The Big Over Easy

Finished a book written by Jasper Fforde “The Big Over Easy”. I’d read few Fforde’s books before, but all of them had been about Thursday Next, so this one was a complete new experience. Hmm, probably it should’ve been a complete new experience, but this author is kind of set in his ways. “The Big Over Easy” (I still have troubles with the name and, to be honest, can’t understand how to translate it) is also vigorously uses the same tricks and the same style as books about the famous Literary Detective. Alternative reality, puns and, of course, tons of references to other books. And nursery rhymes in this case, because two main characters of the book works as Nursery Crimes Detectives.

What does such a police department do? Well, it tries to convince the jury, for example, that Three Pigs was boiling Mr Wolf  for several hours deliberately. Or they need to investigate crimes committed by a maniac Gingerbreadman. And so on, and so forth. Doesn’t sound like a serious work, does it? You’re right. Nursery Crimes Department is the least prestigious department in Reading Police, not only because the very existence of characters they have to deal with is rather questionable but also because their crimes are simple, brutal and won’t make a new story for the Amazing Crime Stories magazine. Yep, public should enjoy reading about crimes, it shouldn’t be a routine but something elaborate, thrilling and with unexpected outcome.

Humpty Dumpty had been an ordinary egg. He had been suffering from salmonella for many years, didn’t like Easter and was involved in various shady stories. And one night he had a great fall. Deadly fall. Clearly it was another case under the NCD jurisdiction and it should’ve been a fast and easy work – either suicide or accident. Unfortunately (for, apparently, all involved) everything happened to be not so easy.

On a bright side – Fforde knows how to write books. Even for me, with my poor English knowledge, his prose is a pure joy. As I already mentioned, the book is full of jokes and puns. Without those it would’ve been a grim crime story but all that grimness is hidden under piles and piles of absurd stuff that’s going on. I liked the main characters – detective Jack Spratt, sergeant Mary Mary (although, she’s rather bland) but the supporting staff is absolutely amazing!

As a one downside I’d say that the last 10 pages or so were not so entertaining and I wouldn’t mind if Fforde ended his book a bit earlier… but he is the Creator and he knows better, right?