Wednesday, 19 January 2011

THE LILY BARD MYSTERIES #2: Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris

Lily Bard just wanted to start life over - but life had different ideas. A thrilling crime series from an international bestseller!

This omnibus contains the titles SHAKESPEARE'S LANDLORD, SHAKESPEARE'S CHAMPION, SHAKESPEARE'S CHRISTMAS, SHAKESPEARE'S TROLLOP and SHAKESPEARE'S COUNSELOR.

Lily Bard is starting over again. She's disguised herself as much as she can, cutting her hair short and wearing baggy clothes and she's moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas, where, working as a cleaning lady, she can sweep away the secrets of her dark, violent past.

But Shakespeare is not the peaceful little community Lily had hoped for and her idea of just fading into the background looks like it's doomed right from the beginning, when she discovers the dead body of her landlord...

Before long, everyone is going to know Lily Bard's name.

This is the second book in The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus, and I enjoyed it as much as the first one. It starts off with a pretty macabre murder, and things only get more dire from that point.

Lily Bard is a maid. She cleans the houses of a lot of the families around the small town of Shakespeare. She's content with her job, enjoys keeping other people's homes tidy and making money for herself. But more importantly, it's a job she can do on her own, without having to work with or for anyone. Her personal life isn't so tidy, though.

She's been seeing Marshall, the gym owner, but things aren't going so well so she distances herself from him. Then there's her good friend, Claude, who also happens to be the Chief of Police. She appreciates that he helped her when she was recovering after being attacked, and really enjoys his company, but isn't interested in anything more. He is, which makes things a little more difficult than they need to be. Then there's the mysterious new guy in town--the one with the dark ponytail. He appears to be everywhere she goes, and she can't help but wonder where she knows him from. Or ignore that she's attracted to him.

The mystery in this installment involved the death of a fellow gym member, who was killed in the gym. Lily happened to be the one to find him, but this time she wasn't alone. Though, he's not the only one turning up dead. Before too long, Lily once again finds herself in the middle of one dangerous situation after another. As it's clear that a lot of racial tension is growing within Shakespeare and a lot of people are going to get hurt, unless the small group is captured.

Shakespeare's Champion is another interesting mystery book that hooked me from the very beginning. I really wanted to know what was going on in Shakepeare, and couldn't wait for Lily to solve it. She once again goes about her seemingly average life filled with average tasks, but kept me engrossed in the story anyway. There were several unpredictable things that 'blow up', and a lot that I didn't expect, but Lily stays strong and determined through everything that life throws her way. And she keeps picking up the scars to prove every one of her battles, too.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the other three...

The Lily Bard Mysteries Omnibus, January 2011, ISBN 9780575096448, Gollancz Paperback

M&SRC books read: 2/12

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