What do you say when an author combines Shakespeare with a mystery that traverses two different lifetimes? And it’s the author’s first work of fiction, no less? Amazing. Could it have been better? Of course. There’s not many works that cannot stand to be improved.
For lovers of Shakespeare, as I am, Interred is a delight, as Carrell includes copious amount of detail about the writer, his life and works, the on-going debate as to his identity, and the search for works that could be attributed to him. Athenaide’s “Hamletonian” estate, including the trick of hidden passageways that lay behind fireplaces, was a nice bonus.
The mystery part seemed almost to be a part of the back story, Shakespeare the motivating force of the book. Hints of this were found in the sudden appearance of a British detective inspector (in American terms – a plain clothes police detective) in the States and the way Athenaide’s housekeeper ended up collapsing in the driveway. A little warning or foundation for these, and others like them, would have helped smooth over the rough edges. My other main concern was the pile up bodies and Kate’s somewhat lack of concern of whom might be doing it – a continuing naiveté that should have been dispelled after the second body?
That being said, I loved Kate in that she made me want to go out and conduct research and read some Shakespeare. The ending was better than most mysteries, which seem to end with all the threads tied, all the issues resolved. It was also a surprise, which seemed to pull the mystery out of the back story and merge it with the Shakespearean elements.
Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars, if Goodreads accepted half stars.
Reviewed by Susan Berry
Layered Pages Review Team Member