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The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch Hardcover – May 6, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gaiman reenlists the remarkable artist who made Creatures of the Night (2004) so staggeringly beautiful. Here Michael Zulli visualizes a much better story from Smoke and Mirrors (1998), which was excluded from its American edition. In it, a fantasy writer much like Gaiman recalls a strange night in London. Prodded out by an old pal and his wife, he meets their biogeologist acquaintance, Miss Finch, at dinner and goes with them to an odd, animal-free circus performing in the cellars underneath the train tracks near Southwark Cathedral. The audience is ambulatory, passing from one chamber to another to see various ostensibly spooky acts; scientifically skeptical Miss Finch is not amused. In the next-to-last room, Miss Finch is pulled away, stoutly protesting, by a performer who says her most ardent wish will be granted in the ninth room. It is. In his characteristic crisp pen-and-ink and watercolor, Zulli has a field day with the garish, freakish, ultimately animal (after all) circus denizens, and he renders regular London interiors and exteriors as gorgeously fore and aft of the circus sequence. --Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books; First Edition edition (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593076673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593076672
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean's MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The world of Neil Gaiman looks pretty normal -- until you see the dark, eerie, bizarre things that swim just under the surface.

So expect nothing less from the primly-titled "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch," a graphic novel adaptation of Gaiman's short story. Michael Zulli's matter-of-fact artwork serves as a solid complement to Gaiman's eerie story of an ordinary, innocent outing for three friends and one biogeologist -- and the strange disappearance that came from it.

The narrator and his pals Jonathan and Jane are planning to go out for sushi and a circus, but are "lumbered" with a prissy, stuffy acquaintance named Miss Finch. While Miss Finch tortures the others with descriptions of the parasites in sushi, the little group arrives at the circus. But this is no child-friendly funfest -- instead they're taken into an underground labyrinth by a vampiress.

Devils, freaks, monsters and an Alice Cooper ringmaster are all down there, but the four visitors are very unimpressed. Then a strange apelike creature offers to give someone in the audience a wish, and pulls Miss Finch into the darkness. And when the remaining three friends venture into the next room, what they find is not what they expected of Miss Finch...

"The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch" sounds like a Victorian-era mystery, perhaps something by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in which a spinster is kidnapped or murdered. In the hands of most authors, it wouldn't be much more than that, even if it were a fantasy story. But in the hands of Neil Gaiman, that story becomes something much more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Gray on August 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the story, as the title suggests, about the disappearance of a woman. It's not a mystery; the characters aren't trying to find her. It's simply the facts. The journey towards that end has a lot of interesting scenery, and the end is interesting. Nothing is explained, of course, and the reader and the characters both are left confused. But it's a good kind of confused.

Interesting story--but since it's adapted from a short story by Neil Gaiman, that's to be expected. Also since it's Neil Gaiman, I wonder if reading the short story isn't better than seeing it. I think I'll prefer the prose form.

I didn't like the art, aesthetically. That was my first thought when I opened the book--I felt that the beautiful cover was a cruel tease. After reading the book, however, I admit that the art sort of suited the setting of the circus--although it was strange that where the narration said that the costumes were bad, the art depicted them as looking pretty amazing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia O. Ferreira on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, I don't know why, but Neil Gaiman always surprises me. I know he is a genius, and I love his work, and everytime I read something of his I am surprised by his witicism and inteligence. All I can say is that this book was no exception! I really loved it, an amazingly well told story of a woman who gets her wishes fulfilled in a most peculiar way. Really escellent and I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roy Cowing on August 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Mr. Gaiman's work for years and I love that he continues to provide me entertainment across the media spectrum in Prose Books, Film, TV shows, Illustrated Stories and of course, comics. While he has certainly branched out quite a bit since Sandman, he still shows us the love in the occasional comic gem. I first read The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch in his Fragile Things collection of short stories. It was a great little story that was very fun to read. I really felt that it was a story told by a close friend over for dinner, who always spins a great yarn. (I have no pretenses that Mr. Gaiman knows me, or I him, from a hole in the wall (are there wolves in there??), but the writing really draws me in) When I saw that he and Michael Zulli were adapting this for Dark Horse, I was thrilled. His other adaptations with Craig P. Russell (Murder Mysteries and Coraline) are also not to be missed. The story really suits the small hardcover format Dark Horse has been beginning to use. Miss Finch was beautifully scripted and rendered by this duo and really is a delight to read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! A+
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Talia on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Having once read this in short story form, I was immensely gratified to see it appear as a graphic presentation. The artwork was interesting and muted - not the high gloss and crisp lines you're used to seeing in modern-day comics. But it was necessary for this particular and served it well. I love that Gaiman tells it to us as if it happened to him personally. His touch for bringing the reader inside his world is incredible. The creepy circus, the disbelief and cynicism of the spectators and cavernous underground cellars all pay off at the end when the story reaches its climax. A definite win for Gaiman!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nicely done, as usual, but in a theme well noted by Neil Gaiman in the past. An interesting color palette is used by Michael Zulli that feels like water color but yet doesn't really look like water color. The quality of paper is worthy of a hardback.

Miss Finch makes for a good read, an odd duck woman set up for a blind date with the "author" of the story and the weird undergound London antics that follow, which Neil has identified as "Mostly True". It has a dark appeal, but unlike many of Gaiman's other works it is very much a one-shot no need to revisit kind of tale that you recognize instantly and predict with ease. For Miss Finch its more about the getting there than the there itself. Gaiman tells great stories, and this is told well, based off a short story he wrote in Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions. But the familiarity of the story keeps it from rising to Neil's best. Worthy read if you can get it for under $10. Otherwise, there are better Gaiman works to spend your money on.
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