Shakespeare's greatest secret
When fire damages the new Globe Theatre in London and disrupts rehearsals for Hamlet, young American director Kate Shelton finds herself enmeshed in a malignant drama of staggering proportions in Jennifer Lee Carrell's first novel, Interred with Their Bones. Just prior to the fire, Shakespearean scholar Rosalind Howard had given Kate an enigmatic gift in a small box, and she included this cryptic admonition: If you open it, you must follow where it leads. Then Rosalind is brutally murdered precisely in the manner of Hamlet's father. As the police look into Rosalind's bizarre death, Kate realizes that the box's contents a Victorian mourning brooch may be the most important bit of evidence. Following Rosalind's injunction, Kate takes it upon herself to find her friend's killer.
Kate is immediately confronted by a series of ever-increasing dangers, but she soon discovers to her surprise that she is not alone in her quest for the truth. Ben Pearl, Rosalind's strikingly good-looking nephew, turns up in the nick of time and becomes an indispensable friend and ally.
Piecing together an elaborate puzzle, Kate and Ben travel around the world to Harvard and the American southwest in pursuit of a tantalizing series of literary clues hidden in the words of Shakespeare, Cervantes, the Holy Bible and ciphered texts that will lead them to the murderer and unlock one of history's greatest literary secrets. Taking her title from Mark Antony's ironic eulogy in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Carrell, the author of the much-praised nonfiction book The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox, has proven that she knows how to write a fast-paced, highly entertaining novel. Erudite and complex, Interred with Their Bones draws readers into an allusive labyrinth embellished with the words and plots from the plays of the upstart Crow, as one contemporary dubbed the Bard. Here is a novel that will appeal to mystery-thriller fans as well as Shakespeare aficionados.
Tim Davis teaches literature at the University of West Florida.