The Woman Who Died a Lot is the seventh book in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. Like the others in the series it is a logic bending blend of fantasy, parody, and linguistic hijinks best described paradoxically as serious silliness. It is a book that will either have you laughing in spite of yourself or shaking your head in dismay.
The narrative takes readers through a week in the hectic life of Thursday as she, now older and disabled as a result of previous adventures and no longer an agent of the Literary Detectives branch of Special Operations, has to deal with a bizarre variety of personal and public calamities. These calamities include but are not limited to a mysterious plot of the evil Goliath Corporation, a threatened local smiting of evil by an angry deity, an invasion of synthetic Thursday clones called "Day Players," the revelation that her son is destined to murder someone at the end of the week, and the effect of that murder on a projected future asteroid striking the planet. All this, and Thursday has to deal with the budgetary problems of the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat at Fatso's Drink Not Included Library as the newly appointed head Librarian. Although there will be those of us who lament that she is no longer jumping in and out of world literature dealing with literary malfeasance, her new adventures are no less entertaining.
Series fans will find many of the characters from the earlier books reappearing often in cameos, including a couple of villains and nemeses garnered from the usual suspects. So while it isn't essential that readers be familiar with the Fforde oeuvre, newcomers may find some of the relationships confusing, and a lot of references to past adventures less than illuminating. Still, the pleasure of a Fforde novel is less in plot and character than it is in the joy he takes and gives in the play of language.