Rotten at the Heart - Bartholomew Daniels

Shakespeare as a private eye?  Who could resist?


When I saw the premise of this book I had to read it.  A book written as Shakespeare is either going to be a great read or a huge flop.  Well, this one works.  It begins with the author finding a box of old manuscripts that a serviceman had brought back from England after the second World War.  When he examines them, they turn out to be the diaries of William Shakespeare.  He recounts a favor he did for the son of the Lord Chamberlain, (the Lord Chamberlain being his troupe’s patron) after the Lord Chamberlain’s death.  The son, Baron Carey, believes his father was murdered and wants Shakespeare to find the killer. Needing his patronage, Shakespeare reluctantly agrees.


As always with Shakespeare or any Elizabethan writing, the language takes a minute to settle into.  I doubt any author could faithfully reproduce Shakespeare’s style completely but the writing here does do a very good job of giving the feel of that era.  The atmosphere of London at the time is recreated well also.   The sights, sounds and smells are described well enough to transport you there. 


My favorite aspect of the book is how well the characters are written.  They are real and 3 dimensional from the beginning.  They didn’t feel like characters in a book, they felt like people. 


The book has it’s bawdy aspects that might keep you from wanting to give it to your 14 year old who has just discovered Shakespeare.  That seems in keeping with this era from what I’ve read and it’s not gratuitous or graphic.  All in all, a fun treat for readers!


I received this book through Netgalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review it.