Friday 17 February 2012

Shakespeare’s Sister?

charlaine harris lily bard author

I’m probably the last one to discover this author- if so, I apologise for telling you what you already know, but this is a quick review of the ‘Shakespeare’ series by Charlaine Harris. Born [1951] and raised in Mississippi, Ms Harris is a prolific mystery writer.

I picked up the first of the series [Shakespeare’s Landlord] in our library two weeks ago.

When I returned it, and mentioned I’d enjoyed it, the Library Staff immediately directed my attention to the next two books – both of which were on the ‘best-sellers, one week loan only’ shelf. So Bob and I read them – and returned them very promptly.

Then I was in another library, just up the road, and found the final 2 books [again on the ‘short loan’ shelf] Not only is there a library in my own village, but there are 4 other small libraries within 5 miles of my house – and my ‘County’ ticket covers them all. I can borrow up to 24 books at a time. How fabulous is that?

lilybard shakespeare series

The stories all centre on the small town of Shakespeare, and the main character is Lily Bard. After a very traumatic incident in her youth, she left home and started a new life- choosing this town simply because her surname was ‘Bard’.

Lily is a feisty, exercise-obsessed, quite private woman. She reminds me of Kinsey Millhone in Sue Grafton’s A,B,C series. Most comfortable in exercise gear, or shirt and jeans, she finds it hard to ‘dress up’ for funerals and weddings [and there are many deaths, so quite a few funerals!]

midsomer nettlesdarksecrets3insp wexfordatouchoffrost

Shakespeare is a neighbourhood with frequent murders. A bit like the Barnabys’ Midsomer, Wexford's Kingsmarkham, and Frost’s Denton. One wonders how the property prices are affected by all these violent deaths!

Ms Harris has written a number of other series [featuring women with the bizarre names of Aurora Teagarden and Sookie Stackhouse!] I will report on those as and when they appear on our library shelves.

These are not great works of literature. But if you want a quick, lightweight read, and you are fond of murder mysteries they are enjoyable. I think you could read them in any order without any plot spoilers, although they are clearly consecutive and written within a fairly short time frame.


  1. No, you aren't the last. I am. Thank you for the recommendation, I'm going to see if I can find at least one of the books when we are in UK.

  2. Ooh no, I hadn't seen them. I have seen someone mention Sookie Stackhouse, but thought she was an author!

    Have you found the Lillian Jackson Braun "Cat Who..." series?

    Lynn P

  3. Thanks for recommendation, Lynn
    Not heard of LJB, but note that there is one in stock at the library opp my school. Maybe next week...

  4. I must sheepishly admit that I have read all of the "Southern Vampire" series (starring Sookie Stackhouse). Amazingly, they manage to be both very, very trashy (a fair bit of violence and sex) but also very well written and funny. They're sort of tongue-in-cheeck genre fiction. I've read one of the Shakespeare mysteries and really enjoyed it too.

  5. I too was going to refer you to the "Cat Who...." series.

    There's nothing quite like a nice cosy murder, is there? Somehow a lightweight murder mystery can be a very comforting read.

    I also like Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries. Not quite as lightweight, but still a fun read.

  6. Oh dear - now I am concerned that I and many of my peaceful law abiding readers are actually quite fond of 'cosy' and 'lightweight' murders!!

    I do read edifying books full of noble thoughts sometimes - as I am sure you do too!


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