Friday, April 4, 2008


This was probably the funniest and oddest mystery I have ever read. The basic premise tells you how the rest of the book is going to go: a man who rents and brokers taxidermy )stuffed animals of ALL kinds) is attacked and his white crow stolen. This ticks him off so he tries to get it back. His assistant is a Russian with English As a Second Language difficulties, he owns six stiffed penguins named after the seven dwarfs ( the seventh was attacked by a real penguins, who apparently hate the stuffed versions.) There are side show freaks, malicious Game Wardens, North Koreans and a stuffed bear.
It might have been too weird for some but I really enjoyed it. The thing that worried me was that it was set in New York and a lot of times authors will put a lot of gratuitous language and sex in, just to show the gritty realism of the city. This one felt like a real person more than those Gritty realism ones do. Perhaps since i don't swear or encounter violence on a regular basis, putting those in just makes thing less realistic.
But all of the strange things sort of show up in a logical way, at least it doesn't take any bizarre twistings of the plot to bring them in. It is sort of like explaining to your mother what went wrong. It all made so much sense until you get to the part with the scorched electrical smell and the burned hole in your clothes and the popped circuit breaker.
Here was one of the numerous silly conversations in the book :
"There's not going to be any killing,: I said, with little conviction.
"Garv, very important: must to always shoot gun fast. Mother tell to me: Shoot, shoot, shoot When gun is pizdyets, yes?"

"I told you, there's not going to be any killing."
"She tell to me: Otisha. . . today is to kill, tomorrow is to interrogate."
"Please, Otto--"
"She tell me: Otisha, to take gun, they must to dig hole at grave, remove my smelly hand."
"She tell to me:Otisha, it is to make them meal on your projectiles. Ah, Mother, very beautiful woman. Cookies very nice when to kitchen make."
No doubt Mother's brownies were made from chocolate, flour and C4. I'd hate to be the one to blow out candles on one of her birthday cakes. Better to submerge it in a bucket of water.

"Mother say to Otto: Otisha gun not toy, but much fun."

As Otto says, "Much fun." I liked this one and will probably read
more of this author. I like the warped sense of what is possible.

Stuffed. Brian M. Wiprud. Dell Mystery. 2005

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