A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.
Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew.
The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide...
About the Author
Jon Scieszka, who runs point on the investigation, is one of the world's best-loved, bestselling, and well-known children's authors. The very first UN Ambassador of Children's Literature, Jon is also a Caldecott Honor recipient whose books have been translated into 14 languages and have sold millions around the world. Contributors include John Green, Sara Shepard, Lauren Oliver, Lauren Myracle, Adam Mansbach & Ricardo Cortes (authors of Go the F*ck to Sleep), Maureen Johnson, Libba Bray, Gayle Forman, Rebecca Stead, Daniel Handler (as Lemony Snickett), Mo Willems, Dave Eggers (not YA but still a suspect), and countless other bestselling and award-winning authors.
Read an Excerpt
Who Done It?
By Jon Scieszka
Soho TeenCopyright © 2013 Jon Scieszka
All right reserved.
Introduction (by Jon Scieszka)
Ladies and gentlemen . . . and I use those terms loosely because I know you are all writers and illustrators . . . we have a bit of a situation.
You were all invited to this party tonight because of your relationship with Mr. Herman Q. Mildew.
Some of you were not fond of him. Others of you could not stand him. Most of you completely hated his guts.
Mr. Mildew brought you to this abandoned pickle factory because he had something to tell you, something that he thought might make you very mad. And he wanted to see
all of you freak out live and in person.
But that is not going to happen.
You see . . . Mr. Herman Q. Mildew is no longer with us.
He shuffled off this mortal coil, took the long walk off the short pier, has gone to glory, gave up the ghost, cashed in, checked out, kicked the bucket, went bye-bye.
He is now a corpse, a cadaver, dearly departed, a stiff. The problem?
Each and every one of you had a reason to send Mr.Herman Mildew to the Great Beyond. You are all suspects in his demise. And it is up to me—and the keen reader holding this book—to figure out: Who done it?
As you well know, Herman Mildew was not a nice man.
He was mean, arrogant, loud, large, obnoxious, cruel to small furry animals, delusional, thoughtless, difficult, vulgar, negative, likely to take the last sip of orange juice and then put the empty carton back in the refrigerator, intolerant, sneaky, greedy, fond of toenail clippings and strong cheeses, hugely entertained by the misfortune of others, hateful, quick to anger, unforgiving, mean, gaseous, paranoid, belligerent, unreasonable, demanding, smelly, near-sighted . . . in short: an editor. Perhaps even your editor, or the editor of someone you admire.
Some examples of his sadistic behavior, in no particular order:
• He enrolled Dave Eggers in True Romance’s Book-of-the-Month Club.
• He drew mustaches on all of Lauren Oliver’s author photos.
• He told Mo Willems what he could do with the Pigeon.
All this is true. So why did you accept this invitation?
Never mind. The more important question is why a quick pat-down of this audience turned up:
• 1 poison-tipped umbrella
• 1 suitcase full of poisonous tree frogs
• 3 throwing stars
• 1 noose, 1 candlestick, and 1 lead pipe
• 2 snakes resembling speckled “friendship” bands
• 1 frozen leg of lamb
Why do I have a piece of piano wire hanging out of my trench coat?
Why . . . why . . . not because Mr. Mildew once forced me to play “I’m A Little Teapot” on the piano in front of hundreds of booksellers. And I wasn’t going to use it to strangle anyone in a most fitting way. I have piano wire because . . . because . . . because I was fixing my piano last time I was wearing this coat. I was just replacing the—
Wait a minute! Our readers and I are running this investigation. We’ll ask the questions. And we want answers. We want alibis.
Of course, before you begin, we are bound by law to advise you that you have the right to remain silent.
But who are we kidding?
You are (as mentioned) a bunch of writers and illustrators. You couldn’t remain silent if your life depended on it. You would sell your grandmother for an audience.
So tell us your alibi.
Convince us that you did not do in, cut down, rub out, bump off, put away, dispatch, exterminate, eradicate, liquidate, assassinate, fix, drop, croak, or kill the late, unlamented Mr. Herman Mildew.
J. R. and Kate Angelella's alibi
We were mad enough to murder, but please allow us to explain.
We didn’t murder Herman Mildew. You can split us up—in fact, we encourage it—and you can scream and shout and shine a bright light in our eyes to see that we are telling the truth. We have nothing to hide here because we didn’t do it. We admit that we said we were mad enough to murder, but it’s not what you think. We were mad enough to murder, but not mad enough to murder Herman Mildew.
(Is it all right that we use the past tense when we talk about Herman Mildew, or does that make us look guilty too?)
It’s true—Herman Mildew was a rat of a man, who nibbled and nibbled and nibbled away at our words, chewing up and spitting out the most beautiful and meaningful parts of our novel. He was never pleased with any draft that we turned in to him on time. He was never happy with our work. He always wanted more, or demanded a whole lot less.
Herman Mildew was definitely the princess who slept on the pea.
Herman Mildew was the Goldilocks to our bears.
We agree; if he is, in fact, dead and he was, in fact, murdered, then it was most certainly someone he knew. It just wasn’t us.
Yes, it’s true that he used to be our editor.
Yes, it’s true that he didn’t like our book.
Yes, it’s true that we wrote him into the final draft of our book as a villainous, spiteful tree-dwelling gnome.
And, yes, it’s true that he fired us from his imprint after he discovered the aforementioned gnome’s name, hardly a fire-able offense.
