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Shakespeare's Champion [Hardcover]

Charlaine Harris
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 15 1997 A Lily Bard Mystery
Shakespeare, Arkansas, is a small Southern town with plenty of secrets, and Harris's Lily Bard, fresh from the acclaimed "Shakespeare's Landlord", just one more of its residents with a shadowy past and a desire to live quietly. She's a cleaning woman with remarkable access to Shakespeare's homes--and private lives. Lily reluctantly turns sleuth again when a fellow fitness devotee is found dead at the gym, a barbell across his throat.

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From Amazon

No steel magnolia, Lily Bart is one blunt, tough Southern woman--a tiny, karate-chopping, bodybuilding dynamo who's come to Shakespeare, Arkansas, to restart her life after a series of traumatic events just hinted at in this second novel in Charlaine Harris's series (after Shakespeare's Landlord). When she slips into her gym for an early morning workout and finds Del Packard with a barbell across his throat, she doesn't think for more than a second that it's an accident. Not when it's the third death in a couple of months in a town hardly big enough for its own WalMart. Then the blue broadsheets with thinly veiled hints of white supremacist activity start turning up under the windshield wipers of every car on Main Street. Lily's a relative newcomer to Shakespeare, but as a cleaning woman for the local landed gentry, she's privy to many secrets that most outsiders never learn. When a handsome stranger keeps turning up at the scene of an increasingly bizarre series of events, including a burglary at one of her regular clients and a bombing in a black church, she suspects he may be more than an innocent bystander. Which is too bad, because he stirs up desires that Lily hasn't felt for any man for a very long time. Lily Bard is a complex woman who embodies many of the contradictions of the modern South--its dark side as well as its charm--and this suspenseful, deftly written novel will send new fans scrambling to read its predecessor. --Jane Adams

From Kirkus Reviews

The author's strong, often silent heroine, Lily Bard, and Shakespeare, Arkansas, her adopted hometown, in a second appearance (Shakespeare's Landlord, 1996). Lily cleans houses for a living and works out at the BodyTime Gym. There, early one morning, she and young Bobo Winthrop discover the body of fitness enthusiast Del Packard--crushed by a weight-laden bar. Accident or murder? Police Chief Claude Freidrich, Lily's neighbor and would-be lover, doesn't have a clue. Meanwhile, Packard's death seems yet more evidence of the town's sinister atmosphere, a sense of unease going back to the not-long-ago beating death of black Darnell Glass and the killing, a few weeks later, of white farmer Lee Elgin--neither murder ever solved. Now, the racist fliers placed in car windows around town don't help. Then there's the pony-tailed stranger seen with Hollis Winthrop Jr.--one of Lily's employers and head of his family's lucrative sporting- goods business now that patriarch Hollis Sr. has retired. A frightening act of violence in the black community church prompts the stranger to reveal his true identity to Lily, and it's she, with help from an unexpected source, who rescues him as the whole ugly scenario unravels. Wheels within wheels in a suspenseful story packed with nasty characters, a few good guys, some graphic sex, and more exercise and karate lore than you ever wanted to know. Lily's stubborn, moody, gutsy persona holds it all together, and most readers will be with her to the finish. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Lily Bard fled her Tennessee home, expecting to find peace by moving to the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas. Though she works hard as a cleaning woman, for a while, Lily enjoys her new surroundings, but ugly change is in the air. Repressed prejudices rise to the surface, polarizing the black and whites into two opposing communities, and a dangerous militia is starting to surface.
To save his town from the dangerous schism and to protect his father, who he feels has fallen in with nasty individuals, the town's leading citizen hires an outsider, Jack Leeds, to identify the ringleaders. The detective, from the same hometown that Lily is from, has his own scandalous past. Jack and Lily develop a deep emotional bond that may be the only thing that could save both of them from a rising threat to their very lives.
The sequel to SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD (which was named as one of "Mostly Murders'" top 10) is as good and, in some ways, better than its predecessor. SHAKESPEARE'S CHAMPION embodies a first rate mystery, but this time also includes a special relationship drama about two wounded soldiers who heal each other through their love for one another. Charlaine Harris' newest entry deserves top ten consideration again.
Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read. Well developed characters July 7 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this second installment of the Shakespeare series. Lily Bard and the other residents of Shakespeare are interesting and well developed. Lily continues to try to find a normal life while tripping over her past and dead bodies. Jack is a welcome addition to the people who change and interact with each other while death and mayhem stroll through the streets of this small town. Lily's occupation as a house cleaner gives her an inside look at the way people really live and makes her a part of their lives, whether she wants to be or not. In this story, racial hatred allows vicious men to give a reason for their hatred. Lily and Jack must fight for their lives against a family hiding a secret. Throughly entertaining.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Racial tensions in Shakespeare Aug. 29 2003
Lily Bard tries to keep her unhappy past at a distance by working out at the local gym and doing a job, cleaning houses, which keeps her occupied and takes her mind off her past. While going into the gym, she discovers a local bodybuilder with a barbell across his neck. This and other incidents lead Lily to believe that racial problems are getting out of hand in her adopted Arkansas town. She teams up with a handsome detective and they search for the truth, almost afraid of what they may find out about their fellow townspeople. This book is a little too dark to classify as a cozy, but it does make for a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Series Nov. 3 2001
By A Customer
I've read all four books in this series, and am looking forward to the fifth. This is one of the best. Lily's actions and attitudes ring true with her past, and it's fascinating watching her guard go down in small ways as she starts to let people into her life. The mysteries are intruging, and the characters (Jack is a solid addition) fit the setting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good continuation April 24 2003
This second book in the Lily Bard/Shakespeare series was nicely written and entertaining. Ms. Harris did a terrific job weaving the plot and introducing Jack Leeds. This story brings together the rather sick thoughts hidden behind the gentile Southern manner of a few of the Shakespeare mighty. My my, what you don't know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a quick read, with a fast moving plot Aug. 29 1998
By A Customer
the best book by harris yet. she uses a variety of incidences to prove a point. the characters blend into the mysterious town. a super read, not dull or repetitive. does not copy other novels. stands out.
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