Book Review – The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean by Tara Lain

The Middlemark Mysteries #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 197
Characters: Llewellyn/Blaise
POV: 3rd

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…

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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.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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2 Responses to Book Review – The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean by Tara Lain

  1. Tara Lain says:

    Thank you again for reading my Sexy Shakespearean! I’m so honored you liked it!! : )


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