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The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime, #1)
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The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  22,067 ratings  ·  1,656 reviews
'It looks like he died from injuries sustained during a fall...' Bestselling author Jasper Fforde begins an effervescent new series. It's Easter in Reading - a bad time for eggs - and no one can remember the last sunny day. Humpty Dumpty, well-known nursery favourite, large egg, ex-convict and former millionaire philanthropist is found shattered beneath a wall in a shabby ...more
Hardcover, 398 pages
Published 2005 by Hodder and Stoughton
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Was it an EGGcident…or cold-yoked murder?

When Humpty Dumpty, local businessman and infamous lothario, is found dead beneath a wall outside his Grimm’s Road apartment, Detective Jack Spratt of the Reading (pronounced Redding) Nursery Crime Division (NCD) is called in to investigate. Jack is a smart, capable, no-fat eating investigator whose previous collars include the apprehensions of (i) serial wife-killer, Bluebeard, (ii) psychotic mass-murderer, The Gingerbread Man and (iii) a certain bridg
5 Things To Know Before Reading This Book

1. It is a murder mystery.
2. The victim is an enormous egg named Humpty Dumpty. (He fell off a wall … or was pushed or possibly shot.)
3. The detective investigating the crime is named Jack Spratt. His partner is Mary Mary.
4. Jack and Mary work for the Nursery Crimes Division (NCD).
5. You should brush up on your nursery rhymes and fairy tales before reading so as to fully enjoy the book. (It took me almost halfway through to dredge up the fact that Jack’s
Jasper Fforde is just so much fun. His books are sorta like beach reads for book nerds. They're playful, punny, funny, silly, and smart. Also I saw him read in a small bookstore in SoHo a couple of years ago and he is hilarious. He talked about how he and his kids play games in supermarkets where they put really incongruous and semi-embarrasing things in other people's shopping carts (I think he called them 'trolleys' because of course he British or maybe Austrailian?), like adult diapers for y ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of mysteries, people with a sense of the ridiculous
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
07/15: Finished it today. So damn funny, if you like puns and referential literary humor and British mysteries. Simultaneously a romp (yes, a romp!) through nursery rhymes and fairy tales, while sending up the ridiculousness of both old-school murder mysteries and modern-day police procedurals. Recommended to anyone who likes mysteries and fairy tales. Will definitely be checking out the next one from the library in short order.

07/14: Halfway through. Can't wait to finish. If Wales were not so v
Outstanding! This may be my next book club recommendation. Being a mom of a toddler makes it even more amusing - especially when reading Mother Goose before bedtime. I normally avoid mysteries but I highly recommend this one.

Despite the dry and everpresent humor, it still wasn't hard to come up with my favorite paragraph:

An official report confirms what most of us have already suspected: that the alien visitors who arrived unexpectedly on the planet four years ago ar
Maria M. Elmvang
Amazon calls this "probably Fforde's weakest novel" - a statement I must say I highly disagree with. It's much better than Lost in a Good Book and almost on par with The Eyre Affair - something which I thought absolutely impossible.

I love how Fforde dares to use the media to get his point across and how he plays around with commonly known concepts and stories without ever blatantly showing his readers "This is what I'm talking about, I'm so obvious you have to get it now!". He perfectly masters
This was hard for me to love at first. I knew it was trying to be funny, but I kept taking it too seriously. Previous to chapter 16 I was prepared to write this review: "Didn't like it as much as I wanted to." After my husband explained the nursery rhyme that was meant to be the heading to chapter 19, I lightened up and found myself laughing as I had hoped at the beginning. It's a bit like a Monty Python movie... or Zoolander... the first time it just seems like stupidity... but then you find yo ...more
I read this book several years ago, and so don’t have a lot to say about it today. I reread it as part of my book club, but in the intervening years, the distance gave me some perspective that let me recognize or enjoy a few more jokes:

* Charles Pewter, of The Diary of an Ordinary Man shows up in the book, with a couple funny jokes about his house.
* I’ve come to appreciate the vast number of goofs on the genre that Fforde perpetrates. I still particularly like the attention to what car Jack dr
After reading a couple of really heavy stories, I felt the need for something light. Something fun. Something that I could sink my teeth into, only to find it was full of chocolate. And that’s why I picked up this book, at this time.

Many, many years ago I picked up Jasper Fforde’s ’The Eyre Affair’ at a small bookshop when I was desperate for something to read. I went on to devour the rest of the Thursday Next series, and fell in love with Fforde’s voice and style. He’s the type of storyteller w
May 19, 2008 Sfdreams rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of puns and humor
Shelves: reviewed
I read this book while waiting for the second Thursday Next novel to be available at the library.

