TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE — To Lily Bard, the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, was the perfect place to hide from the violence that nearly destroyed her life years before. Today Lily is strong, confident in the martial arts she studies, her looks disguised by her closely cropped hair and baggy clothes. Working as a housecleaner, Lily comes and goes without anyone noticing -- until she witnesses a murder.
What Lily Bard saw on that dark night has stripped away her, anonymity and earned her the unwanted attention of a homicide detective and a suspicious community. And with her intense, married, karate instructor showing a passionate interest of his own, Lily's plan of a private, well-ordered life is coming unhinged. The killer of an unlamented landlord is lurking close by. And while Lily knows the dirt on her neighbors' dust, drawers, and private live , must admit to a secret of her own: that in the shadow of a brutal murder, she is coming alive again...
Shakespeare’s Landlord is a cozy mystery in a small, sleepy town, where Lily Bard ends up doing just as much detecting as she does cleaning.
My Shakespeare’s Landlord review:
Lily Bard started off as a pretty mysterious character, doing her martial arts training, cleaning people’s houses, and incidentally seeing something suspicious involving her own garbage cart which led her to finding a dead body. Instead of calling the police straight away, she made sure anything that would put her in the spotlight as a suspect would not be found, but then she called the chief for the body to be found before morning. I enjoyed the mystery part of Shakespeare’s Landlord very much, and the character development was well done, too. There are some major trigger warnings, though, because of Lily’s past involving a kidnapping where she was rented out for other people’s pleasure.
At the beginning of Shakespeare’s Landlord, Lily was a very withdrawn character, with no friends but lots of people she worked for or worked out with. As the story moved on, though, she had more than one man in her vicinity who showed her interest. It had been a long time since she had any interest in anything but existing, getting through her days and staying safe, so it was nice to see her starting to live a little. The secondary characters were all seen through her slightly calculating and sarcastic eyes, which I really enjoyed, especially because she had a very keen sense of observation.
Written in first person from Lily’s point of view, and in past tense with a lot of dialogs, the story, which was quite short also moved along at a nice pace. I will definitely keep reading this series, because the small town life as well as the men around Lily all appealed to me, just as she herself did, too.
Some of my favorite Shakespeare’s Landlord quotes:
Though my face hasn’t changed, my mind has. The workings of the mind look out through the face and alter it.
Instinctively, I concealed myself, sliding behind a live oak on the edge of the park. Its branches overhung the sidewalk; perhaps their shadow had hidden me from the presence across the street. My heart was pounding unpleasantly fast. Some tough woman you are, I jeered at myself.
There is something very “edible” about Carlton. He always reminds me of hot chocolate and caramels in the winer, or the coconut smell of tanning lotion and the tang of barbecue in the summer.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Was the dialogue well accompanied by internal narration? I’ve read some books that had a lot of dialogue in it but not enough internal conflict, which made me really bummed because I like character development more. Nevertheless, this author is one of those that I plan to read soon!
Yes, Lily does share her internal thoughts with the readers as well, and that was very well done! I hope to continue with this series very soon, Faye 🙂
I knew this author had some mysteries out there but I haven’t heard of this one so I need to put it on my wishlist. 🙂
It’s really good, Stormi! I had this on my kindle for years, though… because I was disappointed with the last Sookie-books, I didn’t want to read Harris for a while. I really enjoyed Lily, though!
I should really try this series. I tried the first two Sookie Stackhouse books and loved the light and fun writing style. It was the blood sucking sex scenes that did me in, which this series wouldn’t have. Thanks for your review.
LOL blood sucking sex scenes!! There are no vampires in this series, Suzi, and Lily is a great character to follow.
I really like this series too. It was one of the first cozies I read 🙂
I started Harris with Sookie, and I also read the Harper Connelly series. This one is a little different, though, and I really enjoyed this first installment.
To be fair, CHarris is a fantastic mystery writer. So even if she messed up Sookie’s series in the end, I’d still read her past and future work.
I agree, Braine. Lily Bard is fun, and lighthearted, just like Sookie was in the beginning before she got too entangled in politics of different species…
I don’t think I’ll ever finish her Sookie series, maybe I should switch to this one… Great review, Lexxie !
I think not finishing the Sookie series is a good idea, Iza. I was disappointed with the last few books… it was as if the show had bled over to the novels.
I used to love the Sookie books but they went on for about six books too many !
The Lily Bard and the Aurora Teagarden novels are miles better, like sooo much better than Sookie. Glad you enjoyed it!
I’m glad to know Lily Bard and Aurora Teagarden are better, Heather! I believe I have some Teagarden books hidden somewhere on my kindle 😉
This story sounds very interesting. I prefer a story written in first person, and Lily sounds like a character that makes a story very interesting with her keen observations and sarcasm. I enjoy a good mystery and who-done-it. Awesome Review Lexx 🙂
Lily definitely makes things interesting, and I really loved both the fact that she was cleaning other people’s houses for a living, and that she was really good at martial arts!
This sounds pretty interesting Lexie. Lily and Sookie both began their books with limited friends… nice review girl!
Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace
Lily has a darker past than Sookie, Naomi, but it’s true that she started out with limited friends!
You know I’m not much of a mystery reader, Lexxie. But I think I might like a cozy by Ms. Harris. Lily sounds like a deep character and as I’m a fan of character development, I think I’d like to meet her. I’m glad you enjoyed this! (of course you realize I was immediately hooked when I saw Shakespeare in the title 😉 ) **BIG HUGS**
Not only is there Shakespeare in the title, Brandee, but Lily’s last name is Bard!! And I think you’ll enjoy her 🙂
I really enjoyed this book. A cozy mystery with bite. Like you and several of your commenters, I enjoyed the early Sookie books more than I did the later ones. I am sad though that there aren’t too many books in the Lily Bard series. I haven’t tried Harris’s latest series yet. Have you had a chance? I do want to give it a try at some point.
I have these on my to read someday list. I think they sound ever so intriguing and, of course, I love Shakespeare. 😀