In recent years numerous real historical figures have turned up as characters in works of fiction, and oddly are frequently solving mysteries. In the mysteries of Gyles Brandreth, Oscar Wilde is solving murders along with his friends Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and William Wordsworth’s great-grandson Robert Sherard. Jane Austen stars in Stephanie Barron’s mystery series, which began with “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor”. Author Dan Simmons, places Victorian mystery writer Willie Collins along with his mentor Charles Dickens exploring the darkness behind the unfinished manuscript of “Drood”. So it’s not surprising to find Shakespeare doing his best sleuthing in a couple of series. In “The John Shakespeare Mysteries” by Rory Clements, William is the younger brother, a struggling playwright, helping his elder sibling investigate theft, murder and treason. William appears again as the cousin of another investigator also named William Shakespeare in the “William Shakespeare Detective Agency Series” by Colin Falconer.
Simon Hawke also has a full series begin with 2002’s “Much Ado About Murder” which features ostler and would be thespian Tuck Smythe and a young Will Shakespeare, fledging playwright. The Plague has hit London and the theatres are closed so the pair are seeking other employment, when a murder happens, and Will and Tuck are on the scene to investigate. Most of the series finds Will using the experiences and adventures they have as plot points or background in his plays.
“Time’s Fool: A Mystery of Shakespeare” by Leonard Tourney, has the Bard narrating his own story as he gives readers hints about the woman known as the Dark Lady of the sonnets. Of course, if mystery mixed with the supernatural is more to your taste, then Elizabeth Bear’s “Ink and Steel of the Promethean Age” might appeal. Here Master Shakespeare along with Kit Marlowe, find adventure and witches, warlocks and an assortment of fae creatures. Perhaps, its appropriate that a man whose life is such a mystery, could turn out to be a great detective.