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Time's Fool: A Mystery of Shakespeare Hardcover – June 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Leonard Tourney teaches Shakespeare at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He lives in Goleta, California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765303043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765303042
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,789,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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. The who-done-it is cleverly crafted and the support cast enables the audience to appreciate the Bard even more especially since he comes across as no Sherlock Holmes (adding to the overall delight of the tale). The answer is fans who enjoy a fabulous historical mystery starring a deep enthralling look into the greatest author of all times will response yes to read or not to read that is the question.
Harriet Klausner
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carrie on September 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For a first time reader of a book of this nature, I must admit I really enjoyed it. I am a fan of Shakespeare so imagining him in a situation like this book purposes is both intriguing and fun. You have to go into this book with no preconceived notions of it being based on total fact. And yes, some elements are a bit fantastical. But if you are interested in the era and enjoy imagining what it might be like to live in that time period than this book provides a taste of the times. The style in which it is written gives us a hint of the speech and vocabulary of the era, without the tedium or complexity of a true Shakespearian novel. Perhaps a die-hard Shakespearian scholar may turn their nose up to such "light" and frivilous writting, but I sat back and enjoyed the ride. Huzzah!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on June 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
About 15 years ago, I stumbled onto Leonard Tourney's Matthew and Joan Stock Elizabethan mysteries, and what a find they proved to be! Well written, with a good sense of the period, intriguing and utterly absorbing, I devoured each and every installment in this series in a matter of weeks -- and was really saddened when I discovered that there were no more Matthew and Joan Stock mysteries to enjoy. Now, after an absence of quite a few years, Leonard Tourney has written another historical mystery novel, this time one set in the early Jacobean period and during the early years of James I's reign, and featuring a much older William Shakespeare as protagonist.
Much older and now quite famous, William Shakespeare has reached the pinnacle of his profession. And yet a sense of melancholy seems to dog Shakespeare -- perhaps it has to do with the death of his only son, or the loss of old friends? So that when he receives a letter from an old lover (his dark lady) asking him to come to her, Shakespeare feels compelled to go, in spite of the fact that he and his ex-lover had parted on angry and bitter terms. After so many years of separation, Shakespeare is moved to see how low she has fallen and how ill she has become; but his pity for her soon turns to anger when he realises that she wants to blackmail him about his past indiscretions. In the middle of telling her to publish and be damned, a fire breaks out; Shakespeare manages to escape uninjured, but his ex-lover is not so lucky, and falls to her death. A startling realisation that the fire was deliberately set gives Shakespeare little time for grief, for it now dawns upon him that he may be the target of someone's anger or malice. Frightened, angry and confused, Shakespeare tries to figure out who may be behind all this.
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By Robert Dickinson on March 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great Product fast shipping... Thanks Again
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SDW on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Leonard Tourney returns to 17th century England with a wonderfully well-written novel sure to delight anyone who enjoys the English language and is willing to take the time to savor the work.

The story is fine and well-told. Shakespeare must get at the bottom of who means him harm, and why. It's a good enough yarn in its own right, but that isn't the real reason to buy the book any more than supplying basic nutrients is the reason for fine dining.

There are books designed to be "page turners," which the reader is to inhale quickly. This is not. Time's Fool is best sipped rather than gulped. Tourney's phrases, idioms, and word choices are a true delight to the discerning reader. I read it with a dictionary close by, not so much because I was in doubt about some of the archaic terms which sprinkle the book, but rather because I wanted to admire the author's skill and "wordsmanship."

When you have the time to savor a good book, you will relish Time's Fool: A Mystery of Shakespeare.
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