The Slaying of the Shrew
What an entertaining revision of history! William Shakespeare, struggling young poet, player and would-be playwright — a detective? His friend and assistant in this, the second in a series, is Symington “Tuck” Smythe, also a would-be thespian, and not very good at it. As the title suggests, Will would later convert portions of this particular case into one of his more famous plays. Even more humorous is how Will’s ears prick up at various phrases he hears around him–phrases that even the least learned of Shakespearean scholars realize he will adapt and use later in his career.
The two detectives make a great pair. Shakespeare is an observer of people; his partner, more down-to-earth, is an observer of things. Tuck also is in love with a girl far above his station, a hopeless affair, and while amusing, that and the squalor, and the sometimes dispassionate view of death, will help remind the reader that life in England in the late 16th century was truly not all pomp and splendor.