Jasper Fforde is back with another in the now quite substantial Thursday Next series, and once again has fun playing with the formula rather than writing anything so simple as a “more of the same” sequel. And while I’m sure many readers would enjoy more of the same, more of something a bit different is even better. Having been badly injured as a result of a murder attempt in One of Our Thursdays is Missing, Thursday Next reluctantly accepts that she’s not quite up to taking on being head of the reformed literary detectives, which is just as well, as she isn’t actually offered it. Instead, she agrees to become head of the Library service, which in her world is a little more exciting and violent than in ours.
Because of her injuries, or more likely because of loss of concentration caused by the painkillers she needs to take, Thursday can no longer read herself into the Bookworld, and so has to deal with routine family matters involving her son Friday, who is destined to commit murder and spend the next thirty years in jail, her daughter Tuesday who’s struggling to save Swindon from a severe Smiting by an angry deity while trying to act like a more or less normal sixteen year old, and her other daughter Jenny, who has a slight existence deficit.
Old friends and enemies are around to help and hinder, there’s more of the usual gags, and a nice lead-in for the next in the series. It’s as gloriously silly as all the previous books, and you really should give it a try. It might make more sense to start at the beginning with The Eyre Affair, which more or less explains the kind of world Thursday lives in, but given the amount of reality bending and temporal silliness that follows, you might as well start here then backtrack.