Nanette L. Avery
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (12/2020)
“Who,” by Nanette L. Avery, is an entertaining work of fictional satire that will have the sleuthing wheels turning in your head. This book pulls together the whodunit tropes you know and love–a murder mystery experience to top them all–but in parody form, which makes it all the more fun. The author brings together a cast of renowned and infamous cast of characters that you will probably recognize, and they’re seeking justice for being mischaracterized and maligned over the years. An enigmatic fan invites the individual characters to a private island, to receive restoration. The Babbitt Publishing Company is behind this affair, which opens the door for delicious mystery and trickery to give way to murder. Fans of Agatha Christy and the Brothers Grimm will be treated to a humorous twist to the whodunit genre, and you’ll be guessing until the end.
The whodunit is a classic form of the murder mystery, and Avery has taken it to a higher level of entertainment and intrigue with the comedic aspect. Mixing a mystery with familiar characters from long ago is a clever choice that immediately pulls the reader in. You already know some of the characters, so you’re even more curious about how they will interact with one another and how the story will unfold. Sleuthing and humor don’t always go together, but this author knows how to make it shine. Her sense of humor bounces off the page, and you feel like you’re watching a parody onscreen. I could just picture the classic “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” in these roles, or Saturday Night Live playing this out on stage. The humor is sometimes dry, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, or sardonic, subtle, or exaggerated. You may recognize Goldie and Mr. Wolfe from your childhood stories, and a giant of a man felled by young Jack, but I won’t offer more characters than these for fear of spoiling the surprises. But, even though Avery’s humor is obvious, her writing in general has a voice all its own. One that is lyrical, detailed, and inviting.
You’ll be thoroughly entertained by the story, and the time passes by so quickly you’ll wish it hadn’t ended. Maybe a sequel, with another set of characters, is in order? “Who,” by Nanette L. Avery, is a comical must for any whodunit fan’s library.