Nowadays, Charlaine Harris is probably best known for her Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, books that will be the basis of a new HBO series that premieres on September 7, called True Blood. She's also the author of the Aurora Teagarden mysteries, featuring a librarian, and the Harper Connelly mysteries. But, my favorite Charlaine Harris series is the Lily Bard books, all set in Shakespeare, Arkansas.
Don't forget about these books, beginning with the first one, Shakespeare's Landlord. These books are darker than the Aurora Teagarden stories, and they lack the humor. Lily Bard moved to Shakespeare, a small town that was the perfect place to hide from the violence than nearly destroyed her life years before. She's made herself into a strong woman, an expert in martial arts, but she hides her appearance behind baggy clothes and close cropped hair. She works as a housekeeper, and doesn't call attention to herself. She likes her invisibility. When she witnesses a murder, she's suddenly exposed to the world.
All of the Lily Bard books have a darkness to them. Lily's background is brutal, and Harris doesn't try to make it lighter or humorous. These were fresh, intriguing mysteries when they were introduced. They remain my favorite Charlaine Harris books.
Start with Shakespeare's Landlord. You won't regret it.
Charlaine Harris' website is www.charlaineharris.com
Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris. Penguin Group. ©1996. ISBN 9780425206867 (paperback), 224p.
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