I enjoyed The Bookman’s Tale, by Charlie Lovett, but I found that it fell a little flat. It tells the story of a young bookseller who discovers an old manuscript that might prove the truth about Shakespeare’s identity. The plot line was engaging for the most part and the mystery wrapped up very neatly at the end. However, it was rather predictable and I guessed at two key points (although not a third) well before the end. I also found it a bit annoying that the story jumped around in each chapter – essentially there were three separate storylines going on: the present, Peter’s college years when he met his wife, and a historical story of this particular manuscript. In some books this works but here I found it didn’t add anything and possibly detracted. My final issue with the book is that the storyline with Peter’s wife, Amanda, was extremely painful without being really crucial. When I read in the book jacket that the main character was an antiquarian bookseller recovering from his wife’s death, I assumed they were an older couple, but in fact they are only in their early 30s when this tragedy occurs. It just struck me as an unnecessarily tragic part of the story.