Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1)

Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1)

by Charlaine Harris

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

View All Available Formats & Editions


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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425206867
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/2005
Series: Lily Bard Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charlaine Harris, who has been writing mysteries for over twenty years, is a native of Mississippi. Born and raised in the Delta, she began training for her career as soon as she could hold a pencil. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and (later) teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, and graduated to books a few years later.

After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris decided to establish a series. She began the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, which garnered an Agatha nomination.  Harris's protagonist, a diminutive Georgia librarian whose life never turns out quite the way she planned, kept Harris busy for several books, but finally Harris (and Aurora) grew restless.

The result of this restlessness was the much edgier Shakespeare series -- set not in England, but in rural Arkansas. The heroine of the Shakespeare books is Lily Bard, a tough and taciturn woman whose life has been permanently reshaped by a terrible crime and its consequences. In Shakespeare's Landlord, the first in the series, Lily is caught at a moment when the shell she's built around herself is just beginning to crack, and the books capture Lily's emotional re-entry into the world, while also being sound mysteries.

Harris's latest venture is a series about a telepathic barmaid in southern Louisiana. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony for best paperback mystery of 2001. Each book about Sookie Stackhouse (and her dealings with vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night) has gathered more readers to enjoy the books' unique blend of mystery, humor, romance, and the supernatural. The Sookie books are also being read in Japan, Spain, Greece, and Great Britain.

In addition to her work as a writer, Harris is married and the mother to three children. A former weight lifter and karate student, she is an avid reader and cinemaphile. She is a member of the vestry of St. James Episcopal Church.

Harris is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the American Crime Writers League. She is a member of the board of Sisters in Crime, and alternates with Joan Hess as president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. © 2004 Charlaine Harris


Southern Arkansas

Date of Birth:

November 25, 1951

Place of Birth:

