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Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave (The Shakespeare Mysteries #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  450 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Twelve-year-old Colophon Letterford has a serious mystery on her hands. Will she discover the link between her family’s literary legacy and Shakespeare’s tomb before it’s too late? Antique paintings, secret passages, locked mausoleums, a four-hundred-year-old treasure, and a cast of quirky (and some ignoble) characters all add up to a fun original adventure. Readers will r ...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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Community Reviews

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Nov 10, 2015 Rob rated it really liked it
Deron Hicks, a local attorney and writer, was a welcome guest at our annual Friends of Library meeting. Because I enjoyed his presentation – and was a little curious about his book, especially since part of the story takes place just a few miles away – I decided to buy a copy, read it in one sitting, and then chalk up another number on my list. A Junior Library Guild selection, “Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave” is a well-written mystery for middle school kids. Heck, I even enjoyed i ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Abby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I am starting a new review system I will give a clip of WIIA (what it is about) Then the Pros, Cons, and iffy things (bad language, romance and so on)

WIIA: This is a mystery that takes you with a girl and her brother as they try to figure out to mysteries. One: is there a family treasure? Two: who is sabotaging her father's business? It gives back and forth perspectives from lots of different people including the bad guys. At the end it ends with a cliffhanger so I will be starting Book 2 immedi
Jun 11, 2015 Madi rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Star Rating:

*3.25 stars*


An ancient riddle etched into the frame of a family portrait.

Rumors of a hidden family treasure.

A string of unexplained accidents and mishaps.

These are Colophon Letterford's only clues to a mystery that is threatening to destroy her family. Time is running out, and she will need more than book-smarts to unearth secret passageways and to brave locked mausoleums by moonlight. Will Colophon solve the mystery of her family's fortune and rewrite the pages of literary h
Rick Riordan made Greek mythology relevant and relatable to kids and now Deron Hicks has done the same thing with William Shakespeare in his two books, The Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave and Tower of the Five Orders. Although Shakespeare is widely acknowledged as one of the best playwrights in the world, little is known about his personal life, but Deron Hicks turns the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare's life into two intriguing and fast paced middle grade mystery novels.

In Secrets we are intr
Jun 15, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
I love books for kids that include literary characters, especially Shakespeare. It plants seeds that will hopefully lead to a feeling of accessibility to classic literature. My favorite part of this book is the ending, a complete set up for book 2 and maybe beyond. But, the story took a long time to come together, I hope 4th- 6th graders will give the book a chance and not stop after the first 50 pages. It was very obvious who was going to fill the role of villain, other than that I really liked ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Nicole rated it really liked it
The main message in Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave is that one must keep following what they believe in to make a difference. Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave begins in present day Manchester, Georgia in the Letterford house, a three story dark red bricked home on a rolling hill with an impressive library. Letterford and Sons is a publishing company that has suffered many accidents, and is not running very well right now. Colophon Letterford, daughter of Mull Letterford, the owner of Letterford an ...more
Lee Födi
Nov 25, 2014 Lee Födi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book; it reminded me of the National Treasure movies, what with all the intrigue and booby traps. It also is sprinkled with some humor; kids are sure to love the smelly shoe scene. Perhaps the thing I loved the most was the author's choice of character names. Colophon, Case, and Mull . . . these names all pay homage to the history of books. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the cover; the design just doesn't seem to quite fit the tone and style of the writing ...more
A. Somers
May 02, 2013 A. Somers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: student-books
This is one of those cases that justifies the saying" Don't judge abook by its cover." I was somewhat reluctant to try the book because of the cartoonish nature of the cover picture. I'm so glad that I decided to give it a try. It is a kid's version of a Dan Brown novel, full of adventure, suspense, and historical intrigue. The characters are well developed and there is just the right touch of humor. The contemporary dialogue will attract 4th through 7th grade readers but it does not talk down t ...more
Mar 08, 2014 Tracie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j, mystery
Excellent story about a young girl from a distinguished publishing family who tries to uncover a secret code left by one of her one of her ancestors even as her father's position as head of the family is threatened from within. Great start to a series though this is a satisfying read on it's own.
Apr 26, 2015 Leona rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, to the way it switches locations from one Letterford to another, the clues, the suspense, and the ending. I can't wait to read the second book.

