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Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1)

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Overview

When cleaning lady Lily Bard discovers the dead body of her nosy landlord, her plan of starting a quiet new life may end in her death.

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Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1)

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Overview

When cleaning lady Lily Bard discovers the dead body of her nosy landlord, her plan of starting a quiet new life may end in her death.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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-defenseand 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. (July)
Stuart Miller
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.
Kirkus Reviews
A new heroine for the author of the Aurora Teagarden series (The Julius House, 1995, etc.), and a far cry from that southern belle. Lily Bard owns a tiny house, next door to a small apartment building, in the tiny town of Shakespeare. She cleans houses, offices, and apartments for a living, has made no friends in her four years in Shakespeare, and spends her leisure time in fitness and karate classes run by Marshall Sedaka. Late one night, on a lonely walk, Lily sees a hooded figure pushing her loaded garbage wagon to a park across the street. Its burden turns out to be the body of Pardon Albee, nosy landlord of the apartment house. Lily anonymously calls Police Chief Claude Friedrich to report it, but her fiercely hidden past, now known to Friedrich, raises his suspicions. And so Lily feels driven to look for Albee's killer among his tenants and the townspeople—Marshall's estranged wife Thea; tenants Deedra Dean and Tom O'Hagan; and nasty drunk Norvel Whitbread, the church janitor, are only some of Shakespeare's citizens with things to hide. It takes Lily a while to come up with the right answers, even as her massive psychological sores begin to heal.

The gripping tension of the opening chapters evaporates quickly; there's also an overload of sex sessions and karate lore. Still, Lily's an ingratiating heroine, and the author's easy style makes this one an engaging breeze.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425206867
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Series: Lily Bard Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 134,737
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlaine Harris
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Charlaine Harris is best known for her paranormal mysteries -- a sly, wry blend of humor, horror, that has been called "cozies with teeth."

Biography

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Charlaine Harris grew up in a family of avid readers (her father was a teacher; her mother a librarian). She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, graduating in 1973 with a degree in English and Communication Arts. Although she penned poetry and plays in school, her first serious foray into fiction was with two standalone novels, Sweet and Deadly and A Secret Rage, published (effortlessly!) in the early 1980s.

After her early success, Harris released the first installment in a series of lighthearted mysteries starring spunky, small-town Georgia librarian, true crime enthusiast, and amateur sleuth Aurora Teagarden. When Aurora debuted in Real Murders (1990), Publishers Weekly welcomed "a heroine as capable and potentially complex as P. D. James's Cordelia Gray." The book went on to receive an Agatha Award nomination.

Anxious for another challenge, Harris began a second series in 1996. Darker and edgier than the Teagarden novels, these mysteries featured taciturn, 30-something housecleaner Lily Bard, a woman with a complicated past who has moved to the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, to find peace and solitude. The first novel, Shakespeare's Landlord, was well-received. BookList raved: "Harris has created an intriguing new character in this solidly plotted story." [Much to the disappointment of her fans, Harris concluded the Lilly Bard sequence in 2001 with Shakespeare's Counselor.]

Although Harris achieved moderate success with these two series (which she laughingly describes as "cozies with teeth"), she would hit the jackpot in 2001 with Dead Until Dark, a sly, spoofy paranormal mystery starring a telepathic Louisiana cocktail waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, who falls in love with a vampire named Bill. The novel, a delightful hybrid of mystery, science fiction, and romance, was an instant hit with critics. ("Harris' Sookie has the potential to attract more readers than Hamilton's Anita Blake," raved the dark fantasy magazine Cemetery Dance.) Readers, too, adored the Southern Vampire Series and have rewarded the author with bestseller after bestseller. (In 2008, the Sookie saga came to HBO in a top-rated television adaptation, True Blood, starring Anna Paquin.)

With 2006's Grave Sight, Harris added yet another fascinating character to her stable -- a young woman named Harper Connelly whose youthful encounter with a lightning bolt has left her with the ability to find corpses and determine how they died. In addition to juggling characters and plots for her popular series, Harris has also contributed short stories and novellas to several anthologies of paranormal fantasy fiction.

