The Happy Days sequel you never expected is now available in bookstores
We were at the library this past weekend, browsing the spines in the New Mystery section, when a certain title jumped out at us. Yes, we still go to the library. We pulled out the hardback. "Who Killed the Fonz?" asked the book jacket (which also happened to be wearing a leather jacket).
Huh. Was this some cute metaphorical question? A novel about a detective nostalgic for the 1970s? Oh no, it was literally about Fonzie — and his murder.
James Boice's Who Killed the Fonz? takes place in 1984. "Richard Cunningham," Hollywood screenwriter, learns that his old high school pal, Arthur Fonzarelli, is dead. The middle-aged greaser lost control of his motorcyle and crashed into a guardrail. But the circumstances are suspicious. Richard heads home to Milwaukee, reconnects with his friends Potsie and Ralph, and tries to solve the mystery of who killed Fonzie.
The reader learns that "Richard" has two kids with Lori Beth and an Oscar nomination from a screenplay he wrote. Also, nobody back in Wisconsin takes this whole "Richard" name thing seriously.
The quick read operates on several levels of nostalgia. Set in the mid-'80s (actually, the very year Happy Days ended), it is riddled with Reagan-era references. And of course, it is appealing to fans nostalgic for the '70s — for a show that was pining for the good ol' days of the '50s. Obviously, the mystery is rich with references to Happy Days as well. For example, the funeral home is the very same one from the "Fonzie's Funeral" episodes.
Happy Days novels are nothing new. Back when the sitcom aired, eight licensed tie-in novels were published. In those drugstore paperbacks, Fonzie fought a biker gang and went to college. In fact, this new book has some plot points in common with No. 7, Dear Fonzie….
Despite its dark overtones, this new, somewhat official piece of fan-fiction wraps up in a somewhat Happy Days manner. Spoiler alert: It wasn't the shark.
Who Killed the Fonz? is available now from Simon & Schuster.