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Shakespeare’s Landlord
Shakespeare Series – Book I
Charlaine Harris

Victor Gollancz (Orion UK)
15 September 2011 /ISBN: 9780575105256
Mystery / 1996 / Arkansas
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by
Rachel A Hyde

Lily Bard is a thirtysomething with a mysterious past. She has lived in the small town of Shakespeare for the past four years without incident, working as a cleaner. But when she finds the landlord of the apartment building she cleans dead it is time to do something about it. How can she explain to the police that she was walking the streets at night and saw a strange figure wheeling her own cart with a body loaded onto it?

This is the beginning of a series by popular paranormal romance author Charlaine Harris. It is not paranormal in any way, and in fact has all the trappings of a traditional cozy mystery. The small town, the quirky residents, the mysterious and nosy female invesigator and the body of a person nobody much liked. That however is where it stops being like a cozy, as this book shows up small town malice, people who are quirky in a more realistic way than in most cozies and a woman with a dark past (that is not her fault) she is trying to escape from, or at least live with. If you have read the description on the back you are probably expecting a cozy too, and if so you will find this rather bleak. But it does have its uplifting moments, and the author certainly deals with her subject matter in a sensitive and thought-provoking way. Gollancz is more associated with fantasy and SF in all its many forms so this is something of a departure for them. I’ve read detective stories with more original plots and found the endless descriptions of martial arts classes rather wearing but when the book had been closed for the last time I did feel that I had gained an insight into the lives and minds of women like Lily.

Shakespeare's Counselor (review)

Reviewer's Note: US edition is different
Reviewed 2011
© 2011