Book Review: Shakespeare's Champion Detective ★★★
Another of Charlaine Harris's non-supernatural crime series, the Lily Bard mysteries are set in the town of Shakespeare, and over the course of five novels we meet Lily, a woman with many secrets who is always wary and on guard but who also knows how to stick her nose into other people's business. I am reluctant to class these stories as straight up mysteries, because often they feel more like an adventure. The stories begin the same, Lily goes about her job as the town cleaner and encounters useful nuggets of information that get called into use when some crime is committed, the main focus of the story though is Lily's development and how she goes about her life. We learn very quickly that Lily is a tough nut, she is very good at kickboxing, and is known as the town recluse, she has good reason to be so wary as is revealed early on. Lily has had a bad past. To readers who aren't fans of Harris the reveal may seem surprising, even gruesome and distasteful, but Harris writes from some level of experience when it comes to characterising Lily. Her character can appear cold and hard at the beginning, but she develops nicely throughout the five novels and towards the end we see her develop in a way that seems natural, as she realises trusting in others isn't a weakness, and she have to be the way she is to survive. Because the main focus is Lily herself the crimes are often either fairly simple to solve as a reader or complex enough that you don't guess them while you are too busy wondering about Lily herself. This may seem a bit pointless, after all what is a story without an important plot, but the story arc is really about character growth rather than plot progression with these. I enjoyed this series, though not as much as I enjoyed the Aurora Teagarden mysteries, I think they make a well rounded tale which would make for an enjoyable read.