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Shakespeare's Landlord [Mass Market Paperback]

Charlaine Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 7 1997 A Lily Bard Mystery
Lily Bard is a loner. Other than the day-to-day workings of her cleaning and errand-running service, she pays little attention to the town around her. But when her landlord is murdered, Lily is singled out as the prime suspect, and proving her innocence will depend on finding the real killer in quiet, secretive Shakespeare.

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From Publishers Weekly

While on a late-night job in tiny Shakespeare, Ark., Lily Bard, 31, sees a furtive figure placing large plastic garbage bags in the local park and, untying one, discovers the body of her former landlord. In a quick but anonymous phone call (she is determined to avoid any questioning), she reports it to the police chief. With skill and wry wit, Harris, the author of the Aurora Teagarden series, soon reveals the horrific facts in Lily's background that explain why she is solitary, confrontational, obsessed with self-defense—and why she chooses, despite a first-rate education, to eke out a living as a cleaning woman. Realizing, however, that her fingerprints on the body of the dead man might make her a suspect, Lily subtly and insightfully queries her customers, some of them tenants of the murdered landlord, in the process meticulously evaluating their closets, drawers and motives. The renters are a well-defined lot: a happily promiscuous idler; a sanctimonious and hypocritical reverend; and an aging couple with much to grieve about. As Lily investigates, she develops a wary but cordial relationship with the police chief and forms a warmer tie with her karate instructor. But at the same time, someone has discovered the unspeakable facts about Lily's past and has begun stalking her. Harris's finely tuned, colorful and suspenseful tale, filled with vigorous and unique characters, will leave readers hoping it's the start of a series.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Harris, author of the Aurora Teagarden series, now introduces Lily Bard, resident of Shakespeare, Arkansas, a woman fiercely protective of her privacy, determined to succeed as a one-woman cleaning agency, and just as fiercely determined to excel in karate. When the unpopular and very nosy owner of the apartment building next door is murdered and the body dumped in the local park, Lily reports the body to the police--anonymously. The local police chief, however, is nobody's fool and quickly discovers Lily's involvement and her own past, which makes her a possible suspect. Given the situation and, since she cleans for many of the other possible suspects, some opportunities, Lily decides that the only way to clear her name is to find the real killer. Harris has created an intriguing new character in this solidly plotted story. Expect more from crime fiction's first cleaning-lady series. Stuart Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I GATHERED MYSELF, MY BARE FEET GRIPPING THE wooden floor, my thigh muscles braced for the attack. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Beginning to a Series April 15 2004
By Essay
The author was recommended by the same friend who got me started on Laurel K. Hamilton, although she was indicating the vampire series, not the Shakespeare one. However, in reading a bio on the author, I discovered she now lives in my hometown, so figured I'd give her Arkansas based series a try first. The heroine, Lily, shows some signs of potential "Kick Arse Heroine Whom No One Can Defeat" syndrome, which I hope is only my wariness from the hugely disappointing Anita Blake books. However, Lily does frequently fall flat on her face, and perhaps the indications of gathering a harem will be banished in other books. As for the story, it is a nice little murder mystery, if a little too-pat and a bit unsatisfactory on the actual Whodunit. I will try the next to see if she irons out the kinks (one of which is a major geographic goof!).
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've enjoyed Ms. Harris's works for years, well before this series began, and when I ran across it, I was thrilled.
My first reading, however, proved disappointing. I was used to the lighter, humorous tone of the Aurora Teagarden series and was a bit unprepared for the darker Lily Bard.
And then, I loosened up and let myself go with it, and I'm all the better for it. I have encountered few characters as well drawn as Lily Bard. She is an incredibly complex character, yet painted so deftly that the reader gets a full sense of her person. While it is much easier to accomplish this feat with the first-person, as is used here, Ms. Harris allows us to learn about Lily primarily through her actions and interactions with others.
The plot itself is not out of the ordinary--someone's dead, Lily is suspected, she must find the real killer before the cops close in on her, but it's the main character that makes this novel stand out. Why, oh why hasn't someone bought the movie rights to this series?!?
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5.0 out of 5 stars To See or Not to See... Dec 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
To Lily Bard, the small, sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas is the perfect place to hide her past. After being brutally gang raped years before, Lily has painstakingly rebuilt her life. She is now must stronger physically and is gaining confidence in her martial arts studies. However, she still disguises her looks and maintains a low profile. After all, housecleaners aren't exactly noticed. But all of that changes when she witnesses a murder...
Suddenly she is faced with a difficult choice - to share what she has learned with the police and lose her hard-won anonymity and gain unwanted attention or to pretend that she never saw anything. Then her married karate instructor starts showing a passionate interest in her and her plan of a private, well-ordered life comes unhinged. Meanwhile, the killer of an unlamented landlord is lurking nearby. And while Lily knows the inside dirt on her neighbors' dust, drawers and private lives, she must admit to a secret of her own: that in the shadow of a brutal murder, she is coming alive again...
This is a short, well-written mystery that will hook you on the Shakespeare/Lily Bard series written so ably by Charlaine Harris. Lily is a fascinating character as she is so strong/tough and yet has her softer side and her weaknesses. In short, she is human. The way she solves the murder is quite entertaining as she uses her knowledge of cleaning the various locations in Shakespeare to eliminate suspects as she goes along. I found the book to be quite humorous as Lily has a wry, dry sense of humor that is very appealing. I highly recommend this book to mystery buffs and for those who enjoyed any of Mrs. Harris' other books. It is unfortunate that books 2 & 3 in the series are out of print, but if I was able to hunt them down, you can too - its well worth it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lily Bard is a character worth knowing. July 4 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I didn't get caught up in this book for the mystery. I cared so little about the mystery that I didn't try to solve it. I was too caught up with the heroine, Lily Bard. I understand how she feels. What I went through was extremely mild compared to the horror that happened to Ms. Bard, though I was so young I didn't have a name for what happened to me. I must compliment Ms. Harris for her portrayal of a former victim (a term I prefer to "survivor" because it contains both the idea that the victimhood is in the past and that the person was wronged, which "survivor" does not -- and I know English too well to be able to convince myself that I would feel "empowered" by calling myself a "survivor", thank you very much). I find Ms. Bard's feelings about her past utterly convincing. I not only have NO problem with the decision she made during her ordeal, I applaud it (and I spit on her family for their reaction)! The only thing I didn't like about this book was the fact that a separated man didn't wait until his divorce was final before having sex with a woman other than his couldn't-be-"ex"-soon-enough wife. I am getting the sequel. (Note to Ms. Harris: These days the term is "safer sex" -- condoms aren't foolproof protection. I am glad that you bother to address the topic, though. Too many writers don't.)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging heroine, flawed plot Aug. 3 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Don't get me wrong: I liked Lily Bard. She's strong, private, has secrets, is self-disciplined and self reliant, keeps in good physical shape and can destroy a man with a quick karate chop. Besides, her house is obsessively neat and she brings that same sense of order to the other houses she cleans for people.

