28 September 2007

Book Banter -- The Big Over Easy

Title: The Big Over Easy
Author: Jasper Fforde
Length: 383 pages
Genre: mystery/comedy
Plot Basics: Detective Inspector Jack Spratt has been with the Nursery Crime Division for years, but his success rate isn't so great. On the heels of a failed prosecution of the Three Little Pigs, DI Spratt is assigned a new partner, Detective Sergeant Mary Mary. Together, they begin to investigate the death of Humpty Dumpty. At first they think the giant ovoid committed suicide, but as they piece together the clues (and Dumpty's shell), they begin to suspect murder. But Spratt and the whoel NCD division are under some pressure to finish this case before the division is shut down or the case is given over to wildly popular detective Friedland Chymes.
Banter Points: Another winner from the wacky mind of Jasper Fforde. Honestly, this man must take imagination pills with his morning coffee to come up with all this stuff. He mercilessly plays off of familiar nursery rhymes and fairy tales in this book as easily as he does with classic literature in his Thursday Next series. His humor is smarty and witty, but the comedy doesn't overshadow the story. At it's heart, even though it's the death of Humpty Dumpty, the book is still a smart mystery.
Bummer Points: For a reader unfamiliar with Fforde and Thursday Next, some of the humor would be lost.
Word Nerd recommendation: Fans of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams if you haven't read Fforde, what are you waiting for? Bibliophiles of all stripes, Fforde will likely tickle your funny bone as well, but start with The Eyre Affair and read the Thursday Next series (at least up to Something Rotten) before reading Big Over Easy, to see how the two series link.

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