Author: Colin Falconer
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Part of a Series: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency
Type of book: William Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, 1593?-1594, family relations, mystery, acting, Kit Marlowe, strong heroine, comedy, daily life
Year it was published: 2015
"My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I've heard them all. I'm the other one, the ne'er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover's handyman." What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare's great rival, Christopher Marlowe - or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station. Each book tells the story of William's adventures as England's first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.
Because its a short book, (only 145 pages or so,) I don't feel that the story is very character oriented, and instead the author chooses to focus more on the mystery and history of the time rather than how characters change. Just like in Naked in Havana and East India, the woman, Elizabeth Talbot, is pretty fierce and has very funny dialogue regarding her husband and she is also determined to get to the truth through one way or the other. The playwright Shakespeare also has funny dialogue and he seems to warm up a little to the never do well cousin although he also seems to be burdened with a lot of things. The cousin Shakespeare is never do well, has low self esteem and yet a very memorable and quirky personality.
Everyone has their own strengths
The story is in first person narrative from William Shakespeare's point of view. No, not the playwright but the never do well cousin. The story and the time and place were engaging and memorable and the mystery was absorbing, although I do think that the final thread of what happened and why needs to be cleared up more and for me it tended to be disappointing, sorry to say so. The dialogue between the two cousins is memorable, and one becomes engaged about Shakespeare's (playwright's) life without it being boring or pedantic. Yes, should I have kids, this is something I will have them read to give them liking and passion for history.
Buy the Book
I was first introduced to Colin Falconer's works through his Naked in Havana book, an exhilarating story that to this day I recall very fondly of a Scarlett O'Hara female. I also read the engrossing and heartbreaking East India novel that explores the themes of survival and civilization where none exist. Does the book match up to its predecessors? I'd like to think so yeah. More comedy than heartbreak, yet besides the bathing thing (bathing wasn't looked on very fondly in the past...) it really takes one back to the past of the 1590s England before Shakespeare captivated the world of theater and England, very funny and witty (Oh how I will miss the days when someone would notice me laughing and ask me what was so funny...) Yeah, like others I can't wait for sequel to come out.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)