Like the Thursday Next novels, Fforde presents a world where fiction blends with reality. In the Nursery Crime novels, nursery rhyme characters are "real", and there is a division of the police that deals specifically with crimes involving nursery characters.

In this first book of a series, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and shattered into bits. Was he pushed? Was it suicide? This is a case for the u
I've found Jasper Fforde's books generally fun/amusing. I'd read the Thursday Next books; I expected to enjoy Nursery Crimes. There was nothing I'd point to that was wrong with the book, although being familiar with his writing, I wasn't terribly surprised by the tone, form, style, etc, etc. Someone else described it as a "beach read for nerds" -- which sounds just about right to me. It's heavy on puns and references, light on real characterisation. While there has to be a plot, it feels very mu ...more
Kelsey Hanson
This is one of the weirdest books that I have ever read, but I really liked it. You definitely have to have an appreciation for satire and knowledge of obscure nursery rhymes also helps (Solomon Grundy was a nursery rhyme before he was a comic book villain). This book combines hardboiled mystery novels with nursery rhymes, all while poking fun at the mystery genre, characters and scenarios that inspired it. I really enjoyed the literary references and the mystery itself is pretty good with plent ...more
This is one of the best, funniest books I have ever read, and I'm not exaggerating! Jasper Fforde has brought fairy tales to life, and the world is so much better with them in it! I recommend this book for absolutely everyone; it's a fairy-tale, but one written for totally, smart serious people.
Rick Silva
This is the first in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series, a hardboiled (sorry, I'll stop now) police drama set in a world where characters from story, myth, and nursery rhyme walk the streets and where police detectives compete for ratings in the popular crime magazines and their television adaptations.

This is the story of the death of Humpty Dumpty, a large anthropomorphic egg, and of the investigation into the circumstances of his death.

The language in this book is clever, with frequent momen
A little like Terry Pratchett for detective novel enthusiasts. I'm so happy I've found this author! In this first book of the "Nursery Crime" series, Detective Jack Spratt is assigned to look into the untimely death of Humpty Dumpty. After coming off an unsuccessful prosecution of the three little pigs for the first-degree murder of Mr. Wolff (by vicious, premeditated boiling), Spratt is depressed and harried. His job heading up the underfunded and woefully understaffed Nursery Crimes Division i ...more
Readable, and I enjoyed the cleverness of some of the gags, though others were rather trite. As far as the overall effect of the humour went I found that sometimes the rapidity of the comedy - one gag upon the other upon the other - started to build up a kind of choking effect, a little like an old Leslie Nielsen movie, I never really cared much about the characters and I seemed to care less and less about the plot the further I went along. I can appreciate the craftsmanship, but the parody ende ...more
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jack Spratt (who has an unfortunate giant killing history) has lead the Nursey Crimes Division of Reading police for a long time – and has often been overlooked in favour of the more narratively pleasing detectives, like his nemesis Chymes

Joined by new Detective Sergent Mary Mary (she’s from Basingstoke and not ashamed) he tackles the case of Humpty Dumpty, found dead at the bottom of a wall. This could be the case that finally breaks the Nursery Crime Division – to say nothing of Jack and Mary’
Funny as all hell. I know some folks only know his Tuesday next series but his Jack Sprat Nursery Crime series is absolutely the funniest thing ever, I dare you not to love this series. Ths one of course has to do with the death of Humpty Dumpty as investigated by Jack Sprat. There is alot of nursery humor and puns out the wazoo and the conclusion will have you giggling as well as just being flabbergasted. READ IT NOW DAMMIT!!!
A cleverly written book about the death of Humpty Dumpty and the detectives Jack Sprat and Mary Mary who are on the case. Many references are made to nursery rhyme characters. This author has another series and the first book is "The Eyre Affair" that has something to do with Jane Eyre being kidnapped.
This was so much fun and all through it I was admiring Fforde's skill in packing so much into the story including the hilarious newspaper articles at the start of each chapter. Two newspapers titled 'The Mole', and 'The Toad' were an obvious homage to 'The Wind in the Willows', the fantasy novel with anthropomorphic animals of the type found in this novel that was also set in Berkshire.

There is a great deal of gentle satire throughout poking fun at the concept of police detectives whose main co
Absolutely dreadful. In no way was I expecting this novel, a mystery about the death of an alcoholic, womanizing Humpty Dumpty, to remotely resemble great literature. Unfortunately, though, it didn't even succeed as fun, breezy summer brain candy.

Fforde suffers from an acute case of cleverness overload--every sentence reads like he's trying way to hard to be witty. Plus, while normally I love contemporary literature that rewrites fairy tales or folklore, in this book it felt like a cheap gimmic
I started out thinking this book was incredibly cheesy. I had heard it was funny, witty, and clever but the first couple chapters just didn't hold my attention. However, I'm glad I persevered because it ended up being a charming book.

Jack Spratt is the lead detective of the Nursery Crimes Division of the Reading police. While not as laudable as his colleagues in the regular division who are all a part of the Detectives guild, he nonetheless enjoys his job and does it to the best of his ability.
Ian Cosgrave
As a fan of sci-fi and fantasy novels, I thought this would be a fun, easy read. A cross between an american screen noir detective mystery and.... and... what?
The characters come straight from nursery rhymes, but with the twist that they have a life, in Reading, beyond the rhyme descriptions. The hero (Det.Ins. Jack Spratt) and heroine (Side-kick Sgt. Mary Mary) are believable and admirable.
The premise is that someone murdered Humpty Dumpty as he slept, drunk, on his favourite wall. But after th
Such a strange, but entertaining, spin on the world of nursery rhymes in a society of their own. Humpty Dumpty has died (you know how), and it's up to Jack Spratt and Mary Mary to investigate on behalf of the Nursery Crimes Division (NCD) of the police. The way the story is woven, though multiple nursery rhymes and other famous fantastical works, is ingenious. Characters are given life in a manner you would not think possible, and for that Jasper Fforde is to be commended. The book is very funny ...more
"The Big Over Easy" is first and foremost a mystery novel, or at least a sendup of one. Most mysteries now-days have a "hook" - horse racing, mysteriously prescient cats, and catering, just to name a few - and "Over Easy's" is - as the series name implies - Nursery Rhymes. As in the author's "Thursday Next" series, the attempt is to create a world in which literature, with all its tropes and memes and plot devices, is literally true. The action takes place in a modern English town (Reading, to b ...more
386 pages.

Fract5ured fairy tales, with real people wandering around in them. What a hoot.

"Meet Detective Inspector Jack Spratt, family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division, long suffering under the shadow of the flashy Detective Friedland Chymes with his astonishing number of published cases in Amazing Crime Stories. Spratt is fresh from a spectacular failure to see convicted three wily pigs for the murder of a certain wolf. The media and tide of public opinion are set squarely against him
Dec 23, 2008 Giacomo rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like fables as well as whodunit
Shelves: fiction, novels
This book is a plethora of calembours, puns and in-jokes on two literary genres: classic fables and detective stories. It's so post- and meta-, it will make your brain laugh as much as your belly.
One would expect that the investigation on the death of Humpty Dumpty after falling from his wall would be a pretty dull affair, but in this "Fforde-verse" nothing is what it seems. Taking place in a world where detectives are literally literary, and characters of classic tales walk among humans, this
Lis Carey
In case you were worried: No, Jasper Fforde has not run out of weird, twisted things to do to defenseless Literature.

Jack Spratt, his second wife, and their five children (two his, two hers, one theirs) are living happily in Reading, England. Well, reasonably happily. Jack, a policeman, has the dubious honor of being the head of the Nursery Crimes unit. He and his tiny unit believe in the importance of their jobs, but no one else does. And they've just experienced the embarrassing, and more impo
I usually enjoy stories of fairy tales set in a realistic world and The Big Over Easy was no exception. Here's a problem with waiting a month (and some change) before writing my thoughts on a book. I don't remember the book as well as I did a month ago! I'll muddle through somehow. I really liked how the fairy tale characters were a made a part of the real world without much of a blink from the regular world people. It's like they realize they are different, but not really. The interaction betwe ...more
Detective Jack Spratt heads the somewhat failing Nursery Crimes Division of the Reading Police Department. Shortly after being assigned Mary Mary as his new partner, Spratt and his team are faced with solving the suspicious death of one Humperdink "Humpty" Dumpty. In a world where police departments get much of their funding from royalties earned publishing the gripping tales of their cases in Amazing Crimes magazine, Friedland Chymes is king, and he wants the Humpty case. Spratt's boss gives hi ...more
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Jasper Fforde is a novelist living in Wales. He is the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England, whose signature used to appear on sterling banknotes, and is cousin of Desmond Fforde, married to author Katie Fforde. His early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films including Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment.

More about Jasper Fforde...

Other Books in the Series

Nursery Crime (3 books)
  • The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime, #2)
  • The Last Great Tortoise Race (Nursery Crime, #3)
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1) Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, #2) The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3) Something Rotten (Thursday Next, #4) Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron (Shades of Grey, #1)

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“If it weren't for greed, intolerance, hate, passion and murder, you would have no works of art, no great buildings, no medical science, no Mozart, no Van Gough, no Muppets and no Louis Armstrong.” 260 likes
“How many people want to read about three disreputable pigs and a dopey wolf with a disposition towards house demolition?” 33 likes
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