Cover of The Big Over Easy
Review written 7/08/09
It’s Easter in Reading; a bad time for eggs; and no one can remember the last sunny day. Humpty Dumpty, well-known nursery favourite, large egg, ex-convict and former millionaire philanthropist is found shattered beneath a wall in a shabby area of town.
Following the pathologist’s careful reconstruction of Humpty’s shell, Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his Sergeant Mary Mary are soon grappling with a sinister plot involving cross-border money laundering, the illegal Bearnaise sauce market, corporate politics and the cut and thrust world of international Chiropody.
As Jack and Mary stumble around the streets of Reading in Jack’s Lime Green Austin Allegro, the clues pile up, but Jack has his own problems to deal with.
And on top of everything else, the Jellyman is coming to town…
Have been meaning to write this for nearly a week but don’t really have much to say. I really liked it, but not as much as what I’ve read from the Thursday Next series. It was funny and I loved all the nursery rhyme references. In a way that bit was better than the book references in the Thursday Next books because I’m more likely to know the original stories. My favourite character was Jack, I really thought he was great.
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Synopsis (from Amazon)
The Gingerbreadman – psychopath, sadist, convicted murderer and cake/biscuit – is loose on the streets of Reading.
It isn’t Jack Spratt’s case. Despite the success of the Humpty Dumpty investigation, the well publicised failure to prevent Red Riding-Hood and her Gran being eaten once again plunges the Nursery Crime Division into controversy. Enforced non-involvement with the Gingerbreadman hunt looks to be frustrating until a chance encounter at the oddly familiar Deja-Vu Club leads them onto the hunt for missing journalist Henrietta ‘Goldy’ Hatchett, star reporter for The Daily Toad.
The last witnesses to see her alive were The Three Bears, comfortably living out a life of rural solitude in Andersen’s wood. But all is not what it seems. Are the unexplained explosions around the globe somehow related to missing nuclear scientist Angus McGuffin? Is cucumber-growing really that dangerous? Why are National Security involved? But most important of all: How could the bears’ porridge be at such disparate temperatures when they were poured at the same time?
I really do like Jasper Fforde novels. They’re like nothing I’ve ever read before. Like crime stories but with a bit of a literary twist. This one was particularly good, or at least better than the previous in the nursery crime series (The Big Over Easy). While I still prefer the Thursday Next series in general this is a strong contender to knock them out of place. In ways these are easier too seeing as it’s pretty easy to miss the literary references in Thursday Next, but I have a pretty wide knowledge of nursery rhymes.
I found the general storyline of this one better than the previous in the series, more compelling somehow, and the twists and turns kept me guessing. In fact the only thing I really didn’t like about the book was how much the title gives away, and that there were plenty of alternative titles which wouldn’t have done that.