Welcome to Ice Haven! 'It's not as cold here as it sounds.' So declares Random Wilder, the town's would-be poet laureate. Would be, that is, were it not for the 'florid banalities' of arch-rival poet Ida Wentz, whom the Ice Haven Daily Progress continues to publish 'ad nauseam'. Random is our ersatz guide to the sleepy midwestern hamlet, and just one of many characters we meet in this ingenious novel told in the form of short comic strip instalments - a form that Time magazine regarded as reminiscent of Robert Altman.
In addition to Wilder, we meet a captivating cast of characters. There are the lovelorn lovelies Violet Van der Platz and Vida Wentz, the detective team of Mr and Mrs Ames, those adorable interracial moppets Carmichael and Paula, and the disaffected stationery salesgirl Julie Patheticstein, just to mention a few. Along with the Blue Bunny, the bitterest rabbit in town, fresh-sprung from prison and ready to wreck havoc: 'I paid my dues! It's all about ME this time!!'
And lest we forget: poor little David Goldberg, who's been missing for over a week now...
All of this blends together seemlessly to weave a fascinating, multi-layered tale that is ultimately based on and inspired by - wait for it - Leopold and Loeb.