Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Shakespeare’s Counselor
A Lily Bard Mystery

By Charlaine Harris

    Working-class heroines are getting more and more respect, especially ones with troubled pasts. Barbara Seranella’s “Munch” Mancini, Sarah Strohmeyer’s Bubbles “Erin Brockovich” Yablonsky, meet cleaning woman and PI Lily Bard, currently residing in the small Arkansas town of Shakespeare. Small towns are notorious for hiding secrets. Fortunately, with the exception of perfect-seeming preacher’s wife Sandy McCorkindale, none of the women appear to be Stepfordized; quite the opposite. This is the quirkiest small town mystery setting I’ve run across in my tenure as a reviewer.

     All Lily wants is to put the turbulent past behind her, but her secret hubby Jack Leeds gets tired of being attacked when Lily has her bad dreams about the biker who raped her. Lily finds herself in a sexual assault survivors support group, led by mystery figure Tamsin Lynd, whose name is as outrageous as her past, which makes her a perfect fit for Shakespeare, especially when the sister of one of the support group attendees is murdered at her health center.

    The pressure is tightened by the arrival of a mysterious African-American detective from Ohio, the only other person of color besides fellow group member Firella. Detective Stokes, working with Lily’s chief of police friend Claude Friedrich, has an agenda involving the mysterious Tamsin. Like the notorious Scott Peterson, Tamsin’s behavior raises suspicions: Why is a woman’s empowerment counselor hiding out under a desk while one woman is murdered and another injured? Not exactly a Lifetime TV moment of courage. Of course, Tamsin is being stalked, which might drive anyone over the edge.

   But Lily, who’s good at cutting through the dirt, sets out to find the truth behind Stokes and Tamsin. While she’s at it, Lily must help herself and Jack find a way to come to terms with the past and keep the life they’ve built for themselves.

    Harris’ elegant, spare prose creates a memorable heroine and one of the great man-woman relationships in mystery fiction, as well as tragedy, emotional depth and an ending you won’t anticipate…unless you’re from Shakespeare.

The Book

Penguin Books
Feb 2005
PI Mystery/Thriller
More at 



The Reviewer

Kristin Johnson
Reviewed 2005
NOTE: Kristin Johnson is the author of CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins, ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D.
© 2005