Good To Know

In our interview, Harris confesses:

"I'm really a boring person. My family (my husband and three children) is the most important thing in my life. I go to bed early, I get up early. I love to go to the movies with my husband. My favorite things about finally making some money as a writer are (a) I can buy as many books as I want, and (b) I can hire a maid. The first job I had was working in an offset darkroom at a very small newspaper. I stood on a concrete floor all day and made minimum wage -- which then was $1.60 an hour. I hated it, and I learned a lot, though not necessarily about working in a darkroom. So being a writer is much better."

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    1. Hometown:
      Southern Arkansas
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tunica, Mississippi
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 239 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(108)

4 Star

(73)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 240 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    This series is truly her best. I read the Sookie books and look forward to the next one, but this was deeper without the vampires. I read all five books in four weeks. I am sad their are no more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    A great series I have just discovered

    I have read Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series, and I enjoyed it. I am still finding titles that I was unable to get before. So when I was at my local Barnes & Noble and saw this series about Lily Bard, I decided to try it. I loved this book, and went back the next day and bought the rest of the series that was available. (I had to order one.) Lily is an off-beat character with a dark history. I really enjoyed this series. It is very different from the Aurora Teagarden stories, but Lily is excellent in her own way. I enjoy the difference. I wish there were more of these stories!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This first book in a series by Charlaine Harris catches your interest and doesn't let go until the surprising end. Be prepared for a mystery take multiple turns and challenges your mind right up to the end. No paranormal charters proves Ms. Harris is able to take ordinary daily events and put them into a puzzle you will not soon forget.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    Lily is a harder character than Sookie or Aurora. The series is

    Lily is a harder character than Sookie or Aurora. The series is well written with Ms. Harris's signature dash of lovable rascals, and sneaky villains, and wry humor. I do love the flattering light that the author paints the south with. I am a southerner, I love the authentic southern characters, and cultural quirks. This series starts out with Lily trying to get by, and be unnoticed. A dark past haunts her, and she is desperate for a sense of normalcy. Since this is a mystery though she finds herself pulled into something, and her past is revealed to the small town she lives in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Love lily bard!

    Really love the character and the town that this book is set in. Glad its one of a series. Will be reading the next one!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If you like Charlaine Harris...

    Charlaine Harris consistently delivers good mysteries. This one does not disappoint. I can't believe she stopped writing this series nearly ten years ago. I hope she picks it up again! I also hope Barnes and Noble will e-publish the last two books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Lily Bard kicks a__ and solves mysteries !

    This is the last Charlaine Harris' series I found. Don't judge this book by the synopsis on the back cover - Lily Bard is brave,complicated and
    battered by life but still empowered and moving ahead. I really appreciate
    how Charlaine Harris' writes the characters in all her books - especially
    the wommen. None of the central characters are typical or stereotypes. I have now read all the Lily Bard books and recommend them highly. Definitely sorry to finish the last one .I kept them all to read again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Quick Beach Read!

    This is a quick read and enjoyable. Not like the Sookie Stackhouse series however the main character is dark with a past and likeable. The Lily Bard series will be great for reading at the beach and snowy days! If you liked the Sookie Stackhouse series, you will like this series without the vampires.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disturbing, but important!

    This novel is a far cry from Ms. Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, which I loved for their light and spritely dialog, and their fanciful and fun mileau.

    This book is neither light nor spritely, nor is its mileau fanciful or fun!

    Its story is disturbing, and Ms. Harris' language, pacing, and,"punch" (pun intended) are appropriate for the its topic and its message.

    Every woman should read this book if only to know what to "watch out for", and maybe to know how to "handle and respond to" violence against women.

    Sure....not every woman will be violated, but who's to say it won't happen to you?

