Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris

Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard, #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Having finished Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, I was looking for another series when I came across this in my local bookstore.

First, what I liked. The lead character is a strong female. Unlike Sookie, to whom things seem to happen, this Bard takes charge of her life after a major tragedy (no spoilers). Rather than giving us the full story, Harris only hints at it until about halfway through. Even before the central mystery grabbed me, I was reading to find out what happened to her. The reveal is organic to the story and doesn’t seem forced.

Second, what I didn’t like. This is an Agatha Christie novel set in Arkansas. Like TEN LITTLE INDIANS and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, you have a raft of characters all of whom may or may not have a reason to commit murder. While many are red herrings (a good thing), others seem to have no purpose and just crowd the field. As a result, the discovery of the murderer is a surprise (a good thing) but it leaves you as a reader with the letdown as there was no real way for you to have discovered the murderer (which is part of why one reads mysteries).

Since this was originally published in 1996, you can see the beginning of Harris’ ability to tell a great tale.



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