ISBN is

978-0-670-03423-9 / 9780670034239

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime

by

Publisher:Viking Adult

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

The word of mouth on Jasper Fforde has long been enthusiastic, among those in the know. But now that his readership has expanded immeasurably, the expectations for such books as The Big Over Easy are considerable. And whether or not those expectations will be met by this new book depends on the readiness of readers to strike out in new directions--just as the author has done. Ffordes speciality has long been the outrageous teasing of narrative forms, and there's a measure of that here, although more disciplined than in earlier books.

Rather in the fashion in which Stephen Sondheim exploded the world of fairytale in Into the Woods, Fforde here brings all the apparatus of the tough crime thriller to bear on the nursery rhyme. Minor baronet Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III has been found dead--and in pieces--beneath a wall in a less salubrious area of town. The perpetrator would appear to be his ex-wife, but she has shot herself. Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his colleague Mary Mary are assigned to the case, and soon find themselves knee-deep in money-laundering, bullion smuggling and major problems with beanstalks.

This isn't quite the Fforde mixture as before, although he has previously favoured a crime motor for his plots. The skill in this outrageously entertaining (and rigorously plotted) concoction lies in a double conjuring trick: we are always amazed to find ourselves reading so assiduously about ludicrous figures (who become quite as interesting heroes as, say, Philip Marlowe) when common sense dictates only children should find such conceits entertaining. Not so! No child could appreciate the dazzling wordplay and witty imagination on offer here, and most readers will be more than happy to encounter detective Inspector Jack Spratt (and his contrary sidekick kick Mary Mary) again and again. --Barry Forshaw

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