The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall–and it’s Detective Inspector Jack Spratt’s job to find out what happened.

DI Spratt runs the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading Central Police.  He and his small (yet plucky!) band of misfits solve the unconventional crimes that crop up in Berkshire–illegal straw-into-gold dens, serial killings by some guy with a brightly colored beard, anything involving talking animals. But it’s not all happy ever after for Spratt and his crew; their latest investigation resulted in an acquittal and the Chief Constable is threatening to shut them down.

Then a local, D-list celebrity named Humpty Dumpty is found dead. At first it looks like suicide, but then others start to die, too–the next-door neighbor, the ex-wife–and the clues keep pointing to murder by person or persons unknown. But who? And why?

If that wasn’t enough, Spratt is hoping to gain entry to the Guild of Detectives and join the ranks of famous detectives like Miss Maple, Lord Peter Flimsey, and Reading’s very own DCI Friedland Chymes. Membership means a following, legitimacy, and the chance to have one’s cases not only published in Amazing Crime Stories magazine, but adapted for prime-time television as well. It’s major, and Jack wants the credibility membership would give to him and, by extension, the entire Nursery Crime Division.

I’ve got to be honest–this one is a bit out there (but in a good way, I promise!). It’s very much a standard mystery that pokes fun at the conventions so prevalent in the genre, and does it very, very well. The nursery rhyme characters fit in seamlessly, and add a little zest that most other mysteries lack. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet presents a puzzling and compelling mystery (Bonus points if you can spot all the puns and references!).

Can Spratt, his DS Mary Mary, and the rest of the team solve the murder before the case is taken away from them? Will Spratt get accepted into the Guild of Detectives? And what on earth is the huge green thing growing in his mother’s front garden? Check out The Big Over Easy, and find out.

Favorite Line:

The lights were off, the interior dingy, and someone, somewhere, was playing the violin.

Don’t read if: you object to eggs, faded movie stars, verrucas, immortal Titans, or accidental giant killing.

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7 thoughts on “The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde

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