Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review: Shakespeare's Landlord

Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: Recommended by Raidergirl; Triple 8 Challenge Mystery list; April book for Every Month is a Holiday Challenge (April 23, Shakespeare's birthday)

First line: "I gathered myself, my bare feet gripping the wooden floor, my thigh muscles braced for the attack."

Summary (from Booklist): Charlaine Harris "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."

My thoughts: Charlaine Harris seems like a very prolific writer - I've had people recommend her for both vampire lit and Southern lit. I think I'll definitely be checking out more of her work, because I enjoyed this book. To me it wasn't so much about the mystery (I didn't really care who had killed Pardon, the landlord), it was about Lily and her relationships with her clients and the other townspeople of Shakespeare. Harris sucks you in immediately, wondering why Lily walks alone at night, why she takes martial arts, and what caused her terrible scars. Lily is smart and sardonic and I enjoyed her progression from being utterly guarded and alone to starting to trust and like other people. We learn about the town and its people (many of whom are suspects) through Lily's housecleaning jobs - ditzy blonde Deedra, whose rent-paying step-daddy wouldn't like to know she's sleeping with a black man; "reformed" drunk and church janitor Norvel, who has a violent streak; hunky martial arts instructor Marshall and his estranged wife Thea, who has a dark side the townspeople have never seen and police chief Claude Friedrich, who's in charge of finding the killer and finds himself intrigued by Lily.

A dark, suspenseful book with an ass-kicking heroine!


Vasilly said...

I'm putting this on my TBR list!

raidergirl3 said...

Glad you enjoyed it. Nothing to deep, but not fluffy either. Perfect little mystery.

And it's a 5 part series, which seems readable. I like that it ended, with a bit of closure.

tinylittlelibrarian said...

NV - I hope you enjoy it! :)

Raidergirl - That is a good number, do-able. Perhaps I'll read the whole thing after all, then. I'm getting wary of starting series, what with so many on the TBR list!!

Jill said...

I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and I've been meaning to read the next one in the series. Somehow I got sidetracked from that, but now that I've read your review I'll be sure to pick up #2 soon. I'm visiting here from Dewey's Weekly Geeks post, and I've enjoyed rambling through your blog!

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Darla - Thanks for visiting! I'll be picking up #2, too. But I can relate to the getting sidetracked - there's always another book waiting in the wings!