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The Big Over Easy
Jasper Fforde
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The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  27,427 Ratings  ·  2,042 Reviews
Jasper Fforde does it again with a dazzling new series starring Inspector Jack Spratt, head of the Nursery Crime Division.

Jasper Fforde’s bestselling Thursday Next series has delighted readers of every genre with its literary derring-do and brilliant flights of fancy. In The Big Over Easy, Fforde takes a break from classic literature and tumbles into the seedy underbelly o
Published (first published July 11th 2005)
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Kriss Kirk Absolutely. Probably better for adults, who can understand nuance in jokes, than young children.
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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
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
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
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007
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 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of mysteries, people with a sense of the ridiculous
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
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
Jasper Fforde, lover of slapstick and absurdity has another winner with this series of Nursery Rhyme crimes. Many of your favourite nursery rhyme character will appear in this humorous tale of the demise of big egg and womaniser Humpty Dumpty who fell off a wall - or was he pushed or shot or drugged or poisoned?

Jack Spratt who likes his bacon lean and has accidently killed several giants (although he claims three of them were just very tall men) is an Inspector in the Nursery Crimes Division wh
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jasper Fforde is a master and he has done it again with this book. I couldn't put it down.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having really enjoyed, “The Eyre Affair,” I was looking forward to reading this, the first in the ‘Nursery Crimes’ series. DS Mary Mary transfers to Reading Central Police Station, hoping to work with her hero, DCI Friedland Chymes. As with, “The Eyre Affair,” this is a slightly twisted version of reality – so, in this world, the police are lauded not for their ability to solve crimes, but to publish them in crime magazines. In order to become a success, detectives need to join the Guild of Dete ...more
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
Melissa McShane
I picked this up for some light comfort reading over the weekend, and it did not disappoint. This is by way of being a very loose spin-off from the Thursday Next books (Thursday encounters Mary Mary's home in a book character exchange program) and really is a standalone series. Detective Jack Spratt heads up the Nursery Crime division at the Reading police department, and when Humpty Dumpty is found dead at the base of a wall, shattered into a thousand pieces, the case is clearly his and just as ...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
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-fantasy
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
Lis Carey
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Nov 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime, humour
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
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
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
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hilarious-books
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.
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
While I really enjoyed this as another of Fforde's puntastic romps, I didn't really feel like it stacked up to the Thursday Next or chromatics series.

I enjoyed it well enough, but the perspective shifts were sometimes jarring, and, at the end of the day, it read more like any other police procedural novel, with nursery rhyme puns. While those puns certainly added to my enjoyment, it didn't make up for all the other ordinary elements within the book.

Also, the book felt a lot like it was cramming
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think of a nursery rhyme or fairy tale from when you were very young, and the chances are that the characters from there will be found somewhere in this book. Don't be put off by the title, this is not a children's book, although they might enjoy reading it too.
Not only is this a witty, fun filled book, but also a well written whodunnit. Even various Detectives from both our TVs and literature make appearances throughout.
Basically there is a little known division of the Oxford and Berkshire Poli
Rick Silva
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anthony Eaton
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first time I've read a Jasper Fforde book. In the past I've always dismissed them (judging by their covers and blurbs only) as being little more than a terribly clever string of puns, thrown together into a loose-and-probably-not-very-engaging plot. A gimmick, in other words.

Then my wife told me to read 'The Big Over Easy'.

Basically, it's a terribly clever string of puns, thrown together. But the plot is in no way loose or unengaging. Neither are the characters. The writing is polis
Sandy Lenahan
I love smart, creative writers like Jasper Fforde. I don't know why it's taken me so long to read his adult material! Fforde's ingenious way of innertwining nursery rhyme and mythological characters to create a fully fleshed out story is brilliant. The story is like a mashup of Mother Goose and Get Smart with a little of Underdog's righteousness tossed in for fun ☺

Any fan of Douglas Adams & Terry Pratchett will enjoy The Big Over Easy. It's a clean story with the only real gore being Humpty
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
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nicole Chase
This was really cute! I always enjoy Jasper Fforde's creative storytelling, and The Big Over Easy is no exception, as Detective Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division investigates the tragic demise of one Mr. Humpty Dumpty. Fans of classic detective stories - Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, etc. - will find plenty to chuckle about in this mystery romp.
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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)
“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.” 295 likes
“Mr. Pewter led them through to a library, filled with thousands of
antiquarian books.
'Impressive, eh?'
'Very,' said Jack. 'How did you amass
all these?'
'Well,' said Pewter, 'You know the person who always borrows
books and never gives them back?'
'I'm that person.”
More quotes…