Forge, Dec 2001, 23.95, 240 pp.
Affluent merchant Godfrey Middleton wants only the best for the wedding of his beloved oldest daughter Catherine. Among the festivities on Godfrey's lavish estate is a performance by The Queen's Men acting troupe currently performing on the London stage. The troupe include best friends Tuck Smythe (a ham who wants to act, but has no talent) and Will Shakespeare (a wannabe writer).
Tuck overhears a nasty plot to kill the shrewish bride and use the more malleable and seemingly promiscuous younger sister to steal the host's wealth. Accompanied by his best friend Will, he tries to keep Catherine safe. When Catherine apparently dies anyway, the two amateur sleuths investigate the homicide in order to expose the killer.
THE SLAYING OF THE SHREW, the second Shakespeare amateur sleuth tale (see A MYSTERY OF ERRORS), is a delightful tale that cleverly uses references from the great Bard that smoothly flow within the plot. The story line is well written so Elizabethan mystery fans will enjoy the who-done-it and the characters make the era seem alive. However, this tale, like its predecessor, clearly belongs to Simon Hawke's irreverent look at the author considered by most as the greatest English writer of all times. This means to write or not to write a third tale, that is not the question, only when.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner