Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is an astonishingly prolific author (she has over 70 books to her name) who thrives on variety. In addition to her excellent Bill Slider police procedurals (Body Line, 2011), she also writes a long-running historical family saga called the Morland Dynasty (The Foreign Field, 2009), and has also done chick lit (Harte’s Desire, 2008), historical fiction (I, Victoria, 1996), romances both contemporary (Julia, 2003) and historical (The Colonel’s Daughter, 2005)—and fantasy and children’s fiction, too. When we asked her to share her favorite read from the last year, she named a book by another prolific author who likes to experiment.
In Jasper Fforde’s One of our Thursdays is Missing, ace literary detective Thursday Next disappears in sinister circumstances just a week before the peace talks aimed at averting a devastating genre war. Her written alter ego is dragged from semi-retirement at the quiet end of fantasy fiction to search for her and foil a fiendish plot that threatens the very existence of BookWorld.
Stuffed with allusions, erudition, sly cultural satire, puns, wordplay, wonderful jokes, and sheer breathtaking inventiveness, this sixth entry in a transcendent series is the best yet.
Fforde creates a world one twist sideways from the one we know, at once bizarre, and as comfortably familiar as a dralon sofa. His characters, even the fictional ones, are real people, his dialogue is as natural as breathing, his plotting is taut, and all the clues are there if you want to solve the mystery. But if, like me, you look forward all year to a new Jasper Fforde, you may just want to let go and enjoy the wild ride.
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(Link to Dralon added for the benefit of U.S. readers.)