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Humpty Dumpty has his last fall.
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
Member Name: blackviolets
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
Advantages: full of amusing moments and mentions of nursery rhyme characters.
Disadvantages: bit hectic in some places, characters which aren't needed.
I am not completely sure why I picked this book up. The front cover-a cartoon esque image of a detective-suggests to me a story basd in years gone by. An era which fails to interest me. It also states that 'it is very funny.' Another aspect which makes me wary. One mans P G Wodehouse is another mans Tom Holt. If that makes sense.
Jasper Fforde, author of The Eyre Affair and Something Rotten seems to be well known for his amusing novels although I've rarely come across any. Until now that is. Based in Reading, The Big Over Easy is the first book out of the Nursery Crime series.
In an alternative style world where it would be perfectly normal to come across a greek god living in a rented house with a strict land lady, Mr Humpty Dumpty has fallen off of his wall for the last time. The 65 year old egg who has an eye for the ladies and a taste for alcohol had many things going on at the time. So was it just a tragic accident? The Nursery Crime Division don't think so and with them on the case the investigation has many twists and turns.
DI Jack Spratt and his second in command Mary Mary come across many a dodgy character. From Solomon Grundy to Lola Vavoom, each have their own story to tell. With Marys determination and Jacks slightly passive personality they make a good team. Providing comic moments whist still including aspects which makes this book a cleverly written crime novel. One which you aren't aware of until you are some way in.
It's packed full of puns and references to well know nursery rhymes. Miss Hubbard. Solomon Grundy. A goose laying golden eggs and even Rumplestiltskin. Fforde may like to add in these randomised characters but it does make things a bit confusing. A lot of them have no part to play at all in the story and it makes everything a bit hectic. Trying to work out if they are good or bad. Hiding something or not. Lying or telling the truth. In pretty much the majority of the time there is no reason to them being there.
The story pace is very quick and there is always something happening. Once you've assumed that you're fully understanding why they're questioning certain people it turns out that they might of gotten it wrong so you're back at square one.
Whilst I enjoyed the fact that his words did amuse me, something which a lot of supposed 'funny' books fail to do, I think he sacrificed the story for it. It begins to weaken about half way through but somehow manages to keep you interested. More so with the silly and occassionally plain ridiculous events. Thankfully it does pick up towards the end where everything starts to fall back into place.
The book ticks a lot of boxed. The relationship between Jack Spratt and his wife, family and colleagues. Mary Marys reactions to her new job and desires of getting a better position. Murders. Revengeful activities. Acts powered by jealousy and of course comic happenings. Which litter the pages from start to finish. It's funny whilst being slightly serious at the same time.
The initial cost is £6.99 but you can get it on Amazon for £3.58. I won't say it was an easy read as it has taken me longer than usual to get through it. Several times I had to reread pages however it was entertaining so I can see myself picking it up again at some point.
I'd definitely recommend this if you like your crime novels to raise a smile. Fforde is clearly an author who can make you laugh through his words, which a lot of authors seem unable to get across on the page. Another thing which is the most important of all and shows how good this book is, is the fact that my sister actually bothered to sit down and read it all the way through. Putting it nicely, she's more of a gossip magazine sort of person and the sight of seeing her reading something which doesn't have glossy photographs must mean that it is a good read.