Excerpt from Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Something Rotten

A Thursday Next mystery

by Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 384 pages
    Jul 2005, 416 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

We knocked and entered. It was dark inside after the bright exterior, and we blinked for few moments as we accustomed ourselves to the gloom. On the wall to our right was a notice board liberally covered with wanted posters—pertaining not only to Nebraska but also to the BookWorld in general; a yellowed example offered three hundred dollars for information leading to the whereabouts of Big Martin. Below this was a chipped enameled coffeepot sitting atop a cast-iron stove, and next to the wall to the left were a gun cabinet and a tabby cat sprawled upon a large bureau. The far wall was the barred frontage to the cells, one of which held a drunk fast asleep and snoring loudly on a bunk bed. In the middle of the room was a large desk that was stacked high with paperwork— circulars from the Nebraska State Legislature, a few Council of Genres Narrative Law amendments, a Campanology Society newsletter and a Sears, Roebuck catalog open to the "fancy goods" section. Also on the desk were a pair of worn leather boots, and inside these were a pair of feet, attached in turn to the sheriff. His clothes were predominantly black and could have done with a good wash. A tin star was pinned to his vest, and all we could see of his face were the ends of a large gray mustache that poked out from beneath his downturned Stetson. He, too, was fast asleep, and balanced precariously on the rear two legs of a chair that creaked as he snored.


No answer.


He awoke with a start, began to get up, overbalanced and tipped over backwards. He crashed heavily on the floor and knocked against the bureau, which just happened to have a jug of water resting upon it. The jug overbalanced as well, and its contents drenched the sheriff, who roared with shock. The noise up- set the cat, who awoke with a cry and leapt up the curtains, which collapsed with a crash on the cast-iron stove, spilling the coffee and setting fire to the tinder-dry linen drapes. I ran to put it out and knocked against the desk, dislodging the lawman's loaded revolver, which fell to the floor, discharging a single shot, which cut the cord of a stuffed moose's head, which fell upon Bradshaw. So there were the three of us: me trying to put out the fire, the sheriff covered in water and Bradshaw walking into furniture as he tried to get the moose's head off him. It was precisely what we were looking for: an outbreak of unconstrained and wholly inappropriate slapstick.


"Sheriff, I'm so sorry about this," I muttered apologetically, having doused the fire, demoosed Bradshaw and helped a very damp lawman to his feet. He was over six foot tall, and had a weather-beaten face and deep blue eyes. I produced my badge. "Thursday Next, head of Jurisfiction. This is my partner, Commander Bradshaw." The sheriff relaxed and even managed a thin smile.

"Thought you was more of them Baxters," he said, brushing himself down and drying his hair with a "Cathouses of Dawson City" tea cloth. "I'll be mighty glad you're not. Jurisfiction, hey? Ain't seen none of youse around these parts for longer then I care to remember—quit it, Howell."

The drunk, Howell, had awoken and was demanding a tipple "to set him straight."

"We're looking for the Minotaur," I explained, showing the sheriff the photograph.

He rubbed his stubble thoughtfully and shook his head. "Don't recall ever seeing this critter, missy Next."

"We have reason to believe he passed through your office not long ago—he's been marked with slapstick."

"Ah!" said the sheriff. "I was a-wonderin' 'bout all that. Me and Howell here have been trippin' and a- stumblin' for a while now—ain't we, Howell?"

"You're darn tootin'," said the drunk.

"He could be in disguise and operating under an alias," I ventured. "Does the name Norman Johnson mean anything to you?"

Excerpted from Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde.  Copyright Jasper Fforde 2004.  All rights reserved

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.