Tunica, Mississippi


B.A. in English and Communication Arts, Rhodes, 1973

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Shakespeare's Landlord (Lily Bard Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 266 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
bookmavenNY More than 1 year ago
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!!
lilybardfan More than 1 year ago
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.
lsmeadows More than 1 year ago
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.
KrissieTN More than 1 year ago
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.
The-Mish More than 1 year ago
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!
timothyreads More than 1 year ago
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.
Trewbeliever More than 1 year ago
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.
Anna_Louise More than 1 year ago
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.
Logans_Library More than 1 year ago
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!
katford11 More than 1 year ago
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.
2319 More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
seasidereader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Harris is well known for her vampire series, a genre I avoid. I took a chance on this book based almost solely on the title and found myself liking the protagonist's forthright manner. Her words and actions aren't boringly predictable, and I'll read more of the Shakespeare saga.
AlmaB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charlaine Harris has written 4 distinct and unique series of books. I hope she writes a fifth and a sixth and a seventh and a ... you get the idea. The Lily Bard, Shakespeare series --in my humble opinion -- rides head and shoulders above the others. Considering how much I've enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse, Vamps Galore tales that's saying a lot. Ironically most readers have never heard of Lily Bard. No doubt one of life's little bizarre and unexplainable quirks.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lily Bard has a past. She's been living in Shakespeare, ARK for 3 years, working to clean the homes of many of the residents of this little town. Trouble threatens to expose what she's hiding when she witnesses a hooded figure wheeling a mysterious bundle into the nearby park. When she goes to investigate, she finds the area landlord dead.This was a simple little cozy. More time was spent on Lily and her relationships with the town residents than maybe was necessary. The main characters and secondary characters do need a bit more development but since this is the first in the series, there's time. The mystery was light but entertaining. Hope for improvement in future installments.
teharhynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
bit of a slow start, but fun.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
liked lily she is cleans house,solves murders overcome a lot of trials. does learn karate and weight lifting she does get hurt a lot
avwright on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book: Shakespeare¿s LandlordAuthor: Charlaine HarrisFormat: HardbackGenre: MysteryWord Count/Page Count: ~60,000 words / 214 pagesStars: Two-and-a-half out of fiveWhere It Came From: Local Library. (Side note: I love how I can put books on hold online now, and then when I get a notification e-mail about available books, I can just swing by and pick them up after work. It¿s a beautiful system.)The Review: As an overqualified cleaning lady, Lily Bard seems like the best candidate to investigate the murder of the landlord at the nearby apartment building. She has access to practically all of the major (and minor) hot spots in the little hamlet of Shakespeare, Arkansas and she is privy to nearly everyone¿s dirty laundry (pun fully intended). And when, during one of her mysterious late night walks, she witnesses someone using her garbage can cart to dispose of a body, she is immediately drawn into the case.With a penchant for the martial arts and a fanaticism for privacy, Lily Bard (get it? Bard¿Shakespeare¿yeah, I was tickled too) is a fantastic heroine. She¿s tough as a one-eyed alley cat and a great role model for women¿s empowerment. Of course, her social skills and mental status leave much to be desired but, given her history (which I won¿t spoil for you), I think most readers will find this acceptable, if not commendable. I¿ll be totally honest, I wasn¿t hooked on this book like I have been with the others I¿ve read this week. Maybe it was overshadowed by Graceling (look for that review later this week), or maybe I¿m just not a mystery reader. I was a little worried, when I saw how small the book was, that there could be a fully fleshed out story inside. But there is quite a bit contained within a small package: a murder mystery, sordid revelations about the town¿s history and the people in it, and even a minor stalking/harassment subplot, with, of course, a dash or two of romance thrown in. My major qualm was that the ending felt a bit rushed, wrapping up (mostly) in only a couple pages. In typical Charlaine Harris fashion, the reader is left with just enough loose ends to continue on Lily¿s story in a sequel. And there are sequels, several of them. However, only time will tell if I make it onto the next book in the Lily Bard series.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first of a dark but ¿cozy¿ mystery series by the author of the Sookie Stackhouse books that is set in Shakespeare, Arkansas. The main protagonist, Lily, wanted to pick up and start her life over, and settled on this town because her last name is Bard.Lily, thirty-one, was the victim of a sensational kidnap, slashing, and rape case in Memphis four years previously. She now seeks a quiet life where she hopes she can live anonymously. She cleans houses, does errands for the elderly, and takes self-defense classes three times a week. She works out at both a gym and at home, trying to dispel some of her anger and fear, and to become someone who could never again be successfully attacked by anyone. At night, she takes long walks before she can go to sleep without frightening dreams.When Lily, on one of her walks, sees a body dumped in the park close to her house, she fears that telling the police could bring too much attention to her and result in everyone finding out about her past. Thus, she decides to try to solve the crime herself, and of course, almost gets killed in the process. But in addition, she finds she can actually get close to a man again, as she begins tentative relationships both with her teacher of goju karate, and with the chief of police.Evaluation: This is the first in a series of books about Lily Bard, whom Harris portrays with a keen and compassionate sense of the psychology of victims of sexual abuse crimes. Like other women in Harris¿s books, Lily is tough but eminently likeable. Neither violence nor sex is portrayed with gratuitous details, and in spite of some dark aspects, this book feels light and warm. It also has a full complement of the eminently realistic eccentric characters with whom Harris peoples her books. Reading a book by Charlaine Harris is like meeting with your favorite neighbor in a small Southern town over coffee and cookies in her kitchen and having a cozy chat with lots of juicy gossip. I look forward to reading other books in the series.
FutureBestSeller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well I wasn't too sure about this since I didn't really care of Aurora Teagarden but this was on my husband's Christmas list and I needed something to read. You know it is a good book when it is one o'clock in the morning and you have to work but you just can't put it down. I had two nights like that just to finish it! Great job...Great writing!
Jennie_103 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been on a bit of a Harris binge recently and I've just finished this series. I have to say, although all her protagonists are outwardly very different (barmaid vs cleaner vs librarian vs body hunter) they all speak with the same voice somehow. This isn't a criticism entirely - after all, if you enjoy one of Harris's series, you will probably enjoy them all, but it can be a little confusing when you have to remind yourself which heroine is speaking.Lily Bard is great fun, she's a fitness fanatic (even made me consider exercising myself - not a normal outcome from a book...) and she's an accidental heroine like Aurora and Sookie. Death just seems to follow her around and she becomes very proficient at dealing with it all whilst having a love life (like Aurora, Harper and Sookie again!)If you enjoy the True Blood books then give these a try. The omnibus is an easy way to get them all althought it is very heavy to carry around.
melydia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First of all, forget old Willie; the title comes from Shakespeare, Arkansas, where our story takes place. The landlord in question is the murder victim. The protagonist is Lily Bard, a standoffish housecleaner with a dark past, whose only hobbies appear to be working out at the gym, taking martial arts classes, and obsessing over whether or not people have learned her secrets. When she happens to see the body being transported using her garbage cart one dark evening she quickly discovers that she must find the killer in order to prevent her secrets from being blasted all over town. As this is the first book in a series, we are introduced to tons of characters and even a couple of potential love interests, neither of which are particularly interesting. The cover art made me think it would be a touch more light-hearted, but in the end it's a somewhat humdrum murder mystery with just barely enough suspense to keep the reader involved. The ending was too predictable to justify the lead-up, but I won't say that I necessarily saw it coming from a mile away either. It was fine as a quick gym read, keeping my attention while I was on the stationary bike, but I won't be reading any more in the series.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charlaine Harris tends to use heroines that are a little bit dark and gloomy. Lily Bard really isn¿t the happy-go-lucky type. She¿s a loner, but it¿s because something horrible in her past has led to even her closest friends and family not knowing how to interact with her. So she lives by rote and routine ¿ if nobody bothers her, she won¿t bother them. Unfortunately, someone has chosen to use her garbage cart to dump her landlord¿s body in the park across the street from her house. Lily also isn¿t a detective, but she can¿t help but be observant. She starts to come out of her shell and actually live her life as the book progresses and the mystery deepens. I think Harris has built an interesting cast of characters here, and I look forward to continuing the series.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While this series does not have the supernatural aspect of Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, Lily Bard is a character that can stand up to Sookie in intelligence and empathy. Lily was the victim of a horrific crime that scarred her both inside and out but rather than remain a victim, she left the pity and uncomfortable silences of her home in Memphis and moved to a small town called Shakespeare. She works as an occasional maid in several different households and spends her off time learning goju karate and working out to make sure she will never be a victim again. A murder occurs in an apartment building where she cleans and rather than becoming a suspect, she works on solving the identity of the killer. A modern Miss Marple, she uses her sharp memory for details heard and seen. Hopefully the rest of the series is as enjoyable as we follow this woman who is both proactive and empowered.