TIME'S FOOL: A Mystery of Shakespeare
At the start of Leonard's literate and entertaining historical, set in 1603 and narrated with brio by the Bard himself, the Dark Lady of the sonnets lures her former lover, prosperous playwright Will Shakespeare, to a reunion tryst. Now wretched with the pox and mired in poverty, she threatens England's literary hero with exposure and disgrace unless he pays her a considerable sum of money. Moments later, a suspicious fire breaks out and she leaps to her death. Bewildered by the whole sordid affair, Will visits royal courts and squalid London byways in an effort to seek out possible enemies who might want to ruin him. Aphorisms from poems and plays are neatly woven into Will's encounters with self-important luminaries like Lord Cecil, the king's "Master High and Mighty," with obsequious servants and even with fishmongers who mug him in a back alley late one night. Murder and intrigue backstage at the Globe implicate poor Will in the death of a young boy suspected of having illicit relations with him. Seeing himself as the "Time's fool" of his sonnet, Will becomes an appealingly human figure, anxious about the future yet filled with a refreshing optimism. Shakespeare fans will delight in this witty caper. Agent, Elizabeth Winick at McIntosh & Otis. (July 6)
FYI: Tourney is also the author of Knaves Templar (1991) and other titles in his Elizabethan mystery series.