And I like Charlaine Harris' view of small town America, with its tawdry secrets and perversions. The town of Shakespeare is populated with people I know, and Lily Bard and I chuckled at how seriously they take themselves and their small passions.

But why would anyone want to kill the landlord? He was no better or worse than any of the rest of them, and his shadowy self is not finely enough drawn in this novel to provoke even the smallest curiousity about why he was mangled and his corpse elaborately hidden in the apartment complex. Lily Bard and the society she lives in are the reason I read the book with interest: the plot is superfluous at best
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Awesome, I have read most of her different series and really enjoy them. I took this one on vacation and ended up having to download the other 4 to my kindle
Published 4 months ago by larissa
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Light Read
I found this book an easy read & was finished the book in an afternoon.
The characters are interresting and you can actually figure out 'who-done-it'. Read more
Published on March 21 2011 by Jennifer Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting start to the series.
Usually the mystery genre isn't really my thing but this book is an exception. The mystery itself wasn't really anything special but the heroine is the most interesting character... Read more
Published on June 11 2004 by "celes1"
3.0 out of 5 stars Good and interesting
I enjoyed this first book in the Lily Bard/Shakespeare series. The mystery is not one with too many twists and turns, but the characters, especially the protagonist, are nice to... Read more
Published on April 24 2003 by ProudBookWorm
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining read!
Another of Ms. Harris's small town quiet heroines. Well written with a good pace; I liked it well enough to seek out the rest of the series.
Published on Oct. 29 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars I like this author a lot...
I like the works of author Charlaine Harris a lot and this book is no exception. I enjoyed this story. I thought the plot was interesting and intriguing. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2002 by "jakimason"
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and quick read
I think Harris is an excellent writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the second I've read by her. Read more
Published on June 23 2001 by Shirley B. Gedney
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing heroine.
This book kept me glued. It wasn't so much the plot but the characters that were utterly believable. I'll certainly be looking for more of Lily Bard.
Published on Jan. 6 1999
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