Shakespeare's Secrets

Former Collierville Herald columnist for A.F.T.erthoughts, Aaron F. Tatum, will have a book signing and presentation on his novel Shakespeare’s Secrets at the Germantown Public Library on Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m.  

The novel, set in modern times, incorporates historical data concerning the ongoing debate over who wrote the works of Shakespeare.  

He will be introduced by State Representative Jim Coley, current chairman of the Higher Education Committee in the Tennessee House.

“While there is always growing data on the subject,”  Tatum said, “it tends to be plodding non-fiction which makes it less accessible to readers, thus, I wrote a novel with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery and a touch of romance.  It’s sort of DaVinci Code without a murder but with a good sprinkling of documented historical data examining the authorship question.”

 The novel features a hero who is a semi-retired English folk-rock musician turned music critic for a major London daily newspaper who becomes attracted to the mystery of who wrote the works.  He is cast onto the trail of miscreants who may have found a smoking gun in artifacts and/or documents proving the case one way or another.  He finds himself scrambling to upstate New York for a mysterious rendezvous surrounded by an annual meeting of the American Sherlock Holmes fan club then off to Europe before returning to London in great suspense.

“He’s a member of the Sherlock Holmes group in London, so he’s able to fit in well with the club in New York,”  Tatum said.  “Therefore I had to place the Sherlock Holmes figure on the book’s cover--especially since I’m a member and former head of the Memphis Sherlockian club, the Giant Rats of Sumatra.”

Tatum is also former president of the Shakespeare Oxford Society (now the Shakespeare Author Fellowship) in North America and a member of the De Vere Society of Great Britain, both devoted to the authorship question.  

“Our hero still composes music so I’ll feature a song written by him (actually composed by my brother Tim) in Elizabethan style with lyrics by a famous playwright (actually written by yours truly).  I’ll usually open with the song and then go right into the presentation, take questions then sign books.”

 The novel is getting excellent reviews on Amazon and is selling steadily at Novel on S. Perkins in Memphis.  “I’m finding sales in the UK and in stores where there’s no promotion, just shelf presence,” he said.  “While I do have sections of the book where characters inadvertently espouse the historical data, I do it in fairly short bursts and parts of the data also tie into the plot still has the friction of good guys versus bad.  It’s a bit of a page turner.”

Tatum also will be available after the presentation to any who show up having finished the book and want to ask questions about the plot, characters, format and writing.  “I’m careful during the talk not to give away too much so readers don’t have it spoiled,”  Tatum said.  “Oh yes, the book has some good British humor and jeu de mots so it’s not all white knuckle suspense.  I will look forward to seeing longstanding friends from Collierville and Germantown especially since my column ran so successfully there for many years.”

Tatum also encourages any local members who have deerstalkers to wear them since he will don his during the opening part of his talk.