I actually finished this book a couple of days ago, but the last week (and the week before) were murderous, work-wise, so I didn’t have the time and patience to write a review.
Fforde reminds me of Douglas Adams and Terry Prattchett at their best – the same boundless creativity. The difference is that whereas Adams and Prattchett write in the science fiction or fantasy genre, Fforde practices a kind of literary navel-gazing: He writes about the fictional “BookWorld” that exists only in books. In this world, the inhabitants of the books enact the scenes in a book for the readers. An Outlander (from our, “real” world) transfers to a detective novel that is in the process of being written for some holidays; but since she is no ordinary mortal, but a literary detective and member of the JurisFiction (the BookWorld police), she has to manage all kinds of adventures and save the day before she can get her well-deserved rest.
The book is the third in a series, but the story didn’t depend crucially on the events of the first two books. The BookWorld is wonderfully described, and the author is very inventive as regards the details of life inside a book. Numerous characters make guest appearances, for example Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Falstaff, the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland.
I think I’ll go to the bookstore on monday to get the other two books in the series.