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 of nursery crime. Meet Inspector Jack Spratt, family man and head of the Nursery Crime Division. He’s investigating the murder of ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Dumpty, found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town. Yes, the big egg is down, and all those brittle pieces sitting in the morgue point to foul play.
Jack Spratt is in charge of the Nursery Crimes Division of Reading, a division on the verge of losing its budget thanks to his recent inability to convict the Three Little Pigs of murdering the Big Bad Wolf. Then the smashed remains of Humpty Dumpty are found next to a wall and Jack knows it wasn’t suicide. Now Jack must find the murderer, save his misfit division, and keep sleuthing celebrity, DCI Friedland Chimes, off the case.
I absolutely loved The Big Over Easy. Thank you for the recommendation Polly! Each page is packed with nursery rhyme references but it never feels overwhelming as the passages are so matter-or-fact. It leaves you with this nagging feeling that these events actually happened. Fforde’s dry, sarcastic humor kept my snickering and speeding through the novel. The Jack and the Beanstalk references killed me every time!
My only complaint is the climax chapters were too fast paced for me in comparison to the rest of the story. That’s it for me but I did take some time to read the few negative reviews of The Big Over Easy. My response to them is: do NOT read this book if you don’t like murder mysteries. It’s a murder mystery that mocks the elaborate and showy nature of modern mystery development. How can you expect to like that when you don’t enjoy mystery novels?! Other reviewers complain that Fforde is trying too hard to be clever and only includes all the nursery rhyme information to make his readers feel smart when they get the references. You’ve got to be kidding me. Yes, the clever jokes and writing style may be too much for some but I highly doubt Fforde is more concerned with boosting the ego of his readers over the need to provide a good complex story. My only advice for such thinkers is that you should get over yourself and learn to enjoy the mechanics and discipline required to write a well balanced story.
Fforde’s jaw dropping ability to expertly meld so much research and detail in to one murder mystery has me wanting to be a better writer. I recommend The Big Over Easy to writers, as well as readers, as a prime example of a writing style that remains showing despite being so informational.
Have you discovered the Nursery Crimes Division? It’s time you should!
At The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques, fundraiser Eleanor “Nell” Pratt solicits donations-and sometimes solves crimes. When a collection of George Washington’s letters is lost on the same day that an archivist is found dead, it seems strange that the Society president isn’t pushing for an investigation. Nell goes digging herself, and soon uncovers a long, rich history of crime.
Fundraising the Dead is one of the multiple cozy mysteries picked up during my grad school bookstore wanderings. I couldn’t resist a mystery set in a museum. So many cozy series occur in an antique store, bookstore, or antique clothing store and it was nice to read something different. It was an added bonus to read about museum work which is one of my passions.
Nell is the fund-raiser specialist for The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques. She loves her job and is content working with the historic community. That is until she is alerted of some missing letters composed by George Washington. The next day she finds Alfred, who is in charge of the Society’s database, dead next to his precious computer. It seems as if more than just a few letters are missing and Nell is determined to catch the thief!
I really enjoyed Fundraising the Dead. I loved reading about all the stacks, the floors of artifact storage, and the variety of items maintained by the Society. I was like a kid in a candy shop reading about Alfred’s job because that is my dream job and nothing would make me happier than organizing artifacts and paperwork. Seriously folks, I’m that nerdy. I liked Marty and her whit. Her plan to organize a sneak attack of wealthy women on the Society thief had me laughing repeatedly. Her cousin, Jimmy, is probably my favorite character. I even had a soft spot for stubborn Nell and her love of order. More books should involve museums!
But I will be the first to admit that Fundraising the Dead is not for everyone. I will go as far as saying that most cozy lovers will have a hard time getting in to this one. The first half of the book is just SLOW. It was a tad tedious to get through and I am someone who loves everything about the ends and outs of museum organization. It will be even slower for someone not well versed with the museum/archives world. I also had a tough time initially connecting with Nell. She comes across cold.
Good news for those who stick it with it; the plot speeds up and the characters are better developed as the story progresses. I eventually connected with Nell when she finally teams up with Marty and just loved her by the time I turned that last page!
What do you think about setting a mystery in a museum?
What to Expect: JUNE
Today is June 1st and like most people I am shocked that 2015 is zipping by so quickly! I am still adjusting to my new schedule and workload but am doing better with keeping up with my reading. June promises more posts and here is what to expect.
I have a few books that I have needed to read and review for some very patient friends. The following are three you will definitely hear about this month!
1. A Time to Live by Jonas Lee
2. Akarnae by Lynette Noni
3. Identity Theft by Laura Lee
Plus, there will still be a few mysteries left over from May!
Thank you all for being so patient with me the last few months. Things here at Sand Between the Pages are getting back to normal, so be ready for plenty of reviews coming your way! Here’s to summer and lazy beach days spent reading!