    Read this book and become aware and prepared, just in case! The life you save may be your own!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read

    I am a big Charlaine Harris fan, and this book did not disappoint. I really enjoyed reading it. Lily Bard is intriguing, mysterious, and full of faults... I liked the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    It took me a while to actually get into this book. Now that I have finished it, I can't quit thinking about the rest of the series. It isn't the best book I have ever read, but someone Charlaine Harris was able to get me hooked.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    Didn't care, so didn't finish

    I just couldn't get into this book, and I gave it several more chapters than I normally would because of her Sookie Stackhouse novels. However, I just couldn't bring myself to care about Lily or the murder or any of the characters in this book. There are so many good books out there, why waste your time with a mediocre story? Eventually, I just gave it to the library without finishing it. My advice is to save your money and don't waste your time.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2001

    A great quick murder read

    I loved this book it made me feel empowered and got me back into the gym. For women who value our strength this book is a must read.Lily becomes the familiar acquaintance that you always wish you knew better. This series is incredible and difficult the murders almost seem an excuse to learn more about Lily. Lily's tenacity and strength make her an invaluable heroine. Lily has a past that is haunting for weeks after reading the book and her recover transpires as she grows into her new comunity in Shakespeare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 out of 5 stars A great beginning to a new (for me) myste

    3.5 out of 5 stars




    A great beginning to a new (for me) mystery series. I really enjoyed Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books, and these books promise to be good, too. The main character is Lily Bard, a person who is trying to hide from her terrible past. She has been living in the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas for four years when the landlord of the apartment building where she works as a cleaning lady is murdered. Lily becomes involved in the hunt for the murderer, and thus sets the stage for the story. 




    I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised about many parts of this book. I was expecting a cozy mystery, something similar to Murder She Wrote or the Crossword Lady books. Instead I got something a bit more complex, with a protagonist that was more Kinsey Milhone (from Sue Grafton's Alphabet series) than Jessica Fletcher. I liked that Lily is a strong, though damaged woman, fighting the demons of her past. In fact, I was surprised by Lily's past as I was not expecting a character with so much baggage. To me that makes her a more interesting character to read about. In addition, there were a few other characters that I am excited to keep tabs on in the future. 




    In addition, the plot of the story was solid with enough innuendo and red herrings to keep me guessing. In fact, I did not guess who the murderer was at all, and when Harris revealed the perpetrator and the motive, I was definitely surprised. In fact, most of my friends who have read this book have said the same thing. The fact that Ms. Harris is able to craft a mystery that actually surprised me with it's ending is a selling point and has solidified my resolve to read the rest of the series.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    We are not in Bon Temps anymore, people.

    After reading the Sookie Stackhouse and Aurora Teagarden series, I really wanted to like this one, but I just...couldn't. Harris tries to write Lily Bard as a slowly recovering victim of a brutal incident, but she doesn't do it very well. The characters in this series just come off as very one-dimensional without any spark to make them interesting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Another great one from Charlaine!

    This is a great mystery series that really does keep you guessing as to "who dunnit". I love her creativity. Her characters are relatable and exotic at the same time. This is an excellent read for a lazy Sunday.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    While not my favorite of Harris' books, the Lily Bard series was

    While not my favorite of Harris' books, the Lily Bard series was at the top of my list when making purchases for my students who enjoy myseries. Lily Bard is unique and still relates to readers.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    An excellent read.

    Great start for the new leading lady. Lily is the kind of woman we all wish we could be. Can't wait for the follow up books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Nice read

    Simple but great. Always miss the characters at the end

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  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Very good

    This review is for the series as a whole. I really loved it. I love the Sookie books, and this one came up 2nd favorite (right behind Sookie). The series is a little dark, entertaining and overall and excellent read. Charlaine put a lot of herself in this book, maybe not more than any other. I feel like she showed the readers a dark side of herself. It's really sad there won't be any more Lilly series, but was super excited to see Lilly in the Sookie books. Actually I loved/hated it; their worlds colliding. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I believe that¿s what Charlaine would want from her readers! Cheers to a good read

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