The Middlemark Mysteries #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mystery Detective, Romance, Series
Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford-who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.
It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.
Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case-or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.
When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise…
I was drawn into this story as soon as I started reading. The author has an easy writing style, and I became invested in the main characters very early on. I liked the mystery surrounding Blaise, with his true identity not revealed until much later on, and spent a lot of the story trying to figure out who he was, and what he was up to, although it was obvious he was falling for Llewellyn. Llewellyn is an interesting character, with his dual persona, and I liked the way he slowly began to feel more confident as himself and even lost his stutter at one point.
The supporting cast are fabulous. I particular liked Maria. She has a great sense of humour, she’s witty, good for Llewellyn, and a good friend. Llewellyn’s cats deserve a mention too. They had distinctive personalities and stole every scene they were in. I thought the author did a great job in portraying several obnoxious individuals. Blaise’s mother is a total piece of work. I found myself cheering Blaise on when he stood up to her.
I loved the literary references in this, especially the Arthurian injoke in regard to Blaise’s name. The plot kept me guessing, with a few clever twists and red herrings along the way. The setting was very visual and easy to imagine, and I was very happy to learn it is the beginning of a series.
I’d recommend The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries with clever twists, and likeable MCs supported by an interesting supporting cast. And cats. 5 out of 5 stars.