By: Charlaine Harris
Published By: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: 1996
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I am a huge fan of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series and Harper Connelly series so I thought that I would give this series a try. This series follow Lily Bard, small town cleaning lady, as she lives and works in the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas. I love that Harris sets her novels in the South. There is just something familiar and comforting about novels set in this region of my birth. However, while an entertaining read, this series did not appeal to me on the same level as the others.
This series is primarily focused on the mystery genre, but does have some romance thrown in here and there. However, I didn't find this mystery to be all that interesting to be honest. The landlord of the local apartment complex is found murdered in the bordering arboretum and the entire town of Shakespeare is up in arms trying to figure out who would want to kill the man. A good mystery drops clues along the way that aren't enough to give away the ending, but should make sense once the killer is revealed. I honestly couldn't figure out who the killer was, but part of that was because I truly didn't care. When the killer was finally unmasked at the end I felt somewhat deflated. It wasn't someone I expected and the little morsels of clues in the book still didn't point to the conclusion for me.
However, even though I wasn't crazy about the mystery aspect of the book, I did really enjoy getting to know Lily Bard. She is an interesting and unique character for sure with her tragic past and observation skills. I also love that Lily, while still haunted by her past, is able to move forward in life. She takes a martial arts class to keep in shape and to learn how to protect herself in the event of an attack. I think she is a wonderful heroine. I would probably read more books in this series just to spend more time with her. I have to admit that I like Lily a bit more than Harper and a lot better than Sookie.
I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick read in the murder mystery genre. There are currently five books in this series; the last of which was published in 2001. Sadly, Charlaine Harris commented on her website that she has no plans to write anymore Lily Bard books in the future. She mentioned that the reason is that she has nothing left in her head about Lily.
The audiobook was great! I loved the voice of the narrator and I think she did a beautiful job of giving Lily a voice. I would rate it with 5 birdies.
One Last Gripe: I didn't like how the Minister kept bullying Lily and sticking up for the town drunk.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Lily's strong voice
First Sentence: I gathered myself, my bare feet gripping the wooden floor, my thigh muscles braced for the attack.
Favorite Character: Lily Bard
Least Favorite Character: The church janitor
From the author of the Aurora Teagarden novels comes a new series set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, a Southern town brimming with charm and a definite touch of noir. When her landlord is murdered, loner Lily Bard looks like the prime suspect. Uncovering the real killer may be the only way to prove her innocence, and Lily soon focuses on the other residents of tiny Shakespeare in her quest to expose the culprit.