Icelander by Dustin Long
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Shirley MacGuffin is found murdered, everyone looks to Our Heroine to find her killer. Our Heroine, however, only wants to find her missing dog. Since evil has no interest in her lack of interest, she gets drawn into the mystery anyway...
After reading The Boy Detective Fails and enjoying it, someone recommended this book to me since the two were similar.
Icelander is a postmodern, meta-fictional mystery that is a funhouse mirror reflection of the cozy mysteries of a bygone age. Our Heroine is the daughter of a famous detective whose cases have been fictionalized as the Memoirs of Emily Bean. She wakes up after a one night stand to find her friend murdered. Despite her best efforts to the contrary, she gets drawn into the mystery anyway.
The writing in Icelander is beautiful, with Wodehousian wordplay and clever dialogue throughout. The background of the Vanaheim and the Refurserkir was pretty interesting and the motivation of the villains made sense. The characters were fairly colorful and read like twisted Agatha Christie characters. While footnotes in fiction normally annoy me, the ones in this book were justified and usually amusing. Not Terry Pratchett footnote amusing but amusing none the less.
However, it seemed like the book was too occupied with its own cleverness to actually have things happen. Halfway through the book I was still waiting for something to actually happen. For my money, delightfully clever and witty prose doesn't amount to much unless it serves the story.
Overall, I'd say I liked it more than I thought it was just okay. Three out of five stars.
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