Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde (4.5 / 5 Stars)

The Big Over Easy is a tongue-in-cheek detective novel featuring Detective Jack Spratt who investigates cases for the Nursery Crime Division (NCD) in the town of Reading. After losing his case against the Three Little Pigs for the death of the Big Bad Wolf, Jack Spratt begins investigating the suspicious death of Humpty Dumpty. However, Spratt must first jump over many hurdles including the threat of the eradication of the NCD by the police force; his arch nemesis, superstar Detective Friedland Chymes; his partner Detective Mary Mary might be in collusion with Chymes; and the fact that in this world where books mean everything, none of his cases get much mention in “True Crime” or Amazing Crime Stories”.

Fforde’s writing is deft, humorous, witty, and intelligent. His wordplay is nothing short of genius. The novel is fast-paced, amusing, and engaging. As is the case with all of Jasper Fforde’s books, this novel is truly written for the book and word lover.

As funny and entertaining as The Big Over Easy is, it also manages to capture the uniquely 21st Century problem of the public’s need for constant news entertainment created by the mass media. In the land of Reading, police investigations are constantly compromised in order to make for a better story; a detective’s true worth is not his or her ability to solve cases but how much he or she can publish and whether or not he is a member of the Detective Guild; and superstar detective, Friedland Chymes, shouts the very Donald Trump-esque catch phrase, “The Case is Closed!” after every press conference.

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