Shakespeare’s Champion (#2)

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Shakespeare, Arkansas, is a small Southern town with plenty of secrets, and Charlaine Harris’s Lily Bard, fresh from her acclaimed debut in Shakespeare’s Landlord, is just one more of its residents—albeit one harboring a few secrets of her own—with a desire to live quietly. 

Lily keeps to herself, between her job as a cleaning woman for several townspeople and her visits to the gym, where she’s a devotee of karate and bodybuilding. These two pursuits seem a bit odd for the petite Southern woman, but as work and play, they keep her focused and balanced.

When a fellow gym member is found dead after a workout with a barbell across his throat, Lily wants to believe it’s an accident. But looking at the incident against the background of other recent events in Shakespeare, including a few incidents that appear to be racially motivated, she’s afraid it could be a part of something much, much bigger–and more sinister…


“Wheels within wheels in a suspense story packed with nasty characters, a few good guys, some graphic sex, and more exercise and karate lore than you ever wanted to know. Lily’s stubborn, moody, gutsy persona holds it all together, and most readers will be with her to the finish.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“As good and, in some ways, better than its predecessor, SHAKESPEARE’S CHAMPION embodies a first-rate mystery, but this time also includes a special relationship drama about two wounded soldiers who heal each other through their love for one another. Charlaine Harris’ newest entry deserves top ten consideration.”

Midwest Book Review

“Full of surprises, this second fast-paced and gripping Lily Bard adventure showcases the amateur sleuth’s strength, determination, and martial arts prowess […] An engaging puzzler that's propelled smoothly along by Lily’s easy no-frills narration.”

Publishers Weekly

“We love the heroine of this compelling mystery […] Lily is too cool.”


“Precise storytelling and original characterizations make SHAKESPEARE’S CHAMPION, Charlaine Harris’ second Lily Bard mystery, surpass last year’s debut.”

Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Lily Bard gives as good as she gets. The reading is fast and the actions faster, proving that women really are the better half.”

Mostly Murder

“Harris does an excellent job with the Lily Bard character, neatly blending the vulnerability of someone who’s endured a truly horrific experience with the courage needed to continue. The supporting characters also captivate the reader […] Harris delivers murder with a distinct edge and an amateur sleuth training to move mountains while she cleans up the town. Lily’s on her way to becoming a contender.”

Mystery News

“A most terrific second mystery in the Lily bard series […] oh, how I love them! Lily Bard is Kinsey and V.I. multiplied by 10.”

Tulsa World

“SHAKESPEARE’S CHAMPION is a good cosy, small town mystery, but with the complex characters it’s also something more.”

Book Chick City

“I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries and/or tough female characters. Charlaine Harris’ characters are wonderful. They are quixotic combinations of practicality, spotenaity, weaknesses and strengths […] The plot was well drawn and, I must admit, the final chapter of the book was a surprise. If you enjoyed the first one, you will love the second one.”

All Readers

Awards & Accolades


#8 MWA Bestseller List


Mostly Murder: “Year's Best”