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Shakespeare's Christmas [Hardcover]

Charlaine Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2000 A Lily Bard Mystery
Even in a sleepy Arkansas town, the holidays can be murder.

Lily Bard is going home for the holidays. More comfortable in baggy sweats than bridesmaid's frills, Lily isn't thrilled about attending her estranged sister's wedding. She has moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas, to start a new life, cleaning houses for a living, trying to forget the violence that once nearly destroyed her. Now she's heading back to home and hearth--just in time for murder.

The town's doctor and nurse have been bludgeoned to death at the office. And Lily's detective boyfriend suddenly shows up at her parents' door. Jack Leeds is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads straight to Lily's hometown. It just might have something to do with the murders...and her sister's widowed fiancé. With only three days before the wedding, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Harris, author of the Aurora Teagarden cozies, adds a touch of grit to her books featuring briskly efficient, 31-year-old Arkansas cleaning lady Lily Bard. Lily hides a traumatic past under a prickly exterior, but, in the series' third book (after Shakespeare's Champion, 1997), this karate expert lowers her defenses just long enough to reconcile with her family and help solve a series of grisly murders. Returning to her home town of Bartley (a stone's throw from her residence in Shakespeare, Ark.) for her sister Varena's wedding, Lily is plunged headlong into an eight-year-old kidnapping investigation after her lover and confidant, Jack Leeds, a PI with a questionable past, arrives to follow up an anonymous tip that the kidnapper and the missing girl are both in Bartley. When the town's beloved family practitioner, his nurse and a young mother are bludgeoned to death, suspicion falls on Varena's fiance—a widower who just happens to have an eight-year-old daughter. The investigation intensifies, and Lily uses her family connections and her impeccable cleaning skills to ferret out some crucial information. Harris tells a forceful story with a complex, flawed heroine who is wary of emotional attachments. The denizens of Bartley—the shrewd sheriff; old high-school classmates with long memories; Lily's loving but overprotective parents—form a memorable gallery of secondary characters. Harris's blend of cozy style with more hard-boiled elements isn't always smooth, but it's interesting to see her working toward a deeper complexity.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

