Mar 11

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Lia London’s The Fargenstropple Case

What the heck is a Fargenstropple?

The Fargenstropple CaseI’d never heard of one before this book either, and I’m guessing you haven’t.  But you have to admit that it’s one of those words that promises something interesting behind it.  Lia London first impressed me with Magian High, with her ability to construct a clever fantasy story that imparts valuable lessons to adolescents without offending them by letting them know she’s doing so.  Then she impressed me with The Circle of Law, which wraps another rousing fantasy in profound wisdom.  The Fargenstropple Case impresses me because … it’s funny.

Understand that I have a problem with most comedy today.  It usually falls into one or both of two categories: (1) it’s funny because it’s stupid, and (2) it’s funny because it’s dirty.  I don’t know when stupidity became funny in America, but dirty being funny has been around for a long time.  London doesn’t have to resort to either.  I remember when things were funny because they were cleverly thought out, where a sequence of perfectly sensible events leaves the characters in a preposterous situation.  I was just watching Lost Angel (1943)*, an overlooked gem staring a young Margaret O’Brien as a six-year-old genius named Alpha.  That I’ve watched it before didn’t keep me from laughing all the way through.

Be sure to check out this clip:

OK, you might not be rolling on the floor, but that’s only because you don’t know all the background.  Even my roommate Dave laughed all through it.  But notice there is nothing idiotic or filthy involved.  That’s the way comedy used to be, and that’s how London does comedy now.  If you’re looking for mindless slapstick, mindless stupidity, or mindless smut, you won’t find it here.  Actually, you won’t find those at all, with or without a mind.  What you will find is humor with a triple-digit I.Q.

Ostensibly, it’s a mystery about a discomfited cat, but a mystery involving ferrets, a clever inventor kid, missing jewels, possible ghosts, and more.  You don’t need to know any more about the plot than that before you read it.  Let it unwind cleverly before your own eyes.  And if it doesn’t elicit more than one chuckle, you may need to have your intelligence quotient examined.

* You can get both The Fargenstropple Case and  Lost Angel at amazon.com, but I need to point out that the latter would not be possible without the good people at TCM.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.duanevore.com/lia-londons-fargenstropple-case/


  1. Lia London

    Wow! I just stumbled across this on Twitter! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the book! And yes, it *is* humor for “smart people”. THANK YOU!!!

  2. Joy DeKok

    I love this book!

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