A page turner without a doubt, I finished it within a few hours, and I do not regret it. Now on the the second one.
Alan Chiu
Feb 25, 2014 Alan Chiu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yay
To all readers:

It was awesome! Why, because it had hard vocabulary , unlike the Thea Sisters series, and it had a juicy plot that could let your mind turn and think. To sum it up, it deserved a well earned 5 stars.
Jan 07, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-my-classroom
I love a fun mystery, and I love Shakespeare! After spending a good two weeks in Stratford Upon Avon and moving my daughter there to become a Shakespearean scholar, I loved the opportunity to revisit the Bard's hometown in prose and mentally retrace my own steps at the Trinity Church. When older brother Case was pursuing clues and helping his Dad in NYC, I was right with them through Central Park! I highly recommend this book for my middle school students. I can't wait to get the next book.
May 08, 2014 Liz rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to anyone between 8 - ?? who loves mysteries. Colophon Letterford loves the fact that her family is in the publishing business and her father is in charge of the Letterford and Sons Publishing which allows her to live in the mansion in Manchester, Georgia that was built in 1876 by her great-great grandfather and also live in the house in England during the summer. But someone is trying to destroy her father's position and if he does not sign at least four big named a ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Jan 19, 2015 Cathrine Bonham rated it it was amazing
This book was exciting, great characters and an interesting premise made it a page turner.

Colophon Letterford is the daughter of Mull Letterford the owner of one of the oldest and most respected publishing houses in the industry. It's also entirely family run.

Treemont Letterford is Mull's cousin and believes the company is rightfully his. Colophon believes he's to blame for a series of unfortunate accidents within the company. After Treemont threatens to enact an old family loophole, she is sur
Jul 23, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, mystery, young-teen
If you like scavenger hunt mysteries and clever historical references, "The Secret of Shakespeare's Grave" will likely be the perfect, quick read for a lazy day in a comfy chair.

