The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin is as strange a tale as its title would suggest. The hero, Jack, is a 13-year-old boy who heads for the city to seek his fortune. Escaping the man-trap of a cannibalistic farmer, he arrives to find his destination is, in fact, Toy City; an urban sprawl that has grown from the better-known Toy Town. His first day sees him meet with Eddie, a teddy bear cum private detective, who is investigating the brutal murder of Humpty Dumpty; found boiled alive in his swimming pool. As Jack is a country boy lost in the big city and Eddie is an investigator who has lost his partner and owner, Bill Winkie, their mutual need for friendship brings them together.
It soon becomes apparent that there is a serial killer on the loose in the city. One by one the nursery song heroes are being slain. Humpty Dumpty, Little Boy Blue, Jack Spratt, Little Tommy Tucker - the bodies of these rich old citizens who live off the royalties of their nursery rhymes are being found as they become victim to brutal and bizarre slayings.
The story follows Jack and Eddie as they attempt to track down the killer amidst a decadent city regulated by a corrupt and inept police force. It is a strange novel, blending two incongruous genres: the Raymond Chandler-type detective story with a children’s book setting. However, the reader is soon drawn into the book and accepts the psychotic, laughing policemen; the seedy bar overseen by a clockwork tin soldier; the brothel staffed by dolls and the intrepid, teddy bear detective. This is an original and funny novel with plotting and characterisation worthy of any thriller. If your looking for something different, I can heartily recommend The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse.