wasn’t sure what to make of this at first (an omelette?). Loaned to me after a book chat between adjacent modeling projects at the train club, I looked into this English satiricalists with a slight unease. Humor works differently. I can only point back to War of the Worlds: Plus Blood and Guts and Zombies to illustrate where it doesn’t for certain people.
The Big Over Easy follows Detective Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division (see, what are you thinking, right now?). He’s a not-so-successful copper, having just seen his long case against the three pigs for the homicide of the Big Bad Wolf lose in court (he figures it had to be premeditated – how long would it take to get a whole cauldron of water to a boil?). And now philanthropist, drunk, and womanizer Humpty Dumpty is found dead at the bottom of his favorite wall (or rather his shell – the night rains have washed everything else away). And Spratt has now taken up the case.
But if you ignored the obvious nursery rhymes (which rhymes with crimes – I only just got that), it’s actually an interesting detective story. Jack has all sorts of problems, from having a liver-torn-out-by-eagles Greek political refugee rooming at his house (and charming his daughter) to the pressure of a megastar detective pressuring him to surrender the case (and using every dirty trick in the book). There are all sorts of references to prior books and characters, but happily they don’t obstruct the storytelling at all. Jack slowly puts together the clues and we watch, entertained by the various witticisms and dry observations of our childhood rhymes.
I’ll point out that I wasn’t even close to solving this. When the truth of what happens does happen, it’s so strange and alien and right that I really could only smile. Yes, having misguessed to Hercule Poirot so many times in the past, it was nice to miss by a county mile and accept it. So, yes, fun story, and worth a checking out of. I’ve got two more books by Fforde to read through – so watch for my reviews in the near future. But first, Vampires, and not in a good way. Yow!