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Staff Picks Category: Police procedural

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde []



The Big Over Easy is a nonsensical but compelling police procedural. Detective Inspector Jack Spratt heads the Nursery Crimes Division, an underfunded and overworked department of the Reading Police Department, with jurisdiction over People of Dubious Reality. In this alternate universe, Reading, Berkshire, is home to a not insignificant number of characters from nursery rhymes, fables, fairy tales, and the like. From the the three little pigs to Old Mother Hubbard and a substantial number of woodcutters and millers’ sons, Reading is full of folks whose identities as storybook characters are obvious to everyone but themselves.

The story begins when Sergeant Mary Mary is assigned to work with DI Spratt on what seems a straightforward case: Humperdinck Jehoshaphat Aloysius Stuyvesant van Dumpty has fallen off a wall. Their investigation soon reveals, however, that Humpty’s death was anything but accidental. Forensics quickly reveals that Humpty was shot, but further conclusions are harder to come by due to the lack of ballistics research on large egg. Inquiries into Humpty’s past reveal all sorts of shady dealings, including involvement in a straw-into-gold racket. And interviews with Solomon Grundy, Rapunzel, and Wee Willie Winkie bring up more questions than answers.

The Big Over Easy is a delightful read, prefect for when you want something both clever and silly.

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Maigret and the Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon []



A wine dealer is shot and wounded via gunfire through a mail slot, traces of poison are found at the Admiral Hotel, a mysterious waitress keeps reintroducing herself as the plot thickens, the footsteps of a giant are discovered, a doctor is having a nervous breakdown behind bars, the mayor is acting rather suspicious, a customs official is shot in the leg and a large, wandering yellow dog is present at the crime scenes.  What does it all mean???

Fear not, international mystery fan.  The laconic, pipe smoking, French speaking inspector Maigret is on the case!

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