Lorelei escapes yet again.
Possible death Edit
Lorelei only appears once in person in the final book, 'Blink And You Die', when Marnie Novak and her assistant Mr Matthews take control of a plane Ruby and Hitch were taking to fly from Colwin City to Twinford, in an attempt to kidnap Ruby as part of Casey Morgan's plan. They are unaware that Lorelei is also hiding on board, desperate to kill Ruby. Lorelei knocks out Matthews and has a brief fight with her mother before she kicks Ruby from the plane, unaware that Ruby is equipped with the parachute cape, allowing her to survive the fall. However, the plane crashes and it's unknown whether one of two events occurred:
a) Lorelei was in the plane when it crashed, meaning she died along with the pilot.
b) She was the person who parachuted out of the plane; but this is debatable because both Hitch and Marnie escaped the plane but only one person parachuted out (from what the reader is told). She does not show up anywhere else in this book, so if this is the event that did occur then she's probably either hiding or hunting down the Count.