Customer Reviews


84 Reviews
5 star:
 (43)
4 star:
 (26)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest, most entertaining books i've read for ages
I have to admit this is not the usual type of book i like to read. I only really picked it up cos a friend was reading it and said it was good. I tend to read vampire and crime fiction, so this was completely different to my normal reading, but i thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down.

The only thing i would say is wrong with the book is that it ended...
Published on 26 Feb 2007 by C. M. Bennett

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed
I enjoyed reading this book and moving away from the Thursday Next series has definitely added some more life to this rather odd universe. Unfortunately this book has some pretty severe flaws which prevent it actually being 'good'. The biggest problem is that he's trying to parody something and in doing so causes exactly the same problems as are present in the original...
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by Sulkyblue


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest, most entertaining books i've read for ages, 26 Feb 2007
By 
C. M. Bennett "Caro" (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have to admit this is not the usual type of book i like to read. I only really picked it up cos a friend was reading it and said it was good. I tend to read vampire and crime fiction, so this was completely different to my normal reading, but i thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down.

The only thing i would say is wrong with the book is that it ended. I was so disappointed that i got to the last page, i just wanted it to continue on.

This is the first book by Jasper Fforde that i have read, but because of this i am now reading his others. He makes the characters of nursery rhymns and myths to be believable and 'real'. Well as real as any ficitional character can be.

So if you are looking for a book with humour, then pick this, it had me laughing out loud to myself, which got me a few strange looks for people in my works canteen i can tell you. It also has a crime so please that like a good mystery will enjoy, although it isn't your run-of-the-mill crime story, it has some great plot twists.

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and very absurd whodunnit - move over Sherlock., 29 Jun 2006
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
This is a fantastic - and utterly silly book.

Imagine a world where nursey rhyme characters exist and live in Berkshire. A small, very underfunded department of the Berkshire Police exists to investigate crimes in this community, headed by the dishevelled DI Jack Spratt.

Next imagine that Humpty Dumpty had his fall but that it wasn't the suicide that everyone first thought it was.

Every page is absolutely packed with little references to anything from Hans Cristian Anderson to Monty Python. Jasper Fforde somehow manages to squeeze funny into even the most routine of situations. I found it hard to supress chuckling at every sentence. Even the little snippets of "news" at the start of each chapter are a joy.

Even better than this though is the book works as a fantastic murder mystery in its own right - beautifully and intricately plotted from start to end. You really want to know who offed Humpty. A whodunnit to match anything Agatha Christie could come up with (yes, Fforde references Miss Marple and Poirot too, along with Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin's Rebus and almost every other famous "dick").

I've never read any Jasper Fforde to date - I picked this up on a station waiting for a train (for once, thank God for BR delays!). I really can't find anything to say wrong about this book, with maybe the exception that it wasn't enough. Bring back Jack!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humpty Dumpty had a lethal fall, 7 May 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
Jasper Fforde first became famous for his Thursday Next books, hard-boiled detective stories set in an alternate, highly literate reality.

And in "The Big Over Easy," he changes his focus to nursery rhymes and folktales, with a bit of Greek mythology and Monty Python thrown in for good measure. It's not as clever his previous works, but still an amusing, humorous twist on your usual detectie story.

Sergeant Mary Mary has just been stationed in Reading, and is disappointed to find that she's been assigned to the Nursery Crime Division's Jack Spratt, who has a reputation for offing giants and losing cases. A murder comes up immediately -- alcoholic egg Humpty Dumpty is found shattered, but did he simply fall off the wall, or was it murder?

Spratt and Mary investigate a variety of suspects: a bitter ex-wife, a mad scientist, paramours, a foot-powder company owner. and a newly-released Titan who soon moves in with Spratt's family and falls for his daughter. But as the NCD approaches its end date, Spratt and Mary discover a horrifying conspiracy linked with Humpty's death...

"The Big Over Easy" was actually the first book Jasper Fforde ever wrote, but it was rejected for presumably being too strange. Well, it's not terribly surprising -- this detective story includes aliens, gods, genetic freaks, and three piglets who cold-bloodedly murder a wolf. And the beautiful plumage of a Norwegian blue.

It seems a lot like your average detective story, except these sleuths gain fame by selling their stories, and do autopsies on eggs ("They can't be certain, as so much of Humpty's albumen was washed away"). He cleverly weaves in various seemingly unimportant plot threads into the central conspiracy, right up to the solid climax.

Fforde writes it out in a straight-faced manner, no matter how absurd it gets -- in one scene Prometheus insists, "I was certainly NEVER in love with Asia. As I recall, she was myopic and couldn't pronounce her Rs." That doesn't mean he doesn't make it funny -- there are "realistic" versions of nursery rhymes and folktales, and a lot of terrible puns ("That's one seriously pickled egg").

Jack (who occupies the Sprat, Giant-Killer and Beanstalk roles) is a likable guy -- an underdog whose department is about to be disbanded, and whose reputation is laughable. But we also see him as a loving family man and dedicated cop, who just has bad luck. Mary starts off rather unsympathetic, but gradually we start to like her as she starts to like Spratt.

