For April Fools Day: Books About Pranks Gone Wrong

April 1, 2016 | Kelli

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Many people celebrate April 1st, otherwise known as April Fools' Day, by playing practical jokes on friends and family. The joke is revealed by calling out "April Fools", which is hopefully followed by lots of laughter by everyone.

Sometimes even respected broadcasters, such as the BBC, get in on the fun. On April 1, 1957, the BBC aired a short documentary on the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. As spaghetti was still new to the UK, and given the fact that the short report was aired by a respected broadcaster, many people were fooled by the hoax.   

Here is the April 1, 1957 report on the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest by the BBC:

Some consider this the best April Fools joke ever. 

Practical jokes are not always so tame as the BBC's fake documentary. Here are some novels where pranks have had unexpected consequences:   

April fool dead Dead simple The Keep Longings of wayward girls Kickback

April Fool Dead: A Death on Demand Mystery by Carolyn G. Hart
Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand bookshop, has created an ingenious promotional scheme for the upcoming visit by mystery author Emma Clyde. Offering a free book to anyone who can solve a series of clues about popular whodunits, she distributes flyers all over town. She soon discovers that a prankster has created a counterfeit flyer, offering clues to several lethal local "accidents" that have occurred lately, including the drowning of Ms. Clydes own husband.
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Dead simple by Peter James 
It was meant to be a harmless stag night practical joke. Michael Harrison's friends decide to celebrate his upcoming marriage by burying him alive (with a breathing tube and a walkie-talkie) for a couple hours. When the friends are killed by an oncoming vehicle shortly after leaving Michael buried, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called in to find the missing groom.

 

The keep by Jennifer Egan
After two decades apart, two cousins, Howard and Danny, are brought together to work on the renovation of an isolated and creepy medieval castle.  Their estrangement was caused by a cruel prank when they were kids and Danny is worried that Howard has never forgiven him. 
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The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown
When she was 13, Sadie and her best friend Betty were always getting into mischief. That is until they played a prank on another girl who subsequently disappeared. Twenty years later, the disappearance is still unsolved. After a boy from her neighbourhood returns to town, Sadie is forced to relive that summer as the mystery begins to unravel. 
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Robert B. Parker's Kickback by Ace Atkins
When Dillon Yates set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he didn't expect to be brought up on criminal charges. In Blackburn, Massachusetts, Judge Joe Scali has a zero tolerance for minors getting into trouble. Dillon's mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, is determined to protect her son from the same fate and hires Spenser to find the truth behind Judge Scali's harsh sentencing.
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Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

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