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The School of Night: The William Shakespeare…
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The School of Night: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency (Volume 1) (2015)

by Colin Falconer

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I thought it would be quite fun reading a book about William Shakespeare cousin who goes by the same name. William Shakespeare has just arrived in London and his cousin isn't too fond to have him staying at his place. But William has dreams, he doesn't want to be a glove maker. He wants to be an actor. But all the theaters are closed because of the plague so he needs to find a job. Luckily for him he gets a job after saving Lady Elizabeth Talbot. All he needs to do is find her husband Henry Talbot. How hard can it be?

This book was quite entertaining to read. I love historical mysteries and I just couldn't resist a book about William Shakespeare cousin with the same name. It was interesting to follow William Shakespeare as he searched for Talbot's husband and I was actually surprised how it all turned out. It was also nice to have the other William Shakespeare, the famous one, showing up in the story now and then. It wasn't a thick book, so it wasn't many red herrings, but it was a pleasant read I want to read the next book in the series.

I received a copy from the publisher and HFVBT in return for an honest review!

Review also posted on And Now for Something Completely Different and It's a Mad Mad World ( )
  MaraBlaise | Dec 10, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is about William Shakespeare's fictional cousin Will, who moves in with the playwright to try to make his way in London. Will immediately tumbles into trouble, finding himself captured by Lady Elizabeth who is seeking her deadbeat husband. He ends up helping her, then falling in love, but the status barrier is too high (for this book). He gets drawn into a mystery of what happened to Kit Marlowe. It is an interesting and entertaining book, really 3.5 stars! I would read more in the series. ( )
  dolphari | Jun 10, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book from librarything as a free book to give an honest review, I enjoyed the book very much. It kept my interest. I will read more by this author. Thanks! ( )
  candiesdish | Sep 9, 2015 |
"Try not to make a fool out of yourself the very first day.
You would think this is not a difficult instruction to follow; you would be wrong."

William Shakespeare, cousin to the William Shakespeare arrives in London from Stratford in hopes of finding employment in anything but glove making. Secretly, he wishes to follow his cousin into the world of acting; but with the plague about, the theatre is far from gainful employment. Instead, Will immediately finds trouble at a London bar where he is mistaken for his well-known cousin. The Lady Elizabeth Talbot is searching for her ne're-do-well husband, Henry. It was rumored that Henry had spoken to a William Shakespeare before disappearing. Will is absconded by the Lady Elizabeth and instead of leaving with his life in tact, he decides to assist the beautiful Elizabeth Talbot find out what has happened to her husband. Now, with some money in his pocket, Will finds himself going deep into London's underbelly to find out what has happened to the husband of a woman he is quickly falling in love with.

This was a fun and fast historical mystery set in one of my favorite historical time periods. One of the best parts for me was seeing London described by newcomer, Will. He is taken with the city, but also taken advantage of at every turn and placed in some of the worst parts of London during the plague; still he decided to persevere. Even though William Shakespeare, cousin to the playwright, might be fictional, the description of the world he was placed in seemed on point with history. From the plague to the actual William Shakespeare's trails with the theatre at the time and the disappearance of Kit Marlowe, there is a lot of actually history packed in. Will's adventures took a humorous tone and though he didn't think himself as the smartest man, it was great to see him grown in his street smarts as he bumbled through London trying to find Henry Talbot. The mystery itself wasn't very complex and there are not a lot of clues to follow, but it was still entertaining. I would be interested in reading more about Will's detecting skills and his relationship with Lady Talbot since she left him in a precarious position.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
1 vote Mishker | Mar 17, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Note: this book is listed under the incorrect name on librarything. The review is for "Dark Lady", not "The School of Night".

This is book #2 in the continuing story of William Shakespeare...no, not that one. William is a strapping young man from the country who is bunking with his not-quite-famous-yet cousin Will who is struggling to make a name for himself. William just wants to stay in London, find employment & try to forget the lovely Lady Elizabeth Walsall.
She stole his heart in the previous book but this is 1590's England & there are rules. She must marry someone from her own class & that does not include a penniless country bumpkin. now if she could just get her heart to see sense.
William has accidentally become a "discoverer", a sort of Elizabethan PI. It seems the rich have just as many secrets as the poor. The difference is they can pay handsomely to have them quietly dealt with.
And so William takes the job of retrieving a letter for a wealthy foreigner. But it's soon clear he wasn't given all the facts as the trail leads to Poley, friend of the cruel Lord Essex & spy master to the royal court.
It's only 182 pages so I won't give away more of the plot. Adding to William's problems are frequent run-ins with a young pickpocket, helping Will with his career (while dodging his frisky mistress) & the reappearance of Lady Elizabeth in London. It's well written in language suitable for the time but very readable.
William is a sympathetic & likeable character with a self deprecating wit & surprising insight into the human condition. In a clever twist, he's actually the one prone to spouting poetic comments & cousin Will doesn't hesitate to steal his best lines.
Descriptions of the gritty slums & desperate lives of the poor are wonderfully evocative. It makes for an atmospheric read as the teeming streets & rat infested back alleys come to life. The prevailing xenophobia of the time is also touched on but lightened with a running gag of William being mistaken for a frenchman.
This fast paced & frequently humorous shortie will transport you from your favourite reading chair for a couple of hours & keep you entertained. A big twist at the end guarantees I'll be on the lookout for book #3 to see where William's adventures take him next. ( )
  RowingRabbit | Mar 16, 2015 |
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Epigraph
For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night." William Shakespeare, Sonnet 147
Dedication
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It is not easy having the same name as a celebrity.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I've heard them all. I'm the other one, the ne'er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover's handyman." What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare's great rival, Christopher Marlowe - or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station. Each book tells the story of William's adventures as England's first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.… (more)

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