This book is just as strong as the first four Benjamin Malaussène books. We've got the protagonist, the eldest of MANY brothers and sisters, Benjamin, playing a father-figure of some kind, but always letting the reader see the many childish, bitter, sarcastic ways he has of seeing things. (The use of parentheses in this book to show the characters' thoughts is sublime, as it has always been in Daniel Pennac's writing.)
This time, we are dealing with the fact that one of Benjamin's sisters is getting married. Everyone in the family is happy but him. This may sound like a slightly tedious premise as first, but Pennac does nothing that makes it typical, annoying or conventionnal.
To add to it all, the man that the Malaussène sister plans on marrying is the head of an "artistic prison", where convicts are free to paint, draw, or write in order to express themselves. This revolutionnary type of prison attracts much attention, and the story builds around a murder that takes place there. But this - again - is not a typical whodunnit book, believe me.
The characters are well-developped and, as I mentionned earlier, this book should be read AFTER the first four Malaussène books (which are also very witty and I guarantee will not disappoint you), so you can already know the way the characters think and relate to each other.
This book deserves five stars, and a much wider audience.