Viking, Jan 2004, 24.95, 384 pp.
Literary detective Thursday Next requests R&R not to recover from assignments like saving the ending of Jane Eyre, but suffers from morning sickness having become pregnant by a dead Crimean War veteran. Thursday applies for a vacation assignment in the Character Exchange Program, which is approved. She travels to THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS, the sub-basements beneath the Great Library. There she will replace Mary Jones, a detective's Friday in the unpublished police procedural Caversham Heights.
Thursday feels she has a quest when she learns how much plot and character selling goes on in the black market beneath the Great Library. While she tries to do the right thing and assist her Noir-like partner without landing in the Text Sea, UltraWord is launched as the "Last Word" in Story Operating Systems. Here in the subterranean world of terrible plotting, pathetic characters, and stolen dreams, the idealistic Thursday realizes that the book world and its anti-matter opponents are as ruthless as the recycled protagonists sold on the black market.
Although not for everybody, the third Thursday Next tale is a delightful satirical fantasy that tears into anything and everything. The story line is the usual bewildering confusion that is so much fun to follow. The side plots add irony as wrong turns might be sold on the literary black market. Jasper Fforde is at his lampooning best as nothing is sacred for readers who appreciate sharp slapstick syntax-slaughtering stories snd will want to get LOST IN A GOOD BOOK.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner