A Mystery of Errors

A Mystery of Errors Two travelers Will Shakespeare a fledgling dramatist and Symington Smythe an ostler and aspiring thespian meet at a roadside inn and decide to cast their lot together for fame and fortune in the c

  • Title: A Mystery of Errors
  • Author: Simon Hawke
  • ISBN: 9780812564549
  • Page: 245
  • Format: Paperback
  • Two travelers, Will Shakespeare a fledgling dramatist, and Symington Smythe, an ostler and aspiring thespian, meet at a roadside inn and decide to cast their lot together for fame and fortune in the cutthroat world of the London theater in Elizabethan England but neither was prepared for their offstage encounter with A Mystery of Errors When a backer s daughter is dTwo travelers, Will Shakespeare a fledgling dramatist, and Symington Smythe, an ostler and aspiring thespian, meet at a roadside inn and decide to cast their lot together for fame and fortune in the cutthroat world of the London theater in Elizabethan England but neither was prepared for their offstage encounter with A Mystery of Errors When a backer s daughter is double crossed by a would be suitor, the reluctant bride turns to the ostler and the playwright for help Little does anyone realize that these simple affairs of the heart and an arranged marriage will lead to a vast web of conspiracy, mistaken identity, and murder that finds the playwright targeted for assassination and the ostler hopelessly in love But such matters are routine in A Mystery of Errors, where Shakespeare in Love meets the Brother Cadfael mysteries of Ellis Peters.

    One thought on “A Mystery of Errors”

    1. 2.5 stars, rounded up.This novel suffered from comparison with recently read historical fiction by C.C. Humphreys, whose work stands head-and-shoulders above this little mystery. The writing of just the first page had me wondering if I would even bother to finish the book. After all, life is finite and there are tons of good books out there.I did persevere, however, and followed the story to its rather pedestrian end. The plot was imaginative and I wish the author had been able to exercise more [...]

    2. Oy. A piss-poor Shakespearian mystery, doomed from the start. When one of the characters quoted Sir Walter Scott, I threw the book across the room.

    3. Symington Smythe and Will Shakespeare try to solve the murder of a nobleman involved with the beautiful but reluctant bride Elizabeth Darcie (not Elizabeth Bennet Darcy). The merit of this somewhat tepid mystery lies in its vivid 16th century setting. It's fun to see a 20th century perspective on a well-known historical character, speculating on his life before his work was presented on stage. Light reading, best for avid Shakespeare buffs. For a better mystery relating to (but not featuring) Sh [...]

    4. “There was nothing quite so invigorating to the senses, Smythe decided, as ending a long and dusty day by being robbed.” So begins the story of Symington “Tuck” Smythe. On the road to London to find work in the theater, Tuck is robbed so many times that the last highwayman flips him a coin so that Tuck can have dinner and a room in a nearby inn. The inn is full and Tuck must share a room with a stranger, who also hopes to find work with a company of players. Tuck and the stranger, Willia [...]

    5. An absolutely fun read from the author who gave us the Time Wars series. From cover to cover, Simon Hawke provided a solid mystery, two cases of mistaken identity, class warfare (well, a skirmish anyway) and a personal take on Shakespeare that ought to delight his fans and infuriate those who try to find literary rapture from the Bard's every verse.Find it, buy it, read it, and most of all; enjoy it!

    6. I have friends who think that Simon Hawke is a hack. I don’t know. I just know that every book I’ve read by him has been entertaining. His “Timewars” series was a delightful pastiche of time travel adventures where, instead of traveling into the “real” past, the Time Corps (if I remember correctly) found themselves in historical fiction. Somehow, it all seemed more interesting that way. I didn’t worry about details, I just surfed the waves of the action and surprises like reading a [...]

    7. A rolicking, boisterous and absolutely entertaining take on what very well could have been. No one can say for sure what William Shakespeare did in those 'lost years' from 1587 to 1592. It's enticed many and Anthony Burgess aside, I found this author's speculative run, excellent value for the money. Would give this 4.5 stars if allowed. I had read the second Shakespeare & Smythe (Slaying of the Shrew) first and backtracked to the first. The books stand alone with enough backstory references [...]

    8. While, in essence, I liked the book, it had problems. First, this is supposed to be a murder mystery. It wasn't. Oh sure, there was a murder, although it didn't happen until 2/3 of the way through the book. And it wasn't really much of a mystery. I realize this was the set-up book for a new series so I won't hold it against Simon Hawke just yet, I'll see what the next book holds, it just bugs me that, for all the waiting, so much of the book was just filler.Symington Smythe and William Shakespea [...]

    9. This may be illegal to say, but I consider myself a drama fan who dislikes Shakespeare. I just never got into his writing. I read Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and MacBeth for school, and the Merry Wives of Windsor on my own. But I just wasn't that interested. And it's not like I don't read other older English plays. I read some Aphra Behn and some William Goldsmith. I guess I just always want to go against the grain, to not accept what most people enjoy. Whatever. Regardless of that bias, I [...]

