Author: Tara Lain
Book: The Case of the Sexy Shakespearean
Series: The Middlemark Mysteries, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 204 pages, 64K words
Categories: Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
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…
3.5✨s – This was a cute interpretation of a cozy mystery mixed with gay romance elements. Llewelyn is a nerdy, introverted history professor, so to release his wilder side, he’s created the alter ego and semi-public face of Ramon Rondell, popular writer of outrageous books on historical mysteries. Ramon is also the professors cruising disguise when out on the town and he is captivated one night by a glimpse of a handsome man. When Llewelyn meets Blaise Arthur at a dinner with Anne de Vere, wanting to prove her ancestor was Shakespeare, that sets up a somewhat convoluted but fun murder investigation with a side of misdirection. Suddenly both Llewelyn and Ramon are under an unwanted spotlight.
There’s some fairly strong character building for both the couple and secondary characters. Blaise is not really who he seems to be either, creating a sort of subplot that merges with the main storyline when he’s accused of murder. Llewelyn and Blaise fit well as a couple when written in the typical cozy mystery style but it did lose something in the translation to actual sex scenes. It did work quite well for the clever and original plot which wasn’t all that easy to figure out early and I appreciate a little added twist to a story. I enjoyed the romantic buildup; a little UST, the devastating secret, the will-they won’t-they anticipation near the end. After a couple of darker reads this was a nice change of pace and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys their mystery with a lighter, more humorous touch.
About Tara Lain:
Read the Beautiful Boys of Romance Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, Best Erotic Romance, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!