The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
(Penguin, 2003, 374 pages)
Thursday Next is a literary detective in London who seems to have a penchant for trouble. Her basic job is to find missing/stolen manuscripts. While this is all fun for a day’s work, she finds herself working back in Swindon, her hometown, after a close encounter with Acheron Hades, a wanted criminal. While back in Swindon things keep happening such as running into her ex-fiancé, Landen Parke-Laine, and, you know, killing a vampire. It seems that Thursday has her hands full from day-to-day until her aunt and uncle go missing, and then characters from books go missing such as Jane Eyre. Thursday is convinced that Acheron Hades is involved, and she is determined to stop him even if that means jumping into the novel Jane Eyre and becoming good friends with Mr. Edward Rochester.
This novel is fun to listen to because it is a mix of fantasy, classic literature, and mystery. Fforde sets up an excellent first novel for the Thursday Next series in that the backstories and the fantasy England he has created are extremely intricate. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery with some fantasy and a bit of romance in between.