Jennifer Lee Carrell's first novel, Interred With Their Bones (Plume, 2008) is fast-paced addition to the literary thriller genre (and the "Shakespeare Mystery" subgenre). Recent developments in Shakespeare scholarship made it a particularly good choice for me this month, since it deals with the lost Shakespeare play Cardenio, as well as the larger question that conspiracy theorists everywhere love: "Who was Shakespeare?"
Carrell's narrative combines a Possession-style "lost manuscript quest" with quasi-Bondesque action sequences, double-crosses and a whole series of brutal, Shakespeare-based murders (a la The Dante Club). There were parts that strained credulity, and parts that just infuriated me (why does every book like this have to involve stealing something from an archive?!), but overall I enjoyed jumping into the world Carrell has crafted. Her research into Shakespeare's works and the controversy over his identity was clearly prodigious, and she explains the controversies over and evidence for the various non-Stratfordian candidates as well as anyone.
A good diversionary read, I found. And there's a sequel coming out in just a few weeks, too!