The Big Over Easy

Author: Jasper Ffordethe big over easy

Nursery Crimes Series, vol. 1

My rating: 4.5 of 5

In a world where detective work is valued as much for its entertainment value as for the actual societal benefit of bringing criminals to justice, detective sergeant Mary Mary dreams of becoming Official Sidekick to a recognized, published detective. Instead, her transfer to the Reading branch lands her in what seems to be a career dead end, working under Detective Inspector Jack Spratt in the Nursery Crime Division. But things pick up a bit when the death of Humpty Dumpty–originally believed to be accident or suicide–is discovered to have been a murder. And not just any murder, but one steeped in schemes, plots, and old loves lost. This will be a case that will try DS Mary’s loyalty and skills to the max, but it might just be the case that will win her loyalty for her sometimes bumbling superior as well. And you never know, it might even get them published.

Yet again, in The Big Over Easy, Jasper Fforde has crafted a strange and unpredictable world . . . one oddly reminiscent of our own. I love it! It’s been ages since I’ve enjoyed a detective story as much as I did this one. As I said, the alternate universe he presents is unique, quirky, and interesting–full of mysteries and oddities at every turn–and yet is similar enough to reality to bring poignant perspectives on our own lives. I love the multitudinous (and sometimes subtle) allusions to nursery rhymes and fairy tales that are mixed throughout the story, as well as the tongue-in-cheek way they are used. The plot itself is solid and surprising, bringing in a number of unexpected elements . . . and also pleasantly intermixing the detectives’ own personal lives. The characters themselves are well written, although again, full of that quirky, tongue-in-cheek style–some more than others. Jack and Mary, at least, are more normal, credible individuals–and because of that, more full of real individuality and character, which is nice. I would definitely recommend The Big Over Easy to those who like detective stories (as long as it doesn’t have to be too particularly realistic) and to those who enjoy a good romp in fantasy–or in Fforde’s quirky worlds, at least. It was a very good story.


Filed under Book Review

4 responses to “The Big Over Easy

  1. elmediat

    Excellent series. I wish he would do more.


    • This is the first of this particular series that I’ve read, but I’m already looking forward to the rest. 😀 Have you read any of his other series?


      • elmediat

        Oh yes. I am addicted to Thursday Next. I was not as satisfied with Shades of Gray. Very well thought out setting & characters, but the pacing of the narrative dragged a bit for my expectations ( based on the other book series ). 🙂

        Were you aware that the Nursery Crimes series is the result of Thursday’s solving a problem in Book World – more of Fforde’s meta-fictional universe. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s too fun; I was not aware. 😀 I think my personal favorites of his are the Kazam books. TN are amazing too. Shades of Gray . . . like you said, it’s just a bit off from the other series. Good, but different and not as light and fun.


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