St. Martin's, Jun 2004
In 1603, The Dark Lady of sonnet fame contacts her former lover who immortalized her in his works, the highly successful affluent playwright Will Shakespeare. The great bard is excited with the upcoming rendezvous, but when the meet, he is shocked. The Dark Lady looks wretched instead of fetching and seems nearer death than the lure of life caused by her promiscuous lifestyle as syphilis has taken its toll. She demands money or she will expose Will to his wife and the aristocracy he courts.
However, a fire breaks out at the meeting location. Will and the Dark Lady flee, but her leap from the roof ends in her tragic death. Stunned by the deadly tryst, Will is next accused of killing a protégé with the motive to hide an illicit affair between them. With the help of Sir Robert Cecil, Keeper of the Privy Seal, he stays out of prison so that Will can begin his own inquiries, assisted by his spouse Anne.
Obviously, Shakespeare is the key figure in this solid Elizabethan mystery. He comes across as a fascinating multifaceted figure who cannot resist the lure of his youth, but also deprecatingly calls himself "Time's Fool" because he knows better.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner