Sleep of Death - Philip Gooden
I'm a sucker for historical crime fiction and always like the chance to get hold of the first novel of any new (or new-to-me, at least) series. I'd heard about this series but hadn't been able to get my mitts on 'Sleep of Death' till very recently, although it was first published in 2000.

If the title didn't give it away, 'Sleep of Death' is yet another Elizabethan period mystery, this time set in Shakespeare's own troupe of players - our protagonist, Nick Revill, is a would-be thespian who's managed to get himself a temporary role playing alongside the man himself, including a small part in the playwright's latest about trouble within a certain Danish royal family. Revill gets himself involved in a dispute about a stolen necklace as well and finds himself pulled into a family where life seems to have imitated art - his new best friend's father has recently died, after which his mother married his uncle. Is there more to this than meets the eye or is it mere coincidence?

I have to say 'Sleep of Death' is not the best thing I've ever read, and Nick Revill has some rough edges to say the least (though he does have the detective's traditional Troubled Past to make up for it...). It was enjoyable enough, though, to make me want to keep an eye out for the next in the series - Death of Kings.