Review: The Shakespeare Manuscript

The Shakespeare Manuscript

The Shakespeare Manuscript
Stewart Buettner

Product Description (from
Not one of Shakespeare’s plays exists in manuscript form until a failing bookseller discovers a long-lost, early version of HAMLET. In an attempt to trace the puzzling manuscript’s origins, its new owner finds he can’t trust the identity of play’s author and soon has doubts about his own. But by then, the race to stage the new HAMLET is on, taking a toll on everyone involved. In the end, the new play leaves audience and actors alike wondering about the unexpected and moving consequences of the play they’ve just experienced.


This was my last book for the 2011 RIP Challenge, but I’ve been so busy that I’m a week (or more) behind in getting the review loaded. I FINISHED reading it on October 27th, however, so it still counts.

This was part soft mystery part contemporary fiction. We have a dynamic playboy director, an agoraphobic actress, the actresses gay rare bookseller father who seems to be suffering from dementia, a politician and his family, and a remote country house. All of the ingredients, I thought, for “Deathtrap” with “Hamlet.”

It was no “Deathtrap.”

But it was a lovely story about relationships, finding your place in the world (again), and being true to yourself. It was also an exploration of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who really wrote it, and whether or not the script found in the novel is really an early version of the script, a prequel, or a hoax.

The characters felt like they could have been real, for the most part, and I liked that the author didn’t give us a real answer to who wrote the script…there are several possible solutions to that mystery.

Goes well with a mug of strong coffee and a slice of peach pie.

The Shakespeare Manuscript
Stewart Buettner
Performance Arts Press, April 2011
278 Pages
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Readers Imbibing Peril (art by Melissa Nucera)