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A Mystery of Errors (Shakespeare & Smythe #1)

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  126 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Two travelers, Will Shakespeare-a fledgling dramatist, and Symington Smythe, an ostler and aspiring thespian, meet at a roadside inn and decide to cast their lot together for fame and fortune in the cutthroat world of the London theater in Elizabethan England . . . but neither was prepared for their offstage encounter with A Mystery of Errors.When a backer's daughter is do ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 19th 2001 by Tor Books (first published December 5th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 329)
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Mar 17, 2010 Carolynne rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Symington Smythe and Will Shakespeare try to solve the murder of a nobleman involved with the beautiful but reluctant bride Elizabeth Darcie (not Elizabeth Bennet Darcy). The merit of this somewhat tepid mystery lies in its vivid 16th century setting. It's fun to see a 20th century perspective on a well-known historical character, speculating on his life before his work was presented on stage. Light reading, best for avid Shakespeare buffs. For a better mystery relating to (but not featuring) Sh ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Lydia rated it really liked it
I am a Shakespeare fan, and thought this was a pretty fun read.
Aug 06, 2012 Brittany rated it really liked it
I finally found the Shakespeare novel I had read several years ago! (Thanks to a group on Goodreads where people help you find books you can't remember.) I read it again because it's part of series, and I didn't really remember it very well. This was possibly more of a 3 1/2, but I liked it enough to give it 3 stars. I think the thing I like most about it is the references to Shakespeare plays. This is supposed to be a novel about Symington Smyth, a guy coming to London to become an actor. He me ...more
May 30, 2013 Johnny rated it liked it
I have friends who think that Simon Hawke is a hack. I don’t know. I just know that every book I’ve read by him has been entertaining. His “Timewars” series was a delightful pastiche of time travel adventures where, instead of traveling into the “real” past, the Time Corps (if I remember correctly) found themselves in historical fiction. Somehow, it all seemed more interesting that way. I didn’t worry about details, I just surfed the waves of the action and surprises like reading a golden age su ...more
Brian Henderson
May 21, 2010 Brian Henderson rated it liked it
While, in essence, I liked the book, it had problems. First, this is supposed to be a murder mystery. It wasn't. Oh sure, there was a murder, although it didn't happen until 2/3 of the way through the book. And it wasn't really much of a mystery. I realize this was the set-up book for a new series so I won't hold it against Simon Hawke just yet, I'll see what the next book holds, it just bugs me that, for all the waiting, so much of the book was just filler.

Symington Smythe and William Shakespea
Sep 25, 2008 Gloria rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This may be illegal to say, but I consider myself a drama fan who dislikes Shakespeare. I just never got into his writing. I read Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and MacBeth for school, and the Merry Wives of Windsor on my own. But I just wasn't that interested. And it's not like I don't read other older English plays. I read some Aphra Behn and some William Goldsmith. I guess I just always want to go against the grain, to not accept what most people enjoy. Whatever. Regardless of that bias, I ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Deana rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, read-library
My final book of 2009, this is another short read, finished in a few hours on December 30. The main character, Symington Smythe, is traveling to London and on the way becomes friends with William Shakespeare, who is also on his way there. The two become entangled in a strange mystery, involving a girl (who Smythe falls in love with) who is engaged to be married by way of an arrangement by her father to a gentleman who she's never met. She is not interested in marrying this man, as she wants to m ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Feb 26, 2011 Cathrine Bonham rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Shakespearian Scholars and Casual play goers alike
Very interesting premiss of Shakespeare as detective. Well actually Smythe is the detective. Shakespeare is just worried about making his debut as a playwright.

very well researched though Hawke does not waste any words by filling in historical context. Which in all honesty gives the narattive more credibility and allows the action to flow more quickly.

For those lacking the proper historical context to enjoy this novel I recomend Borrowing the PBS series "IN Search Of Shakespeare" hosted by: Mich
Symington "Tuck" Smythe is traveling to London to try to become an actor. Along the way he teams up with William Shakespeare who is traveling to London to try to become a play write. They get work as ostlers and soon become involved with the plight of Elizabeth Darcie who is engaged to a man she does not wish to marry. There isn't much of a mystery in this book. I did like the setup of the team of Smythe and Shakespeare and I will be looking for more books in this series.
Jun 30, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries

I picked this up as a light read not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. The author has clearly done his homework and has gotten a LOT right about both Shakespeare and his times. He also understands Shakespeare's playfulness and affinity for double entendre (chapter 2 contains a great example of this with fun innuendo). This book honors Shakespeare in a way of which I suspect he would approve: the author takes previous information/text and puts his own spin on it.

