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
    Paperback:
    Jul 2005, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The gunmen stopped firing as soon as there was no target—but Bradshaw, his hunting instincts alerted, had already drawn a bead... the gunman disintegrated midstride into a brief chysanthemum of text that scattered across the main street.... on the sherriff's killer and fired. There was an almighty detonation, a brief flash and a large cloud of smoke. The eraserhead hit home, and the gunman disintegrated midstride into a brief chysanthemum of text that scattered across the main street, the meaning of the words billowing out into a blue haze that hung near the ground for a moment or two before evaporating.

"What are you doing?" I asked, annoyed at his impetuosity.

"Him or us, Thursday," replied Bradshaw grimly, pulling the lever down on his Martini-Henry to reload, "him or us."

"Did you see how much text he was composed of?" I replied angrily. "He was almost a paragraph long. Only featured characters get that kind of description—somewhere there's going to be a book one character short!"

"But," replied Bradshaw in an aggrieved tone, "I didn't know that before I shot him, now did I?"

I shook my head. Perhaps Bradshaw hadn't noticed the missing button, the sweat stains and the battered shoes, but I had. Erasure of a featured part meant more paperwork than I really wanted to deal with. From Form F36/34 (Discharge of an Eraserhead) and Form B9/32 (Replacement of Featured Part) to Form P13/36 (Narrative Damage Assessment), I could be bogged down for two whole days. I had thought bureaucracy was bad in the real world, but here in the paper world, it was everything.

"So what do we do?" asked Bradshaw. "Ask politely for them to surrender?"

"I'm thinking," I replied, pulling out my footnoterphone and pressing the button marked Cat. In fiction the commonest form of communication was by footnote, but way out here ...

"Blast!" I muttered again. "No signal."

"Nearest repeater station is in The Virginian," observed Bradshaw as he replaced the spent cartridge and closed the breech before peering outside, "and we can't bookjump direct from pulp to classic."

He was right. We had been crossing from book to book for almost six days, and although we could escape in an emergency, such a course of action would give the Minotaur more than enough time to escape. Things weren't good, but they weren't bad either—yet.

"Hey!" I yelled from the sheriff's office. "We want to talk!"

"Is that a fact?" came a clear voice from outside. "Mr. Johnson says he's all done talkin'—'less you be in mind to offer amnesty."

"We can talk about that!" I replied.

There was a beeping noise from my pocket.

"Blast," I mumbled again, consulting the Narrative Proximity Device. "Bradshaw, we've got a story thread inbound from the East, two hundred and fifty yards and closing. Page 74, line 6."

Bradshaw quickly opened his copy of Death at Double-X Ranch and ran a finger along the line "McNeil rode into the town of Providence, Nebraska, with fifty cents in his pocket and murder on his mind...."

I cautiously peered out the window. Sure enough, a cowboy on a bay horse was riding slowly into town. Strictly speaking, it didn't matter if we changed the story a little, as the novella had been read only sixteen times in the past ten years, but the code by which we worked was fairly unequivocal. "Keep the story as the author intended!" was a phrase bashed into me early on during my training. I had broken it once and would pay the consequences—I didn't want to do it again.

"I need to speak to Mr. Johnson," I yelled, keeping an eye on McNeil, who was still some way distant.

"No one speaks to Mr. Johnson 'less Mr. Johnson says so," replied the voice, "but if you'll be offerin' an amnesty, he'll take it and promise not to eat no more people."

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!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

At times, our own light goes out, and is rekindled by a spark from another person.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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.