The Big Over Easy

The Big Over Easy

A Nursery Crime

Book - 2005
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Nursery celebrity Humpty van Dumpty is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his assistant Mary Mary of the Nursery Crime Division investigate their first case together, discovering a sinister plot involving cross-border money laundering, problems with beanstalks, and titans seeking asylum.
Publisher: New York : Viking Penguin, 2005
ISBN: 9780143037231
Characteristics: xii, 383 p


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Aug 29, 2019

Land-mined with plays-on-words and dry British sarcasm. Takes every fairy tale & nursery rhyme you've ever heard and turns it on its head. A total mash-up, got to be a bit too much for me. Spoiler Alert: Rapunzel is having an affair with Humpty Dumpty!

Nov 15, 2018

My eleven year old fan of Douglas Adams loved this book and found the ending to be a satisfying surprise. He's recommended it to quite a few friends.

Aug 03, 2017

I'll begin this review by referencing a series with a similar presence--
"Fables" by Bill Willingham was the first time I approached the concept of storybook characters living among us with a main character working as a detective to investigate literary criminal activity. Whether it was the writing or the accompanying artwork, it didn't sit very well with me and I skipped out after the third volume.

However, Jasper Fforde had something that grabbed my attention, and it's a treat to experience. Not only did the writing feel less dramatic and more humorous (a matter of taste, I suppose), but the world building involves the "Persons of Dubious Reality", seemingly normal citizens, and extraterrestrial immigrants who interact with one-another in a silly but "this is normal" fashion. There isn't a subplot of trying to hide who you are from others, it's just how things are.

I dare not give away how this whole investigation ends--it's something you have to read to believe--but it's a wild ride from start to finish and has enough tongue-in-cheek awareness that I couldn't help smirking at all the nods to typical plot points in mystery novels.

Now if only the third volume of this series would be published...

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

If you enjoyed Jasper Fforde's genre-bending mysteries featuring Thursday Next, you'll love his clever new series featuring Detectives Jack Spratt and Mary Mary of the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading Police Department. Just who killed Humpty Dumpty? Join Jack, Mary and a host of other nursery rhyme and literary characters in a crazy, satiric romp involving cross border money laundering, problems with beanstalks and the cloak and dagger world of international chiropody.

Nov 05, 2013

A mystery series with Fairy Tale characters which makes this hilarious with them living in England where anything is possible. But when one Humpty Dumpty is found shattered into hundreds of pieces from his wall. There is suspicion everywhere. Not only that DI Chymes is trying to sink DI Spratt and his department NCD. Funny characters, and situations, enjoyed reading.

hania4987 Jul 12, 2013

you will never think of Humpty Dumpty in the same way again! ;)

Aug 02, 2012

So very very clever!

Jul 16, 2012

Jasper Fforde really knows how to write clever stories. He takes all the nursery rhyme characters or themes you've ever heard and sprinkles them in this series. I often catch myself laughing out loud.

May 15, 2012

Very well written. A fun read through that keeps you guessing. I enjoyed that you felt like you knew the characters from previous stories, but another depth was always added.

Sep 27, 2011

Jasper Fforde is back with a new series, this one about the Nursery Crimes Division, the lowest of the low in the police department as their DI, Jack Spratt, is unwilling to twist the truth or embellish his cases in order to get them published in Amazing Crimes.

Spratt and his new DS, Mary Mary, must prove that the apparent suicide of Humpty Dumpty is really murder and catch the killer before Nursery Crimes has is shut down, or worse yet, the case is stole by Spratt's nemesis, and old partner, Friedland Chymes,

Part British Police procedural, part hard boiled detective fiction (pun intended by Fforde I suspect), part dry British humour, part skewering of our fame obsessed culture, this book has a lot going for it. Worth reading with a cup of tea.

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