When I first saw the cover for Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach (author of Masterpiece), I thought, “Oh, a Chasing Vermeer knock-off. I wonder how good it is?”
I discovered it’s very good. And in my opinion, much better than Chasing Vermeer.
(I haven’t reviewed Chasing Vermeer because while I like that the book, and its sequels, got my children and I discussing art and architecture, the character’s discovered clues to the mystery through their feelings and by coincidence instead of actually finding clues and solving riddles.)
In Shakespeare’s Secret, Broach introduces us to Beatrice and Hero, sisters named after characters in Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing. Their father is a Shakespeare scholar, and they’ve moved frequently to facilitate his research. Hero always has a hard time fitting into a new school, and envies her sister’s seemingly effortless transitions.
In her new school, she has to endure endless teasing about her name, but Hero finds a friend in her neighbor, Mrs. Roth. Mrs. Roth tells Hero about a missing diamond the police are convinced is hidden in the house her family just moved into, and Danny Cordova, the most popular kid in school, seems determined to be her friend and help solve the mystery.Â The only problem is that he’s the sheriff’s son.
Danny and Hero follow clues, solve riddles and discover the diamond – and much more. Part mystery, part suspense, part history, Shakespeare’s Secret may cause you to want to pull out some Shakespeare yourself once you’re done.