6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not Quite There...,
This review is from: Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
After becoming a big Charlaine Harris fan throughout her Sookie Stackhouse novels, I was eager to give some other books of hers a go. I started with Shakespeare's Landlord because of two things; a)it was written by Charlaine Harris and b) I love cosy mysteries in small towns. However, I was left slightly disappointed by this one.
The story was relatively under-developed. We got a great sense of the community and the characters, however the main plot involving our heroine Lily Bard investigating a murder wasn't as strong as it could have been. In fact, I think that more time could have been spent on Lily's investigation because until the ninth or tenth chapter all she seems to do is go around houses cleaning them and going to her martial arts class where she strikes up a romantic relationship with her instructor. That was all fine, it was written well and it was interesting, but it wasn't a mystery. She does think about the murder, but she doesn't really be proactive about solving it, and even when she does, the police have already solved it by the time she puts the pieces together.
That said the character of Lily Bard is a fantastic one. In a lot of ways she carries the book because she's a very socially awkward person due to her dark past, which is addressed throughout the book. She hasn't had an easy life and she doesn't socialise well, and she finds herself having to become involved with more and more people because of the murder. She is a strong character, however she does have her weaknesses, again due to her past, and often she doesn't make a great effort with people and she can be cold, but I think this is a realistic portrayal of a person in Lily's situation.
The rest of the characters range form filling a purpose to showing sings of becoming great characters if given the chance to grow, especially the local policeman and Lily's neighbour Claude Friedrich who over the course of the book becomes something of a friend to Lily.
The writing is good, perhaps better than in the Sookie books, but I think that is down to the Lily character being so different to Sookie and Charlaine does a good job of creating a lovely little town in rural Arkansas named Shakespeare, which adds to the charm of the book.
So, I would recommend this book for Charlaine fans, but if like me you are a regular reader of cosy mysteries then there are a lot more out there which have slightly stronger plots and more intrigue, as I felt the ending to this book was rushed and a lot of the explaining was done on the last couple of pages and comes out of nowhere almost as if Harris had remembered at the last minute she needed to wrap things up.