The DeVere Papers

Written by Michael Langford
Review by Fenella Miller

The De Vere Papers is set in 1868, at a fictional college in Cambridge. The papers in question throw doubt on the authenticity of William Shakespeare having written the work that is attributed to him. When the librarian is murdered and the papers relating to De Vere are stolen, Dr Simon Weatherspoon, a divinity scholar, investigates. However, he is hiding a secret of his own. When he meets the feminist critic, Theresa Brown, he wishes he could be open with her. Lord FitzSimmons, and someone undiscovered, is also searching not only in the last papers but also very hidden treasure.

Although this book is a light and amusing read, filled with charming illustrations, it is hard to become involved with the characters, which are sketchily drawn. It is written from an omnipresent narrator’s point of view, with long passages of unnecessary description and historical facts and very little dialogue.