At the first appearance of the maid Lily Bard in Shakespeare's Landlord , we predicted crime fiction's first cleaning-lady series. It's nice to be on the money (at least once in a while), for here is Lily in her third adventure. And she's in rare form, too, as she steels herself to visit her family on the occasion of her sister Varena's wedding. Lily, physically and psychologically scarred by a horrifying sexual assault years before, still finds it hard to attend social events as she struggles with her wariness and distrust of all people. But she is overwhelmingly happy when her PI friend Jack Leeds shows up for the prenuptial festivities. Jack is on a case--an unsolved kidnapping of a small baby some years back, a baby that might very well be the eight-year-old daughter of Varena's fiance . Lily does the only thing she can--help Jack resolve the case before the wedding. Lily Bard is one of the best-drawn and most compelling characters in contemporary mystery fiction--complex, smart, streetwise, tough. Add tight plotting and a smooth style, and it's no surprise that Harris has reached a new high. Don't miss it. Stuart Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Holidays Can Be Murder... Jan. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the third book in the Lily Bard mystery series and it takes the reader out of Shakespeare, Arkansas to Lily's hometown. Lily is less than thrilled about going home for the holidays, especially when her sister's wedding is involved. She loves her family, but things just haven't been the same since she was violently assaulted years ago. To add to her notoriety, Lily manages to nab a purse natcher within a few days of her arrival and then is the first to walk in on a brutal double homicide. Before the buzz even begins to die down, Lily's detective boyfriend Jack Leeds shows up at the wedding rehearsal. Much as Lily would like to think that Jack showed up to offer her his moral support in her time of need, she knows better. Jack is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads right to Lily's hometown - and her sister's widowed fiance. With only three days before the wedding and corpses piling up all over town, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Charlaine Harris should be congratulated for her fantastic characterization and plot pacing. Many reviewers critized this book for having Lily be too soft and/or too much of her and too little of the mystery. They seem to have completely missed the point. Lily is softer in this book because she is at home and is different there. Everyone acts slightly differently when they go home, especially when they have been away for a long time, as Lily has been. As far as there being too much Lily and too little mystery, I thought that this book gave the reader a chance to learn a little bit more about Lily and what makes her tick.
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By conrad
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the third Shakespeare book featuring Lily Bard, the victim of gang-rape years earlier (and consequently murdering one of the rapists), the former future-housewife turned cleaning lady is on a visit home, to attend her sister Varena's wedding... right before Christmas.
She has barely settled down in her hometown of Bartley, Arkansas, when the small town's doctor and nurse are killed... and she, along with her sister, are the first ones to find them. Sooner than later, her lover - Jack Leeds - comes to town. Being a detective, he is planning on finding out who kidnapped Summer Dawn, eight years before.
Lily joins in on the investigation, planning to help Jack, since she's a native to the town. When one of three girls, who may or may not be Summer Dawn, turns out to be her sister's future husband's daughter, it becomes personal.
In this exciting tale of murder, kidnapping, and some really confusing clues, the reader will be unable to put down this novel. I wasn't especially fond of the first book in the series, and picked this one up - and was pleasantly surprised. If the rest are up to the standards set by this book, there will be no way I won't be getting them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nicer and nicer April 25 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This fourth book in the Lily Bard/Shakespeare series continues the trend and is better than the third book. This is the first, and only book, to take place outside Shakespeare, Arkansas. This visit home was a nice way to fill out Lily Bard's character and the action/mystery at home is compelling. A very nicely written story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Holidays Can Be Murder... Jan. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the third book in the Lily Bard mystery series and it takes the reader out of Shakespeare, Arkansas to Lily's hometown. Lily is less than thrilled about going home for the holidays, especially when her sister's wedding is involved. She loves her family, but things just haven't been the same since she was violently assaulted years ago. To add to her notoriety, Lily manages to nab a purse natcher within a few days of her arrival and then is the first to walk in on a brutal double homicide. Before the buzz even begins to die down, Lily's detective boyfriend Jack Leeds shows up at the wedding rehearsal. Much as Lily would like to think that Jack showed up to offer her his moral support in her time of need, she knows better. Jack is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads right to Lily's hometown - and her sister's widowed fiance. With only three days before the wedding and corpses piling up all over town, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Charlaine Harris should be congratulated for her fantastic characterization and plot pacing. Many reviewers critized this book for having Lily be too soft and/or too much of her and too little of the mystery. They seem to have completely missed the point. Lily is softer in this book because she is at home and is different there. Everyone acts slightly differently when they go home, especially when they have been away for a long time, as Lily has been. As far as there being too much Lily and too little mystery, I thought that this book gave the reader a chance to learn a little bit more about Lily and what makes her tick.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Mystery With Great Characters Oct. 18 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lilly Bard is a very interesting character. Her life has been shaped by a brutal assault and rape when she was young. Now, at age 31, she has worked her way back to a fairly normal life. She is strong, capable, and a little prickly, but likeable. In this, the third book of the series, Lilly has returned to her hometown for her sister's wedding. Along with her boyfriend, Jack (a private investigator), she is trying to piece together several recent murders in town that may or may not be related to a child abduction eight years previously. The premise for this story is a good one and it is very well plotted, but it is the characters that make it special. I haven't read the two previous books in this series, but I didn't feel lost. In fact, the references to past events just added a little more mystery. I am looking forward to getting to know these characters better in the earlier and future books in this series.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Series Has Deteriorated
In the third outing featuring Lily Bard, cleaning lady extraordinaire from Shakespeare, AR, agrees to attend her sister's wedding in their home town - a town she left when her life... Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2001 by P. Bigelow
2.0 out of 5 stars The heroine's personal life overshadows the mystery.
This series features Lily Bard, an emotionally and physically scarred cleaning lady with a penchant for solving mysteries. Read more
Published on July 15 2000 by Sharon Wylie
5.0 out of 5 stars A great cozy with a dark edge!
Once again, the complex world of Lily Bard shows that, although you can go home again, you'd better watch out what happens once you get there. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2000 by Maria Y. Lima
2.0 out of 5 stars Good story but the writing was pretty awful.
The story of Lilly Bard visiting her family for her sister's wedding and helping solve a mystery with her detective boyfriend was pretty good. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A Darker Side Of Cozy
I really enjoyed this third chapter in the life of Lily Bard, a cleaning woman with a bent for cleaning up murder mysteries. Read more
Published on April 4 1999 by abnaki@concentric.net
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written and charactered series.
If you haven't met Lily Bard of Shakespeare, Ak, you are in for a rare treat in the mystery genre. A victim of gang rape, coupled with a vicious knifing, Lily has reinvented... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery with deep insight into the Bard (Lily)
Lily Bard is sorry that she has to return to her hometown of Bartley, Tennessee to attend her sister's wedding. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 1998
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