Monday, October 5, 2009

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch is typical of Neil Gaiman's work in the manner that fantasy and reality mingle. This magically realistic story originally appeared as a prose story in Gaiman's collection, Fragile Things. Lushly painted by frequent collaborator Michael Zulli, the story follows a character seemingly based on Gaiman and some of his friends, including the eponymous Miss Finch, who is depicted as an up-tight biogeologist. This band of friends go out for dinner one evening and also to a strange circus operating in a London building. The ringmaster of the circus looks like Alice Cooper, and the circus itself is a mix of Cirque du Soleil and Carnival. Typical of Gaiman's work, things are not quite what they seem and a few strange twists in the evening's entertainment leave the characters unsure of quite what has happened.

Gaiman is best known as the best-selling author of novels such as American Gods, Anansi Boys, and The Graveyard Book. He has also written a number of books that aimed at younger readers such as The Wolves in the Walls or, more famously, Coraline, which was recently adapted into a feature film. To comics fans, he is most famous for his Sandman series published by Vertigo.

Published by Dark Horse Books, Miss Finch is a short book and a quick read. It is nicely packaged but not very substantial and has appealed to completists who are fans of Gaiman's work. This has been reflected in a number of the reviews found online, including these from Andrew Wheeler and April Gutierrez. A slightly wider range of reviews can be found here on Goodreads.

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