Was the famous poet and writer really a fraud and plagarist?
Was his name really a pseudonym for a well-known contemporary figure?
These questions have been debated since the 18th century.
The facts about Shakespeare are surprisingly meagre, and contrast puzzlingly with the learned, courtly philosopher revealed in the sonnets and plays.
Respected scholars and obsessive eccentrics have put forward many theories, suggesting that the works of Shakespeare were written by Francis Bacon, the Earl of Oxford, or Marlow.
This is an investigation of the claims and counter-claims, reading like a series of detective stories.
He lays out the evidence and the arguments for the various candidates, not forgetting Shakespeare himself, and provides a drily humorous commentary on the research and prejudices of their champions while adding insights of his own.