I’ve mentioned before that part of my story as a reader includes the years I was into mysteries. I haven’t really picked up a good murder mystery since Dan Browns’ The Da Vinci Code, so I was ready for one. Plus, mysteries are just good quick summer reads.
I was sent a copy of The Shakespeare Conspiracy by Jeffrey Hunter McQuain to read and review which is perfect because A) mystery and B) Shakespeare!
Christopher Klewe and his best friend Mason Everly, a fellow Shakespeare expert, were about to make a ground-breaking announcement regarding the Bard at The Globe Theater in London when Klewe finds out Everly has been murdered in Washington D.C. by a secret society. As Klewe finds out about the murder a reporter, Zelda Hart, loiters around and ends up joining him as he searches for answers about the killer. The search leads the pair from D.C. to Paris, London, and Stratford Upon Avon.
I will admit that when I started reading the book, I found the names of the characters pretty cheesy, but as I continued to read, I really didn’t care. The Shakespeare Conspiracy is just a great, traditional murder-mystery that keeps you turning pages. All the chapters are super short, but end on some sort of cliff-hanger that makes you say, “eh, what is one more chapter? They’re short!” Before you know it, you’ve blown through the whole book in a matter of days.
McQuain has a PhD in Literary Studies from American University and is an expert himself on The Bard. The information he injects in the story is fascinating and helps to move the plot along. The information both Everly and Klewe have about Shakespeare and the announcement they planned to make about him is fed to the reader as it is fed to Zelda via Klewe. Like other historical or literary conspiracy-based fictional mysteries, this one is chocked full of research, but it’s not weighted down by it.
The only part I find lacking (besides the goofy names) is that the characters lack an emotional connection. The reader gets that there are friendships and romantic feelings, but it isn’t done very well. It’s not distracting, however, since few murder mysteries focus on the emotions, rather they feed on the logic of the reader.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it as an easy, light summer read. Especially if you want to learn a little something about one of the world’s greatest writers.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The book was sent to me for review, but the opinions are all mine. Links are affiliate which means if you click and buy I will get a few dimes thrown my way.