Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dorian Gray, Used Car Salesman

I'm about halfway through Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear. I'm not sure what to make of it yet. There are lots of funny moments but as a whole the book is all over the place. There's about three major plots going and subplots popping up like weeds. I will be quite interested to see how, or if, Fforde manages to pull it all together by the end. Two things of particular amusement however, have happened. If you have read Fforde's Thursday Next books, remember in The Well of Lost Plots Thursday stays in an old Short Sunderland flying boat moored on a lake next to Captain Nemo? That happens to be Mary Mary's house. She is Jack Spratt's partner in the Nursery Crime books and was away on vacation in Thursday's book. Thursday filled in for her and tried to help out Jack with the plot of a book that was near to being scrapped. I've not looked in Well of Lost Plots yet to see what story Thursday was helping with but I will have to remember to do that in the next day or so. Thursday is not mentioned in The Fourth Bear. I just managed to figure this one out on my own. There are probably others who figured it out much sooner than I did. The other "thing" is the appearance of Dorian Gray. He is a slick and dapper used car salesman. For some reason this strikes me as very right. Of course he is not just any used car salesman. He sells Jack a 1979 Allegro Equipe in mint condition. The car comes with a special guarantee. There is a painting in the trunk. As you can imagine, the car in the painting looks ready for the junk yard. Every time something happens to the car, and it does, the Allegro miraculously repairs itself when no one is looking. And the painting, you know the story. A few days after Jack buys the car he decides he wants to talk to Dorian about how the painting works but Dorian and his used car lot have mysteriously disappeared. Cue creepy Twilight Zone music. Will Dorian make another appearance? Will the Gingerbread Man who escaped from the psych ward and is the worst kind of serial killer (but is he a cake or a cookie?) be caught? Will Jack Spratt and Mary Mary find the missing Goldilocks? And why was Stanley Cripps and his prize cucumbers blown to smithereens? Stay tuned.