Shakespeare for Squirrels
by Moore, Christopher

An uproarious hardboiled mystery inspired by Shakespeare's most-performed play finds The Serpent of Venice's Pocket of Dog Snogging assuming the duties of a murdered Puck to identify hidden adversaries who have complicated an arranged marriage. 200,000 first printing.

*Starred Review* Pocket, star of Moore's Fool (2009) and The Serpent of Venice (2014), returns for another comic adventure based on a play by William Shakespeare-this time it's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Stranded in Greece, Pocket is determined to worm his way into the duke's inner circle. Well, don't you know, his plan goes horribly, hilariously wrong, and, before you know it, Pocket is wandering around in the Forest of Arden, ruled by King Oberon, whose fool, a fellow by the name of Puck, has been-gasp!-murdered. It takes a certain amount of guts and wild abandon to recast a Shakespeare comedy as a hard-boiled detective story, but if anyone can pull it off, it's master satirist Moore, whose gift for funny business apparently knows no bounds. What sets him apart from most of his fellow comic storytellers is his determination never to let the story take a back seat to the jokes. And yet, the humor flows from the story; the story isn't dictated by the jokes. A welcome return of a fan-favorite character in a romp of a tale that will delight not only mystery buffs but also fantasy fanatics, and, of course, Bard lovers. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night's Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap. Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare's Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who's captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he's commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck's killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke's steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who's run off with Egeus' daughter, Hermia, i nstead of marrying Helena, who's in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare's play. Moore's contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard. A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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