Cozy Sunday is an original weekly meme to spotlight a cozy mystery I’ve read and loved!
For the inaugural post of Cozy Sunday, I want to talk about the very first cozy mystery I ever read: SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD by Charlaine Harris.
SHAKESPEARE’S LANDLORD is the first book in the Lily Bard mystery series which consists of 8 books.
TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE — To Lily Bard, the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, was the perfect place to hide from the violence that nearly destroyed her life years before. Today Lily is strong, confident in the martial arts she studies, her looks disguised by her closely cropped hair and baggy clothes. Working as a housecleaner, Lily comes and goes without anyone noticing — until she witnesses a murder.
What Lily Bard saw on that dark night has stripped away her, anonymity and earned her the unwanted attention of a homicide detective and a suspicious community. And with her intense, married, karate instructor showing a passionate interest of his own, Lily’s plan of a private, well-ordered life is coming unhinged. The killer of an unlamented landlord is lurking close by. And while Lily knows the dirt on her neighbors’ dust, drawers, and private live , must admit to a secret of her own: that in the shadow of a brutal murder, she is coming alive again…
I’ve read and loved many of Charlaine’s books and this one was no exception. It does contain all the elements that cozy mystery readers love- a seemingly unnoticeable small town girl witnesses a murder, attracts a lot of love interests, and solves the mystery of who-done-it while the cops are still bumbling around. Harris writes much grittier cozy mysteries, though, and includes more graphic violence and eludes more to sex than most cozies do. In the Lily Bard series, the title character has survived a very horrific crime before the books events take place and I liked that Harris didn’t shy away from discussing Lily’s PTSD and other physical and mental issues that have followed her since the attack.
As with most cozies, there are a lot of side characters to keep up with. This is definitely a way to try and keep the reader guessing about who the murderer was but it does get tedious to try and keep up with all the names. Besides Lily, the only one I really remember from this book was Bobo- the youngish kid who had a major crush on Lily (and later appears in Harris’s MIDNIGHT TEXAS series).
If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with a little more bite, this is definitely the one for you!
(Do be aware of TWs for sexual assault, abuse, kidnapping, and vaguely graphic descriptions of blood/wounds/injury)