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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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