BY SEAN CLARK
JABBIC is kind of like Balderdash with book covers. Based only on the cover at right, three of our contributors made up a one-paragraph premise for this week’s contestant, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, by Jasper Fforde–coming out in March. Can you pick out the book’s real plot? (The answer will be posted in the comments later today.)
1. With the real Thursday Next missing, the “written” Thursday Next leaves her book to undertake an assignment for the Jurisfiction Accident Investigation Department, in Fforde’s wild and wacky sixth BookWorld novel (after Thursday Next: First Among Sequels). As written Thursday Next finds herself playing roles intended for her real counterpart, BookWorld’s elite try to deal with a border dispute between Racy Novel and Women’s Fiction. It’s not always possible to know where one is in BookWorld, which has been drastically remade, or in Fforde’s book, which shares the madcap makeup of Alice in Wonderland, even borrowing Alice’s dodo. Outrageous puns and clever observations relating to the real book world abound. Fforde’s diabolical meshing of insight and humor makes a “mimefield” both frightening and funny, while the reader must traverse a volume that’s a minefield of unexpected and amusing twists.
2. Alive and hiding in South America, the fiendish Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a horrifying project—the creation of the Fourth Reich. Barry Fowler, a young investigative journalist, gets wind of the project and informs famed Interpol detective Martin Thursday, but before he can relay the evidence, Fowler is killed. Thus Jasper Fforde opens one of the strangest and most masterful novels of his career. Why has Mengele marked a number of harmless aging men for murder? What interest can they possibly hold for their killers: six former SS men dispatched from South America by the most wanted Nazi still alive, the notorious “Angel of Death“? One man alone must answer these questions and stop the killings—Thursday, himself on the run from Interpol agents and the very people he is trying to protect. At the heart of One of Our Thursdays Is Missing lies a frightening contemporary nightmare, chilling and all too possible.
3. In this, his third book in the Thursday series, Fforde puts the idea of the sequel on its head. He writes part 4 before part 3. Aware that they’re inspiration for a book series, a small cell of criminals stole the manuscript for the third Thursday book from Fforde’s office. Now he’ll need to tap into the skill set of his famous Detective LaCroix character in order to hunt them down. The search for the missing novel blurs the lines borders between real and fiction. One of our Thursdays is Missing follows the wild creativity of Thursday Next: First Among Sequels like only Jasper Fforde is able. The fourth LaCroix mystery is Fforde’s third, and his best yet.
4. Literature has officially jumped on the vintage bandwagon: Jasper Fforde’s series of thrillers featuring a cadre of female double agents strongly emulates the style of Ian Fleming’s classic Bond novels. In the latest installment, one of Peony Blumfeld’s girls – Thursday III – disappears while posing as a librarian to investigate a murder. The ladies put their heads together to unravel a cleverly woven web of suspects and motives. But as they delve deeper into their quest, some may find themselves falling into the snare of a killer before they can lay their own traps.