The Man Who Killed Shakespeare
Five Star, Nov 2007, $25.95
Thirty nine years old con artist Sam Ransom leaves California in a hurry before he is locked away or beaten to death by a hitman hired by a swindled investor. Besides he has his next scheme set in depression dying Shakespeare, New Mexico where the silver mines no longer work. The townsfolk look at Sam as a savior.
Also new to town is widow Lett Halsy, a former minor, who inherited the Roxy Jay bar and brothel and Wesley the dog from his late brother Howard. The bartender Jason has allowed locals to run up a tab while the brothel has one woman left fortyish Delight Jones. Sam hires Lett to run the mining operation. However, as Lett falls in love with Delight and takes two kids under his wings, he begins to have doubts about Sam’s operation even when they find a rich vein of gold and silver.
This is an enjoyable Depression Era romantic crime caper. Lett is a likable person who struggles to tell Delight how he feels about her; she shares his love, but also feels unworthy of such a kind soul. The support cast is strong as they provide refreshing insight into how desperate people became during the Depression in a small out of the way place as normally big cities have been featured in most books and movies. Although Sam is rotten to the core, fans will enjoy his operation as THE MAN WHO KILLED SHAKESPEARE with his Hoover prosperity is around the corner mining ruse.