Colophon Letterford is an avid reader, which makes her a shining example of Letterford and Sons Publishing, the world-famous, English publishing company owned and operated by the Letterford family for centuries. Colophon and her family now live in New England, with her father as acting head of the company, but when a jea
Carolyn Arrington
Jul 09, 2014 Carolyn Arrington rated it liked it
This is Book 1 in the trilogy - The Shakespeare Mysteries. In some ways the series reminds me of the 39 Clues books. The Letterford family owns a publishing firm. In this book 12 year old Colophon's father, Mull, is the head of the Letterford Publishing. Several disasters have befallen the company and the family is now questioning his leadership. Treemont Letterford is ready to take Mull's place. In fact Treemont has been committing acts of sabotage to make sure that he is appointed the new comp ...more
Becky B
Apr 17, 2014 Becky B rated it really liked it
Miles Letterford started a highly successful publishing company, still in the hands of the Letterford family to this day. Colophon Letterford's father is the CEO of that company as the eldest in line, but his position has become a bit shaky after some weird accidents have hit the company recently. The family (heavily persuaded by cousin Treemont) has given her father until Christmas Eve to make three successful deals or he will have to step down as CEO. But Colophon's ancestor Miles Letterford d ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Surani rated it really liked it
Very exciting and an engaging read!! Enjoyed reading about mysteries around the famous playwright and traipsing through old buildings and graveyards looking for clues to age old mysteries!!
Adriane Devries
Apr 22, 2015 Adriane Devries rated it liked it
Shelves: youth-fiction
Twelve year old Colophon Letterford is not like other middle school girls, and not only because she is named after a printer’s emblem on the spine of a book. She writes essays for fun during vacation, she lives in a mansion, and she would like nothing more than to become the head of the family’s prestigious publishing business when she grows up. Unfortunately, her bully of an older brother, Case, is next in line to become head of the firm, despite his lack of interest in written words whatsoever ...more
Moushumi Ghosh
Oct 24, 2013 Moushumi Ghosh rated it it was amazing
Colophon a 12 year old uses her brain to solve a 400 year old mystery of a treasure that is rumoured to be in her family. What a good well-plotted mystery! After a long time, I am reading a book that combines all my favourite elements -- Shakespeare, mystery, books, and publishing. What imaginative names - Colophon, Case, Letterford! A crackling good yarn. More I believe are coming up. Can't wait for them.
Cricket Muse
Dec 12, 2015 Cricket Muse rated it liked it
The idea of a precocious twelve year old solving a family mystery is definitely not new, nor is the trope of said protagonist being part of a large eccentric family. Those two aspects should be enough to halt any sort of interest in reading The Secrets of Shakespeare Grave. Yet, Shakespeare is the irresistible hook. In terms of characters, they are all a bit standard: obnoxious older brother, sensitive father, stalwart mother, a heinous villain, odd assorted relatives. The premise of solving an ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Kori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
What's not to love? Mysterious codes, family secrets, hitory, creepy mausoleums, a hilarious dog chase, and a case of bad smelly feet. Not to mention featured passages by the Bard himself. My son and I loved this book - and I was pretty surprised at the end when my 11 year old boy asked for the sequel to a book featuring a FEMALE heroine! Well done, Mr. Hicks. Well done!
Aug 29, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
A fun, YA mystery that reads quickly and introduces kids to the rich field and intrigue of English literature. In the same vein as From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but less sophisticated. The story is entertaining and the plot moves, but the characters and the clues/mystery are underdeveloped. I would like to see more of the characters's struggle with solving clues rather than simply believing that a 12-year old girl with sparkling intelligence sees connections instantaneous ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
It's been a while sine I read a YA novel, and the pace of this was satisfyingly brisk. I was drawn in to the plight of the Letterford family and repulsed by those who laid plans to undermine them, but I knew that things would probably work out, and I would not have to wait long to find out how it went. The story is told in simple, but not condescending language and is filled with intellectual references that give the narrative sophistication. I love the relationship between the heroine, Colophon ...more
Nov 03, 2015 M. rated it really liked it
Colophon is the younger child in the Letterford family, a family which has had a distinguished place in the publishing industry for the past 400 years. Her dad is the president of the company but a treacherous second cousin is out to take his place. It's up to Colophon and Julian, another cousin, to foil the plot and find the treasure that will save the company.

Lots of action, lots of movement. Colophon and Julian, solving puzzle after puzzle and traveling from the US to Stratford-on-Avon to Lon
Aug 12, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written story that has events happening in two places that eventually go together at the end (reminded me of Dan Brown books) - and you learn a little about Shakespeare along the way. Would be a great read aloud - Grades 4-6.
Stephanie Sapp
Jun 07, 2015 Stephanie Sapp rated it it was amazing
Great mystery book, majority of the book was read in one day. I couldn't put it down.
Natalie VanDusen
WOW. I think this is the fastest I've ever finished a book. This had everything I love: mystery, literary allusions, puzzles and history. This series just sky-rocketed to the top of my favorites.
Ms Threlkeld
Fast-paced mystery that left me wanting more. The author manages to pack in historical information without making the reader feel like they're stuck in a beginner's course on Shakespeare.
May 12, 2016 Nora rated it it was ok
I'm not really sure what happened here. This book has all the elements of a story I'd love:

Mystery? Check!
Shakespeare? Check!
Precocious child? Check!

But it just didn't grab me at all. In fact, I struggled to even finish it. When I reflect back, I think my biggest complaint is that the mystery comes together a little too easily. There's very little misdirection or dead ends, they just solve the puzzle in a quick and efficient liner fashion. Not much excitement here, and what there was is manufact
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I live in Warm Springs, Georgia with my wife Angela, daughter Meg, and son Parker. I am a proud graduate of the University of Georgia, where I obtained a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting. Having obtained a degree in painting, I took the next logical step in life -- I went to Law school (more specifically, Mercer Law School, which I loved). After years in private practice, I had an idea for ...more
More about Deron R. Hicks...

Other Books in the Series

The Shakespeare Mysteries (2 books)
  • Tower of the Five Orders (The Shakespeare Mysteries #2)

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