The Shakespeare Conundrum

From the book cover:

The controversy over the authorship of Shakespeare is two centuries old, and the doubters were numerous: Mark Twain, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, Sigmond Freud, Charlie Chaplin, even Orson Welles questioned the veracity of Shakespeare as author.

For starters, the man had no known education. He was raised by illiterate parents in a rural farm village, where the local school only had three grades. But even that much schooling is in doubt, because there is no evidence he was ever registered there (or anywhere) as a student. He signed his wedding certificate with an ‘x’. His will included no books–not even a bible–and his gravestone epitaph is superstitious and illiterate.

So who was the true author? Once again, the evidence is extensive and conclusive, and points in a single direction, to a man forced to live in exile sending plays from Italy to the Globe, where Shakespere, whose three roles in the company (actor, producer and ‘author’) assured that he would be first to receive anything, then he simply stamped his name on them. Four centuries of grave injustice cannot easily be overcome. But this is a start…

This represents the opening salvo in my new series The Jake Fleming Investigations, featuring an investigative reporter and member of two endangered species: he’s a journalist, and works for a print newspaper.

From the book cover:

San Francisco-based Investigative reporter Jake Fleming has a problem: Desmond Lewis, a Professor of English Literature and an old friend of his from London has vanished, en-route to a talk at the University of California in Berkeley about a new book promising shocking revelations. He never arrives. When a rented car is found parked on the Golden Gate Bridge with Lewis’s travel bag in the trunk, the police deem it a suicide. Jake doesn’t believe that for a minute, and convinces his newspaper The San Francisco Tribune, to sponsor a trip to London to investigate.

When Jake arrives, he discovers Lewis’s office and apartment have both been ransacked. Any evidence of a new book is gone: no manuscripts, no flash drives, nothing. The only remaining clue is a list of brief words or abbreviations. Their meaning escapes him, but it’s all he has.

Published by ecayres

Author of multiple mystery novels and thrillers, and a former screenwriter.

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