Shakespeare's Landlord ~ Book 1 of the Lily Bard mysteries
Author: Charlaine Harris
Source: public library
I had no idea what I was getting into here. I was just looking for some new brain candy after I'd come down from my Sookie Stackhouse fix. (BTW, thank you Bookman's for having copies of the Sookie books for sale cheap when I desperately needed them!) Conveniently, Charlaine Harris wrote other novels...and I'm nothing if not a loyal reader who will at least attempt to read every piece of writing my favorites feel fit to publish. So, I jumped into the Lily Bard series. Now I have to say, traditionally, I've not been much of a mystery reader. They usually feel too contrived and/or Clue-ish. Which, except for having Tim Curry in it has little not no meaning for me. I was a bit worried. Luckily, my fears were laid to rest almost immediately. The story telling style, the believable characters even when the situation is a bit out there, the well-thought out connections and little nods to the readers....everything that made the Sookie books enjoyable for me was present. Well, except vampires...but I'll survive.
What I liked:
1. There were so many subtle and not-so subtle nods to The Bard himself it was kind of awesome.
2. The main character is well 'n truly flawed. While the mystery is solved by the end, she's not fixed and it's going to take a lot to get her there. I know this is a sad thing, but it makes her story and her reactions more believable. She is a complete person not just a flat character.
3. The main character doesn't go looking for the mystery. In fact, if she could have her way, nothing out of the ordinary would happen, ever....she's safer that way. This stopped the whole contrived, oh look something's gone awry feelings I've gotten from mysteries before. Maybe I should start reading more of them?
What I didn't like:
1. The pacing was a bit off in this one, but I think it is due to it being the beginning of the series. Ms. Harris needed to set the scene and establish who and what's going on. It began slower, picking up the pace until the ending just flew by.
Overall: I enjoyed this book too. It's not quite the same deliciousness of brain candy as Sookie, but I'm very glad I gave these books a chance and I plan on finishing the series.