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    Review of THE BIG OVER EASY by Jasper Fforde (see his website)


    Viking, July 2005

    Jack Spratt has been stuck in the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading police department for years--and now, after his failed prosecution of the three pigs for murdering the big bad wolf, Spratt is in trouble. But a last-minute case gives him a chance. The death of Humpty Dumpty is clearly nursery rhyme material--and it's something that Spratt can sink his teeth into. Assisted by new, and questionably loyal, Detective Sergeant (and official sidekick wannabe) Mary Mary, Spratt looks into evidence that Dumpty's death might not have been a drunken accident resulting from sitting on a wall, but rather, murder.

    Spratt's investigation takes him through a wealth of fairy tale material. Prosecutions of Rumplestiltskin, the cons of The Emperor's New Clothing,' Jack's giant-killing past and the sad death of his ex-wife (who ate way too much fat) all play a role. But the investigation of Dumpty's questionable past, his wild way with women, and his investment schemes form the center of the book--as does the evolving relationship between Spratt and DS Mary.

    Author Jasper Fforde (see more reviews of fantasy by Fforde) steps away from his Thursday Next universe, but not very far. In fact, mixed in with the fairy tale and mythology references (Prometheus, in England hoping to win political asylum) are references to Fforde's own works. THE BIG OVER EASY has some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments, provides a nicely slanted look at the way detective mysteries are written, and manages to abuse every cliche of the detective genre.

    EASY is just a little less than the sum of its parts, but that doesn't keep it from being a highly enjoyable read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/06/05

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