    10. My final book of 2009, this is another short read, finished in a few hours on December 30. The main character, Symington Smythe, is traveling to London and on the way becomes friends with William Shakespeare, who is also on his way there. The two become entangled in a strange mystery, involving a girl (who Smythe falls in love with) who is engaged to be married by way of an arrangement by her father to a gentleman who she's never met. She is not interested in marrying this man, as she wants to m [...]

    11. I finally found the Shakespeare novel I had read several years ago! (Thanks to a group on where people help you find books you can't remember.) I read it again because it's part of series, and I didn't really remember it very well. This was possibly more of a 3 1/2, but I liked it enough to give it 3 stars. I think the thing I like most about it is the references to Shakespeare plays. This is supposed to be a novel about Symington Smyth, a guy coming to London to become an actor. He meets up wi [...]

    12. Very interesting premiss of Shakespeare as detective. Well actually Smythe is the detective. Shakespeare is just worried about making his debut as a playwrightry well researched though Hawke does not waste any words by filling in historical context. Which in all honesty gives the narattive more credibility and allows the action to flow more quickly.For those lacking the proper historical context to enjoy this novel I recomend Borrowing the PBS series "IN Search Of Shakespeare" hosted by: Michael [...]

    13. I picked this up as a light read not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. The author has clearly done his homework and has gotten a LOT right about both Shakespeare and his times. He also understands Shakespeare's playfulness and affinity for double entendre (chapter 2 contains a great example of this with fun innuendo). This book honors Shakespeare in a way of which I suspect he would approve: the author takes previous information/text and puts his own spin on it.Other reviews mentioned [...]

    14. This is the first book of Simon Hawke's (Timewars, etc.) historical mystery series set in the "lost years" (1585-1592) of Shakespeare's life. Mystery of Errors is a fun story (with an improbable plot worthy of, dare I say it, a Shakespeare comedy) and reasonably historically accurate if you ignore the occasional anachronism (tea in England in the 16th Century, use of the terms buccaneer and churchwarden pipe, etc.) which are not crucial to the plot of the story (critical details seem to be bette [...]

    15. A rather large pet peeve of mine is when an author attempts to write a historical novel using the language and "voice" of the times and then interjects modern slang into a conversation. It is jarring and breaks my concentration on the story.On the whole a very readable and enjoyable book, nothing terribly twisty or unpredictable. The main protagonists are reasonably fleshed out but most of the other characters remain somewhat 2 dimensional. It was rather enjoyable and surprising to see Shakespea [...]

    16. A young man named Smythe is heading to London to test his dream as an actor. He befriends a poet at an Inn. His name is William Shakespeare, recently of Stratford-on-Avon, heading to the big city to test his vocation as a writer. They gain jobs as ostlers at The Theatre and are involved in a murder mystery. All this is fodder for a future play, a comedy, by the Bard.Thie book is the first of a series of mysteries by the author. He has taught under-graduate level Shakespeare but does not claim th [...]

    17. When I realized this was a story set in Shakespeare's time (1564) , and had Shakespeare as a character, I was prepared to dislike it and Mr. Hawke as well. But it was very good! The story is believable, there are some plot turns, tho the "mystery" of "Anthony" Gresham was transparent. There are even some pleasant tidbits of Shakespeare here and there. Mr. Hawke does knows Shakespeare (see the Afterward) and has written a sometimes funny, descriptive piece that was very entertaining in only 233 p [...]

    18. Poorly done story hung a real person. The author had the Shakespeare character's dialog consist of famous lines from his works. Time line of the story is the unknown time in Will's life after first arriving in London. Plot of story is the same as "Comedy of Errors". I found it to be kind of stupid premise. Better to read some current works about his life and works. They are a lot more interesting.

    19. Symington "Tuck" Smythe is traveling to London to try to become an actor. Along the way he teams up with William Shakespeare who is traveling to London to try to become a play write. They get work as ostlers and soon become involved with the plight of Elizabeth Darcie who is engaged to a man she does not wish to marry. There isn't much of a mystery in this book. I did like the setup of the team of Smythe and Shakespeare and I will be looking for more books in this series.

    20. Oh I do like Hawke, but this did drag a little in spots. Still, an homage, and some of the funny bits were funny. Nowhere near on the level of his Sorcerer works, which are, to my mind, his best output. He's done some good Star Trek, Blaze of Glory in particular as well, so not one to just brush off even if this wasn't quite to my taste.

    21. One of four (so far) clever whodunnits set in Shakespeare's Elizabethan London, starring the unlikely pair of investigators, John Smythe (would-be actor) and Shakespeare himself (playwright and part-time sleuth).

    22. A good read, the puns/references made me mad but in that way that puns are supposed to make you mad, because they're good. Interesting story line, lovely mashup of the bard and some intriguing setup for the rest of the series!

    23. A fun little tale. The author makes use of the "missing years" in Shakespeare's biography to give us a nice period piece. I thought the resolution was a bit abrupt compared to the rest of the book but overall a good read.

    24. First in a series and a very entertaining read. I have always enjoyed Simon Hawke's other works and was surprised to find these as they are not his normal area of writing. I was not disappointed and would recommend them for a pleasant read.

    25. An enjoyable, lightweight read set in Elizabethan London amid actors and romantic highwaymen, damsels in distress, etc. Totally predictable, but fun and quick.

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