Karen Joy Fowler

Can a novel be a mystery if it doesn't open with a body? Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club) has stated in interviews that she feels that Wit's End is indeed a mystery, even if it doesn't fit the criteria exactly. Perhaps it works as a modern mystery; its Agatha Christie tone is fused with meta elements, irony, and modern marvels like the fan fiction and fan forums on the internet. The story begins as 29-year-old Rima Lanisell arrives at Wit's End, a Santa Cruz beachfront house owned by her estranged godmother and smashingly famous mystery writer A.B. (Addison) Early. Rima is intrigued that her father, recently deceased, was the villain in one of Addison's novels; the character uses their cat to kill his wife. Before penning each novel, Addison creates a dollhouse mapping out the crime, and friends and fans have grown concerned since it's been over five years since her last dollhouse construction. The plot thickens when one of her dollhouse corpses disappears. Hoping to extract some sort of sense from past events, Rima finds herself examining old letters, Addison's personal blog, and even fan communities (thankfully skipping fan slash featuring herself and other people she's acquainted with in real life). Though we live in an age where a personal diary can become an online blog open for everyone to read, it quickly becomes apparent that the mystery of who an individual is—be she celebrity or simply an online poster—shall always remain constant.
Mon., April 7, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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