Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Note: The Merchant of Vengeance

Hawke, Simon. The Merchant of Vengeance. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2003.

The fourth in the series of "Shakespeare and Smythe Mystery Series" (I somehow missed Much Ado About Murder, the third book, but I shall attempt to rectify that shortly), The Merchant of Vengeance, is very strong on characterization and language use but not quite as compelling in the details of the murder mystery.

Still, it's a good, fun read. As with A Mystery of Errors and The Slaying of the Shrew, I'm loathe to provide spoilers, but this one contains a lot of interaction with Shakespeare's contemporaries. We meet the largely-destestable Robert Greene in a pub, and Shakespeare thinks about ways to outdo Marlowe's Jew of Malta, finding a way to present a Jew on stage with the fullness of his humanity.

And there's a murder and betrayal and a league of thieves and exciting, insulting exchanges and romance (a bit). I recommend The Merchant of Vengeance as a light end-of-summer read that still has some gravitas.

Click below to purchase the book from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


No comments:

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest