Enter the world of the Nursery Crime Division in this novel from the author of the Thursday Next series and Early Riser
Jasper Fforde's bestselling Thursday Next series has delighted readers of every genre with its literary derring-do and brilliant flights of fancy. In The Big Over Easy, Fforde takes a break from classic literature and tumbles into the seedy underbelly of nursery crime. Meet Inspector Jack Spratt, family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division. He's investigating the murder of ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Dumpty, found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Yes, the big egg is down, and all those brittle pieces sitting in the morgue point to foul play.
"[Forde] knows a thing or two about leaping into new worlds. . . . It's hard not to see what all the enthusiasm is about." -Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"A wonderfully readable riot." -The Wall Street Journal
Fforde's whimsical fifth novel, his first not to feature literary detective Thursday Next, is consistently witty, but its conceit putting a criminal spin on nursery rhymes wears a bit thin. Det. Jack Spratt, the dedicated but underappreciated investigator in the Reading, England, Nursery Crimes Division, is depressed because the court finds the three little pigs "not guilty of all charges relating to the first-degree murder of Mr. Wolff." Working with an ambitious young detective, Mary Mary ("Quite Contrary"), Spratt later takes on the case of "fall guy" Humpty Dumpty. Fforde crafts a police procedural out of this bizarre alternative universe that prizes, as The Eyre Affair does, literacy (detectives, for example, garner recognition less for solving crimes than by writing articles about cases for the likes of Amazing Crime Stories or Sleuth Illustrated). While it can be charming to encounter Mrs. Hubbard or Tom Thomm or to hear Spratt bemoan "illegal straw-into-gold dens" in this unusual context, the novel's broad satire overshadows elements like plot, conflict and characterization. The result is unusually clever but not compelling in the least.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This has genuinely been one of my favorite books for over a decade, and I'm so dismayed that not only has it not gotten nearly enough recognition, it hasn't gotten enough sequels!
This book (and its companion, the fourth bear) is a super exciting hard boiled detective novel that in no way takes itself too seriously. The characters are super charming, the plot is well-paced and full-bodied, and the world is immersive and immediately believable. I can not recommend this book highly enough!
This book is absurdly delightful. Admittedly, I am not too up on my nursery rhymes, but the twists and turns in the investigation of Mr. Humpty's demise had me guessing and unsure until the very last page.
....and this book goes down easy. What fun!