That being said, once we were fired, we were free from him. We were free from his yammering, and free from his pointless line edits. We didn’t have to falsely lie in our blogs about how brilliant and amazing our editor was to work with (a total lie!) or write a loving acknowledgement in the back of our book like Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, Mildew, we owe every success of this book to you (which would have also been a lie!).
Are we guilty of being tacky, naming the villainous gnome after Mildew? Maybe.
Are we guilty of being mean? Absolutely.
But are we guilty of murder? No, not his.
We were mad enough to murder was meant as an expression, not a literal action. We never meant it to be real or even directed at Mildew. Simply put—the reason it was said was that we absolutely drive ourselves insane sometimes. Always talking like this—in the plural first person point of view, simultaneously, like we’re the same person, always speaking as one. It’s enough to make one mad—maybe not mad like mad enough to murder, but more mad like mad like crazy.
Are we making sense with this yet?
Allow us to be clearer: we were once mad enough to murder, but after this falsified murder accusation we are madder like madder like incredibly annoyed, and quickly barreling toward madness like madness at the hands of the late Herman Mildew.
How is that for clarity?
Excerpted from Who Done It? by Jon Scieszka Copyright © 2013 by Jon Scieszka. Excerpted by permission of Soho Teen, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
Blurbs for Who Done It?
"Deliciously cheesy."—Jo Knowles, author of See You At Harry's
“Not enough pictures.” —Ricardo Cortés, co-author of Go the Fk to Sleep
“Of all the books I've ever read, this was definitely the most recent."—Jennifer Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
"Who are you? Why are you writing down everything I'm saying? What book? What are you talking about?"—Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events and Who Could That Be at This Hour?
“If you already know who done it, this is not the book for you."—Mo Willems, author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
"How did you get my phone number? Stop calling me or I'm getting the police involved."—Maureen Johnson, author of The Name of the Star and The Last Little Blue Envelope
"Cures everything from sleeplessness to insomnia."—Natalie Standiford, author of The Secret Tree
"Wicked awesome."—Lisa Brown, How to Be
"Who is Jon Scieszka?"—Casey Scieszka, co-author of To Timbuktu
“I'll get back to you with a blurb as soon as I have some time. " –Leslie Margolis, author of Everybody Bugs Out
“Wah-huh?”—Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay and Where I Went
"Papery. And rectilinear.”—Barry Lyga, author of I Hunt Killers
"This book is full of slanders, falsehoods, and outrageous defamations of character. In other words, it was perfect!"—Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm
"Without a doubt, one of the top 10,000 books of the year."—Robin Wasserman, author of The Book of Blood and Shadow
"Stays crunchy in milk."—Gordon Korman, author of Swindle
"Exceptionally rectangular."—Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy
"My God. It's full of words."—Kieran Scott, author of the He's So/She's So trilogy
“It makes an excellent step so I can reach all my shoes.”—Kate Brian, author of the Private series
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Who Done It is a young adult level book, featuring MANY authors sharing a reason they couldn't have killed Herman Q. Mildew. Personally, I thought it was epic. What do you think?
Who Done It is a collection of alibis from over 80 authors. They each add there reason why they couldn't have been the one to kill the worse editor in the world Herman Mildew . You get to hear some of the mean and awful things he did or said to them. They all have a reason for doing it and you just have to figure out which one actual did it. I liked most of the alibis the author came up with in this book. Each one has a unique and different reason for wanting to kill this man and a way they would do it. Most of the stories are around 3-5 pages for each author and you can see each ones style shine thru in the story telling. A few that stood out to me is the author who didn't need an alibi because she was to short to be a suspect but thunks they need to interview her as well. Another favorite of mine was how a twitter conversation causes one author to become a suspect. The cheese the editor loved to eat finds it's way into a lot of stories and they each give the cheese story a twist to make it theirs. There is tons of fantastic authors that contribute to this book and really to many stories to tell about each one. If you are looking for a light hearted Who Done It mystery by some fab authors give this a try. Some stories are wonderful and some of them fell flat all in all a good read.
This is an amazing book that is sure to make you laugh. I love Mo Willem's entry and Maureen Perry's as well. GREAT BOOK!!!!!
What happens when the meanest, nastiest, smelliest editor invites all of his authors to a party at The Old Abandoned Pickle Factory? What happens when he threaten to reveal every one of their deepest, darkest secrets? Well, the editor turns up dead is what happens. And every author and illustrator is a suspect in his murder. Jon Scieszka conducts the investigation as each author provides a brief alibi for the time of Herman Q. Mildew's death in Who Done It? (2013). In addition to being a very entertaining premise, Who Done It? benefits a great cause. This "serial act of criminal literature" benefits 826nyc--a non-profit organization that supports kids' and teens' creative and expository writing. With over 80 contributors suspects, there are a whole lot of alibis to sift through here. I don't recommend reading them all at once as they do tend to blend together. (Though averaging two pages each one is a short read.) The level of continuity between entries is also impressive as authors carry details throughout the collection. There is a lot of fun to be had with this book whether you read it all at once or just peruse it for new and familiar authors. My favorite entry is Patrick Carman's, bar none. But with a variety of formats (David Levithan's is a poem. Sarah Mlynowski and Courtney Sheinmel wrote a screenplay. And Lev Grossman's is a riff on fantasy conventions) and a few choice illustrations, Who Done It? is guaranteed to have something for everyone.
Even though i just have the sample this book is one of the best books ive read. It is hilarious!