Thursday Next Series in Order, Jasper Fforde’s comic fantasy

Written by Jasper Fforde, the Thursday Next series is a comic fantasy alternate history mystery series released between 2001 and 2012.

In this alternate world, the Crimean War hasn’t ended, time travel is possible, cloning is common practice and classical literature is serious business. So serious indeed that there is a police force that deals with literary crimes.

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The Nextian Universe

The Nextian Universe is a world consisting of the Thursday Next Series and its spin-off, the Nursery Crime Series.

Thursday Next’s First Arc

Meet Thursday Next, a woman in her mid-thirties when the adventure starts. She is working for the Special Operations Network (aka SpecOps) which deals with all kinds of crimes. Specifically, Thursday is a Literary Detective for the SpecOps-27 department in Swindon.

The Eyre Affair (2001)
Lost in a Good Book (2002)
The Well of Lost Plots (2003)
Something Rotten (2004)

Nursery Crime Division, the Spin-off


Set in the same universe, the Nursery Crime Division features Detective Chief Inspector Jack Spratt, the head of the Nursery Crime Division (NCD) in Reading. The Job? Policing PDR, or Persons of Dubious Reality which are nursery rhyme characters.

You don’t need to have read the Thursday Next series to understand the spin-off, though we think having read a few books of the main series would make them more accessible and enjoyable. So, if you want to read them, following the publication order is a good idea — or you can read them after completing the Thursday Next Series.

The Big Over Easy (2005)
The Fourth Bear (2006)

Thursday Next’s Second Story Arc

New adventures awaits! Fforde’s famous literary detective is once again ready to make the world safe for fiction for her second Story Arc.

First Among Sequels (2007)
One of Our Thursdays is Missing (2011)
The Woman Who Died a Lot (2012)


Jasper Fforde Thursday Next Series 5 Books Set

Is there going to be another Thursday Book?

While the last book has been published more than ten years ago, another Thursday novel is still in the works. On jasperfforde.com, the author indicates “Bark Reading Matter”, a new Thursday Next novel for 2025.

For those who would like to reconnect with Jack Spratt, on the other hand, Fforde has no plans yet to write a third Nursery Crime Book.

The Origins of the name Thursday Next

We can all agree that Thursday Next is not a common name. But where did it come from? According to a conversation with The Internet Writing Journal, Fforde’s mother used to refer to ‘next Thursday’ as ‘Thursday Next’. He thought it would make a good and mysterious name for a heroine. It set him to wonder what sort of woman would have such a name. And it led him to think of her as a detective, with a partner called Bowden Cable.

Jasper Fforde on Writing The Eyre Affair

In an interview with bookbrowse.com, Fforde revealed that it was his first published book but the fifth one he actually had written. He humorously said, “Writing is like that. Full of surprises and drama that excites no-one but me.”

It all started in 1988 when Fforde wrote down Thursday Next and Bowden Cable, two names, and the idea that Jane Eyre was being abducted. Fforde compared the process of coming up with ideas to “the gunge that you find on refrigerator seals, waiting for the time when it would ripen sufficiently for me to give it life on paper.”

It began as a screenplay, progressed into a short story, until Fforde expanded it into a full-length novel. He explained, “The action originally started as Thursday goes in to tackle Hades and was written initially in the third person.” “The book’s original title, which you heard here first, was ‘The LiteraTecs.'” Fforde said, “After a while, it was ‘Thursday Next.'” Finally, “the obvious choice popped into my head.”

Despite encountering obstacles along the way, Fforde persevered. He disclosed, “By 1993 I had 40,000 words, some of them in the right order – here the book stalled and I wrote another three before returning in 1997, finally arriving at a first draft by new year’s day 1998.”

For more comic fantasy, we heartily recommend the Discworld Universe by Terry Pratchett. Humorist writer PG Wodehouse is also one of Fforde inspirations.