"Try not to make a fool out of yourself the very first day.
You would think this is not a difficult instruction to follow; you would be wrong."
William Shakespeare, cousin to the William Shakespeare arrives in London from Stratford in hopes of finding employment in anything but glove making. Secretly, he wishes to follow his cousin into the world of acting; but with the plague about, the theatre is far from gainful employment. Instead, Will immediately finds trouble at a London bar where he is mistaken for his well-known cousin. The Lady Elizabeth Talbot is searching for her ne're-do-well husband, Henry. It was rumored that Henry had spoken to a William Shakespeare before disappearing. Will is absconded by the Lady Elizabeth and instead of leaving with his life in tact, he decides to assist the beautiful Elizabeth Talbot find out what has happened to her husband. Now, with some money in his pocket, Will finds himself going deep into London's underbelly to find out what has happened to the husband of a woman he is quickly falling in love with.
This was a fun and fast historical mystery set in one of my favorite historical time periods. One of the best parts for me was seeing London described by newcomer, Will. He is taken with the city, but also taken advantage of at every turn and placed in some of the worst parts of London during the plague; still he decided to persevere. Even though William Shakespeare, cousin to the playwright, might be fictional, the description of the world he was placed in seemed on point with history. From the plague to the actual William Shakespeare's trails with the theatre at the time and the disappearance of Kit Marlowe, there is a lot of actually history packed in. Will's adventures took a humorous tone and though he didn't think himself as the smartest man, it was great to see him grown in his street smarts as he bumbled through London trying to find Henry Talbot. The mystery itself wasn't very complex and there are not a lot of clues to follow, but it was still entertaining. I would be interested in reading more about Will's detecting skills and his relationship with Lady Talbot since she left him in a precarious position.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.