Carrell's scholarly knowledge of Shakespeare—both the plays, sonnets, the intrigues involving his life and the veracity of his authorship informs this mystery.
Kate Stanley, whose thesis is on the Occult in Shakespeare, is directing Hamlet at the Globe theatre in London. When Professor Rosalind Howard, Kate's former mentor, arrives in London with a box which she says holds an important Shakespearian find she tells Kate that she wants her to help in uncovering the find.
She does not have an opportunity to tell kate anything else because a fire breaks out at the theatre. The date of the fire corresponds to the exact date that the original Globe Theater was consumed by fire. After the recent fire is extinguished Roz's body is found. That's the first death—however many more will follow.
Kate is convinced that Roz was murdered because of the box and she begins a long circuitous path to discover the answer. Along the way she is helped, or hindered, by a wide cast of characters. At various points during the narrative Kate isn't certain who is befriending her and who is doing the killing. The reader is also unsure.
The trail includes wild escapades across both England and the United States—all in search of answers. There are a number of discussions regarding the authorship of the plays and the different groups purporting to know who is the real author.
The reader needs to suspend disbelief when it comes to some of the scenes where they are either racing from place to place or miraculously assuming a new identity. The fact that some of these disguises appear with a nary a moment to spare does not take away from the suspense or fun.
Carrell engages the reader with the murders—each one aping murders found in one of the Shakespearian plays.
If you enjoy academic mysteries and want to be drawn into the many speculations revolving around the authorship of the plays you'll find this an intriguing read.
Mystery and Suspense Challenge