Monday, December 31, 2007

Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

This was a fun book! Having read Fforde's clever The Eyre Affair some time ago, I was already familiar with his unique ouvre when the Biblioholics Anonymous chose this for our January, 2008 book. However, since I wasn't a huge fan of The Eyre Affair, I didn't exactly know what to expect with this book.

Much to my delight, it was better than I expected! The Big Over Easy is a crime thriller that involves nursery rhyme characters. Detective Jack Spratt and his sidekick, Mary Mary, are called upon to investigate the mysterious murder of Humpty Dumpty, a hard-drinking womanizer with a jail record and a penchant for getting involved in a variety of criminal activity. All the while Jack and Mary are conducting the investigation, Friedland Chymes -- dashing detective and darling of the media -- tries to wrest control of the Dumpty investigation to further his own career in the spotlight. With cameos by countless nursery rhyme characters, like Solomon Grundy (the richest man in the town of Reading), Mrs. Hubbard (a wacky landlady with a lot of dogs), Georgie Porgie (a.k.a. Giorgio Porgia, former mob kingpin), and dozens of others, it's an entertaining glimpse into the world of criminal investigation ... not to mention a brilliant satire on crime fiction, the role of the press, the problems facing federally funded programs, etc.

But the best part: the "crime solving" portion of the novel is downright gripping! Fforde throws in plenty of neat plot twists and just enough red herrings to make this an engaging piece of crime fiction ... one that just happens to use Mother Goose characters. While the whole book sparkles with charm and Brit wit, the second half of the novel will keep you turning pages to find out the killer's identity ... and to see how the various other conflicts are resolved.

This was a wonderful book with which to finish 2007. Enjoy, and see you next year!

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