Shakespeare's Trollop

(Lily Bard, #4)

Welcome back to Shakespeare -- a charming Arkansas town with endless back roads, an eclectic mix of residents, and a dollop of noir. Featuring cleaning woman/karate expert Lily Bard, Charlaine Harris's series puts a unique spin on the traditional cozy to create mysteries that "work on every level". — In the latest installment, Lily discovers lifelong Shakespeare resident Deedra Dean murdered inside a car parked in a woodsy area outside town. Determined not to get involved, Lily wants to leave the police work to Sheriff Marta Schuster and her team of deputies, and concentrate on cleaning, high kicks, and her boyfriend Jack's impending visit. But when Deedra's notoriously promiscuous lifestyle provides an extensive list of suspects but very few clues, Lily has no choice but to resume the roll of amateur detective and join the investigation.

In this fourth book in Charlaine Harris's highly acclaimed and darkly compelling series, Lily Bard delivers a hard-hitting mix of Southern charm and street smarts, a combination so alluring that long-time readers and newcomers will be dying to visit Shakespeare again.

"But it was not her weakness that had caused her death; it was one of her strengths that had killed her."

Many readers have been turned off by the disparaging inner thoughts from the main character, Lily, about victim's lifestyles and "slut shaming." I've seen from reviews that some wouldn't even continue the series. Now, I wouldn't stop the series over something such as that since I know many books start with a character that needs to grow more into realization and knowledge. This book highlights the annoyances so many hold about Lily, not apologizing and actually enhancing the prejudice.

Shakespeare's trollop is even named after the 'town trollop' that Lily mentally disses in each book. I'm not a fan of slut shaming either, but Harris did make it clear the victim has always been ridiculous undiscriminating with who she sleeps with, how often, the toys, the tapes. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, however, as Lily closes her eyes on the last page, thinking deeper about Deedra and her life.

There was a scene that especially irked me. Lily felt violated and angry about Deedra's death eventually, and in one scene was angry while using her anger against the punching bag. She was trying to reassure herself by saying, "She was nothing," "She was nothing," while punching. That's a low blow. Deedra may have been slutty by Lily's terms, but a nothing because of that? For shame, Lily. For shame, Harris.

There's not a high mystery this time around either. Lily ponders here and there but does not do actual snooping. Things just kind of fall into place as she encounters a situation after another.

There is a development with Jack, of course, that's big for Lily. I'm not feeling realism in their relationship or spark from him. Claude and Carrie are sweet and that development was quick. The villains turned out very surprising, as the person's been around for awhile and this kind of came out of nowhere. That said, it wasn't unrealistic because of that....but it was impossible for a mystery reader to ever guess. It was more of a thriller/suspense book shock ending, not a reasonable conclusion a detective could solve until one of the last page clues.

   Book Quotes:

“We can’t leave this world without leaving a lot of detritus behind. We never go out as cleanly as we come in; and even when we come in, there’s the afterbirth.”