Title: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean (The Middlemark Mysteries #1)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Genre(s): Murder Mystery, Contemporary Romance, History
Page Count: 204
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Dr. Llewellyn Lewis leads a double life, as both an awkward but distinguished history professor and the more flamboyant Ramon Rondell, infamous writer of sensational historical theories. It’s Ramon who first sets eyes on a gorgeous young man dancing in a club, but Llewellyn who meets teaching assistant Blaise Arthur formally at an event held for wealthy socialite Anne de Vere, descendant of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford-who some believe was the real Shakespeare. Anne wants Llewellyn to prove that claim, even though many have tried and failed. And she’s willing to offer a hefty donation to the university if he succeeds.
It also means a chance for Llewellyn to get to know Blaise much better.
Not everyone thinks Llewellyn should take the case-or the money. Between feuding siblings, rival patrons, jealous colleagues, and greedy administrators, almost anyone could be trying to thwart his work… and one of them is willing to kill to do it.
When Anne de Vere turns up dead, the police believe Blaise is the murderer. Only the shy, stuttering professor who has won his heart can prove otherwise…
Tan khaki and sweater-wearing Llewellyn Lewis is a mild-mannered history professor by day, and a rogue historical investigator / writer by night, masquerading this identity while in public with wigs, heels and fabulous club wear. Llewellyn is approached at the University with an interesting proposition from Anne de Vere, a descendant of the man some feel may have penned the works attributed to Shakespeare. She is willing to endow the University with $5 million if Llewellyn will research this issue. Anne gives Llewellyn some family papers that pique his interest, until he is hit over the head and the papers stolen. And when Anne turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.
I liked the set-up for the murder/mystery and all the suspects and all the possible motives. Is it Anne’s disgruntled siblings? Is it George Stanley, the English lit professor whose ancestor William Stanley is also a contender for having written Shakespeare’s plays? Is it wealthy donors the Echevarrias who want the University to name the new history building after them rather than de Vere? Or if it the incredibly sexy Blaise, the new graduate assistant in the English department with the gorgeous ass and brilliant blue eyes?
As the murder/mystery develops, the attraction between Llewellyn and Blaise amps up, but it seems that Blaise has a secret as well. Blaise and Llewellyn are all kinds of cute and sweet together, but I didn’t get a strong sense of chemistry between the two and Blaise felt very lightly developed. And as the story progresses, there are a lot of convoluted tangents that really go nowhere. I’m all for a few red herrings, but as the book wound down and the case was solved, it all felt a bit flat to me. I realize that other readers may not feel the same, however.
Although, as the first book in a series, I do look forward to learning more about Llewellyn and much more about his Ramon Rondell persona. And I anxiously await Blaise bringing Llewellyn out of his shell! 3.5 stars for “The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean.”