Monday, October 16, 2006

REVIEW: The Big Over Easy - Jaspar Fforde

The first book in Jaspar Fforde's Nursery Crime Division, detective series gets off to a roaring start. Written in ooh, 2003?, I'm a bit late reading this, let alone reviewing it but it's set in 'almost' the same universe as his Thursday Next books ie you get a lot of weirdness with a soupcon of modern and contemporary gubbins thrown in.

The main story focuses on Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and the murder of Humpty Dumpty, the large anthromorphosised egg. Did he jump or was he pushed? Or shot? Or poisoned? Or something else? There are a lot of elements combined into one here. On one level it's a straight whodunnit, albeit a certain definition for straight ie a bit bent. On the other, it's also a parody of the great sleuths Morse, Marple, Holmes, Poirot and I'm sure countless others I've missed. And that's as well as being a story of rivalry bewteen former friends, of ambition and morality, all in a world where the three little pigs are up for attempted broiling of the wolf and the Gingerbreadman is a psychotic inmate of the local nuthouse.

So, not the usual run-of-the-mill book then. But then if you've read any of Mr Fforde's works you'll know what to expect. There are puns galore, most of the characters names are plays on words (Friedland Chymes! Genius!) and jokes a plenty. Like Terry Pratchett his books are frequently described as 'hilarious' but I never find myself laughing out loud at them but it should be noted by the end my cheek muscles needed replacing from smiling so much.



Michele said...

It's a shame that Fforde doesn't maintain the good start he made with this book (any more than he has with the Thursday Next series)...

Jamie Starbuck said...

Indeed. I've started The Fourth Bear and already it feels tired: same jokes, same characters and same situations.

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