Other reviews mentio
Sean Randall
Jun 09, 2014 Sean Randall rated it liked it
Oh I do like Hawke, but this did drag a little in spots. Still, an homage, and some of the funny bits were funny. Nowhere near on the level of his Sorcerer works, which are, to my mind, his best output. He's done some good Star Trek, Blaze of Glory in particular as well, so not one to just brush off even if this wasn't quite to my taste.
A rather large pet peeve of mine is when an author attempts to write a historical novel using the language and "voice" of the times and then interjects modern slang into a conversation. It is jarring and breaks my concentration on the story.

On the whole a very readable and enjoyable book, nothing terribly twisty or unpredictable. The main protagonists are reasonably fleshed out but most of the other characters remain somewhat 2 dimensional. It was rather enjoyable and surprising to see Shakespea
Angel Pascoe
Tuck and Shakespeare are fun and i like the book but I LOVE Sir William. Hope he's in the whole series:)
Peggy Daub
Jul 29, 2014 Peggy Daub rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in mysteries and the times of Shakespeare
Not the greatest novel in the world, but I enjoyed the characters and will read others in this series.
A young man named Smythe is heading to London to test his dream as an actor. He befriends a poet at an Inn. His name is William Shakespeare, recently of Stratford-on-Avon, heading to the big city to test his vocation as a writer. They gain jobs as ostlers at The Theatre and are involved in a murder mystery. All this is fodder for a future play, a comedy, by the Bard.
Thie book is the first of a series of mysteries by the author. He has taught under-graduate level Shakespeare but does not claim th
Fred Fisher
Mar 19, 2012 Fred Fisher rated it did not like it
Poorly done story hung a real person. The author had the Shakespeare character's dialog consist of famous lines from his works. Time line of the story is the unknown time in Will's life after first arriving in London. Plot of story is the same as "Comedy of Errors". I found it to be kind of stupid premise. Better to read some current works about his life and works. They are a lot more interesting.
Pretty good...entertaining throughout!!
Aug 28, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
First in a series and a very entertaining read. I have always enjoyed Simon Hawke's other works and was surprised to find these as they are not his normal area of writing. I was not disappointed and would recommend them for a pleasant read.
Sep 04, 2009 Cynthiaj rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cynthiaj by:
Shelves: mystery
A fun little tale. The author makes use of the "missing years" in Shakespeare's biography to give us a nice period piece. I thought the resolution was a bit abrupt compared to the rest of the book but overall a good read.
Sep 24, 2010 Curtiss rated it really liked it
One of four (so far) clever whodunnits set in Shakespeare's Elizabethan London, starring the unlikely pair of investigators, John Smythe (would-be actor) and Shakespeare himself (playwright and part-time sleuth).
Apr 05, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
An enjoyable, lightweight read set in Elizabethan London amid actors and romantic highwaymen, damsels in distress, etc. Totally predictable, but fun and quick.
May 14, 2011 Jane rated it did not like it
Oy. A piss-poor Shakespearian mystery, doomed from the start. When one of the characters quoted Sir Walter Scott, I threw the book across the room.
Derek Stiles
Jun 17, 2009 Derek Stiles rated it liked it
Enjoyable but not enthralling. Would be a good read for a teenager. The ending was a little bit cheesy. Good beach reading.
Aug 11, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
This book is lots of fun! If you like Shakespeare, a good mystery, and a bit of fun, I recommend it.
Mar 31, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it
Nifty Shakespearean pastiche
Feb 17, 2009 Lavina rated it liked it
fun read!
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aka J.D. Masters, Nicholas V. Yermakov

He was born Nicholas Valentin Yermakov, but began writing as Simon Hawke in 1984 and later changed his legal name to Hawke. He has also written near future adventure novels under the penname "J. D. Masters" and a series of humorous mystery novels.
More about Simon Hawke...

Other Books in the Series

Shakespeare & Smythe (4 books)
  • The Slaying of the Shrew (Shakespeare & Smythe, #2)
  • Much Ado About Murder (Shakespeare & Smythe, #3)
  • The Merchant of Vengeance (Shakespeare & Smythe, #4)

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