If "the usual gang of idiots" from Mad back in the '50s had decided to write a full-length parody of mystery novels, Go to Helena Handbasket might have been the result. Some people might be put off by this kind of thing, but, having been a reader of Mad right from the beginning, I loved it. Let's face it: I can't resist a novel with characters named Emma Roids, Evan Stubezzi, Hal Litosis, Aurora deGreasepaint (whose sister is Smilla Senesasnow, er, I mean Smilla deCrowd), and so on.
Ms. Moore's clever idea was to introduce into the plot every cliche of mystery fiction you could ever encounter, and if she over looked one, I don't know what it was. You have your serial killer, your psycho sidekick, your cars that explode when someone (never the owner) turns the ignition key, etc. It's all played for laughs, and there's one on every page. Actually, more than one. If you need a good laugh, you don't want to miss this book.
Having heard Ms. Moore read the prologue at Murder by the Book, I think some audio company is missing a bet if she's not hired to read the unabridged book. She was terrific.