Shakespeare for Squirrels

Shakespeare for Squirrels

by Christopher Moore


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New York Times Bestseller!

Shakespeare meets Dashiell Hammett in this wildly entertaining murder mystery from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore—an uproarious, hardboiled take on the Bard’s most performed play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Pocket, the hero of Fool and The Serpent of Venice, along with his sidekick, Drool, and pet monkey, Jeff.

Set adrift by his pirate crew, Pocket of Dog Snogging—last seen in The Serpent of Venice—washes up on the sun-bleached shores of Greece, where he hopes to dazzle the Duke with his comedic brilliance and become his trusted fool.

But the island is in turmoil. Egeus, the Duke’s minister, is furious that his daughter Hermia is determined to marry Demetrius, instead of Lysander, the man he has chosen for her. The Duke decrees that if, by the time of the wedding, Hermia still refuses to marry Lysander, she shall be executed . . . or consigned to a nunnery. Pocket, being Pocket, cannot help but point out that this decree is complete bollocks, and that the Duke is an egregious weasel for having even suggested it. Irritated by the fool’s impudence, the Duke orders his death. With the Duke’s guards in pursuit, Pocket makes a daring escape.

He soon stumbles into the wooded realm of the fairy king Oberon, who, as luck would have it, IS short a fool. His jester Robin Goodfellow—the mischievous sprite better known as Puck—was found dead. Murdered. Oberon makes Pocket an offer he can’t refuse: he will make Pocket his fool and have his death sentence lifted if Pocket finds out who killed Robin Goodfellow. But as anyone who is even vaguely aware of the Bard’s most performed play ever will know, nearly every character has a motive for wanting the mischievous sprite dead.

With too many suspects and too little time, Pocket must work his own kind of magic to find the truth, save his neck, and ensure that all ends well.

A rollicking tale of love, magic, madness, and murder, Shakespeare for Squirrels is a Midsummer Night’s noir—a wicked and brilliantly funny good time conjured by the singular imagination of Christopher Moore.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Moore’s amusing third installment to the Fool series (after The Serpent of Venice) finds series hero Pocket of Dog Snogging transported into the plot of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Pocket and his apprentice, Drool, are shipwrecked in Greece, they quickly run afoul of the powers that be. However, their initial adventures seem harmless enough: they discover a group of tradesmen rehearsing a play, run into Demetrius’s jilted lover, Helena, and make good use of their codpieces to store the nuts and berries they collect in the forest. But when Pocket witnesses the murder of Puck, the sprightly fellow responsible for the hijinks in Shakespeare’s original, he is forced to begin negotiations with various kings and queens— Duke Thesesus and his soon-to-be bride, Hippolyta the Amazon; the sex-crazed Fairy Queen Titania; kinky King Oberon—to deduce who committed the murder. Along the way, Drool is thrown into Duke Theseus’s dungeon, and Pocket aims to free him and solve the mystery with the help of enchanted puppet Jones and Cobweb the fairy. In this raucous, crass, and innuendo-filled romp, Moore once again delivers light and derivative fun. This cheeky homage will please lovers of Shakespeare and camp. (May)

Bookpage (starred review)

"Nobody writes mystery novels quite like Christopher Moore . . . . As hilarious as A Midsummer Night’s Dream is to begin with, Moore adds a contemporary dose of sly humor that I think would impress the Bard."

Wall Street Journal

"Christopher Moore has written a wonderful diversion for hard times. Even Shakespeare would have appreciated the jokes."

Booklist (starred review)

"It takes a certain amount of guts and wild abandon to recast a Shakespeare comedy as a hard-boiled detective story, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s master satirist Moore, whose gift for funny business apparently knows no bounds. . . . A welcome return of a fan-favorite character in a romp of a tale that will delight not only mystery buffs but also fantasy fanatics, and, of course, Bard lovers."

Library Journal

★ 05/01/2020

This third book (after The Serpent of Venice) to feature Pocket the Fool in a twisted version of a Shakespeare play has Pocket washed up on the shores of Athens and into a Midsummer's Night Eve. Drool, his slow-witted apprentice, and Jeff the monkey have also been jettisoned from their pirate ship. Soon, they run into a theater troupe of local craftsmen attempting to rehearse their play for the duke's wedding. After the troupe is raided by the local guard, Drool is taken into custody, but Pocket manages to evade arrest. To free his apprentice, our fool must solve Puck's murder, save some fairies from King Oberon, and resolve the problem of the mixed-up lovers. Hilariously wacky adventures ensue as Pocket discovers that there is much more to fairies than meets the eye. In true Shakespearean fashion, Pocket rewrites the wedding play to reveal the murderer and wrap up all other loose ends. VERDICT Moore's trademark humor is on full display with his cast of strangely lovable characters. This is Shakespeare with an edge and will not only appeal to Moore's fans but garner new ones. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/19.]—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX

Kirkus Reviews

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Huffington Post

Buckle in for Shakespeare for Squirrels, an uproarious take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—transformed into a murder mystery. . . A funny, fast-paced, and wild read.” 

USA Today

"A hilariously noir tale of love, magic and murder."

USA Today

"A hilariously noir tale of love, magic and murder."

Wall Street Journal

"Christopher Moore has written a wonderful diversion for hard times. Even Shakespeare would have appreciated the jokes."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062434029
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/12/2020
Series: Chronicles of Pocket the Fool Series , #3
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 31,646
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Customer Reviews