This book begins as a recollection typed out by Jake Mishkin, an intellectual property lawyer, who is holed up in a cabin on a lake in upstate New York, waiting for some very bad men to come and fetch something that must be very important.
Mishkin’s story contrasts with the more straightforward narrative of Albert Crosetti, who works at a used book store in New York, where there’s a fire. A young woman named Carolyn Rolly also works at the store, and she saves a set of rare old books from the fire, and brings them home to try and fix them up enough to still be sellable. Crosetti tags along, and they find a set of what appears to be Jacobean area letters stuffed in the covers of these old volumes.
It takes a while, but Crosetti is able to figure out that these letters talk about the existence of a Shakespeare play about Mary Queen of Scots, that no one has ever heard of before.
Mishkin and Crosetti’s stories eventually do intersect, as they search for the play, and it’s a fascinating ride. They both bring in a number of interesting characters with different skills they must call upon to solve the mystery of where this play is hidden, and Carolyn Rolly’s mysterious backstory also plays a part.
A good read for book lovers, and certainly fun for anyone interested in Shakespeare.