Even in a sleepy Arkansas town, the holidays can be murder. Lily Bard is going home for the holidays. More comfortable in baggy sweats than bridesmaid's frills, Lily isn't thrilled about attending her estranged sister's wedding. She has moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas, to start a new life, cleaning houses for a living, trying to forget the violence that once nearly destroyed her. Now she's heading back to home and hearth--just in time for murder.
The town's doctor and nurse have been bludgeoned to death at the office. And Lily's detective boyfriend suddenly shows up at her parents' door. Jack Leeds is investigating an eight-year-old kidnapping and the trail leads straight to Lily's hometown. It just might have something to do with the murders...and her sister's widowed fiancé. With only three days before the wedding, Lily must work fast to clean up the messy case before her sister commits...marriage!
I've heard so many wonderful things about the writings of Charlaine Harris, but I just couldn't get into the Sookie Stackhouse series. Vampires aren't my thing. So, I was excited when I discovered that she has also penned a cozy mystery series featuring Lily Bard - set in Shakespeare, Arkansas. (Ya gotta love a writer with a wry sense of humor.) I started with #3 in the series, Shakespeare's Christmas, because that's the one I found in my recent browse through The Dusty Bookshelf in Manhattan - And I loved it. Although there was some back-story that would have filled in some blanks, I didn't have any trouble following along without reading the first two books.
That back-story is just what will make Shakespeare's Christmas (and the rest of the series) appeal to Cozy fans - characters that you get to know slowly and familiar places to be re-visited. However, it also appealed to the "thriller reader" side of me because it moved at a faster pace than the average cozy and left the reader to piece together clues on their own rather than relying on rambling sections of the heroine's thoughts as she does all the detective work. Fast, fun holiday read that will have me looking for more Charlaine Harris books.