"The Big Over Easy" is a somewhat looser, more straightforward story than Fforde's other work, but it's still an entertaining, humorous detective story. And just what is the Sacred Gonga?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sam Spade and the case of the sat-upon tuffet, 18 Jan 2006
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
Done with the Thursday next novels for now, Jasper Fforde has given us a brand new world (or has he?) with The Big Over Easy, a noir-like detective thriller set in a world where nursery rhymes are considered part of reality, where Humpty Dumpty can have a great fall and the police will actually look into it, and where Humpty is a notorious womanizer to boot. While Fforde makes a valiant attempt, the book isn't quite as funny as it could be, but thankfully the story is interesting enough by itself that I can forgive it those little foibles.
Jack Spratt, Detective Inspector of the Nursery Crime Division (and killer of four giants, though only one of them was *technically* a giant, and he was absolved of all blame), has a mind-boggling case on his hands as the good egg Humpty Dumpty has fallen off his wall and died. Suicide is the first conclusion made by everybody, as he was depressed, seeking therapy, and acting very strangely. However, it wouldn't be a murder mystery if there wasn't a murder now, would it? Unfortunately for Jack, his superiors would like any excuse to shut down the Nursery Crimes Division, he's saddled with an assistant, Mary Mary (who insists that she's *not* contrary, thank you very much) who doesn't want to be there and who has dreams of becoming the assistant of the most popular Detective Inspector in the Reading Police Force, Friedland Chymes. Will Mary betray the case in order to get her position? And will Jack be able to figure out who murdered the egg without getting yolk on his face? And what's with those beans that he received in exchange for his mother's picture?
The Big Over Easy does a wonderful job of combining the mood of the typical detective novel and the world of nursery rhymes, with everybody taking them completely seriously. I loved the extrapolation Fforde makes for these characters, with Wee Willie Winkie having narcolepsy and Humpty being a philanderer as well as a philanthropist. Jack is just getting off of a case where he tried to pin murder charges on the three little pigs, saying their killing of the Big Bad Wolf was premeditated because it took them at least six hours to get the pot of water boiling. These sorts of flights of fancy are what really make the book, and I couldn't resist a chuckle or two.
I also liked the nods to mysteries, and how detectives gain more prestige by being written up in detective magazines, though it doesn't say much for the justice system that the jury bases a large part of its verdict on how famous the detective is. The mystery part of the book even has a wink to Agatha Christie in it, which was really nice. Fforde succeeds in making the characters come off the page in interesting fashion, making us care about how downtrodden Jack feels, the elation when he gets one over on Chymes, and the feeling that Chymes will be back next book and not very happy. How Mary is torn between her growing respect for Jack and her ambition to become Chymes assistant. Even the minor characters have their moments, and are interesting to read about when they're on the page.
This is a good thing, because as much as I'm sure I was supposed to, I just didn't laugh that much while reading this book. I had a chuckle or two, I was amused at times, and a couple of the chapter headings made me laugh out loud (like how the "Locked Room Mystery" has been laid to rest, but then it was found to have been murdered). Each chapter begins with a snippet from a newspaper account of something, often having something to do with the chapter it is in, but other times just being there for amusement's sake. These were often quite good (and as I said, occasionally made me laugh), but they did start to sound the same after a while. I found the idea that the ending centers around amusing, but the actual ending itself I thought dragged on a bit and lost its humour value very quickly.
Fforde doesn't really tie this book into the Thursday Next series, with the only reference being the aging starlet Lola Vavoom, so I hope this means that they aren't part of the same series. The change in venue really seems to have revived his creative juices, as there is a lot of neat stuff in The Big Over Easy Every time I thought of something that defeats the internal logic of this world, Fforde would offer up something that makes everything fit. His vivid imagination is what kept the Next series going, and I see that it will continue with Jack's series. That's a good sign. If Fforde can make the next book funnier without slipping into absurdity, then he will have a wonderful series on his hands. Jasper (if I can call you Jasper), you already have me interested in the characters. Make me laugh, and you'll have another sale.
David Roy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adams, Pratchett, and now Fford, 14 Feb 2007
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
I picked this up on the off-chance in Ottakars, when it was on special. This is how I like to try out writers that are new to me. Buy 'em cheap and then it doesn't matter if (as is so often the case) they end up in the secondhand-bookshop.

If only more of them had fulfilled their promise as this did. I really wasn't entirely clear on what I was getting, (that happens to me sometimes - I thought 'The Mummy' was a horror film!) but I'm so very glad I got it.

What Adams did for Sci-Fi and Pratchett is doing for Fantasy, so now Fford s doing for the 'tec novel. This amazing imagination give us a story in which Humpty-Dumpty, noted intellectual, womaniser and law-bender,is found dead at the bottom of a wall. It looks like suicide, but is it? Enter Jack Spratt hard-working, family-man detective with the Nursery Crimes Division.

Few things, even those I love actually make me laugh out loud, but this managed it on several occasions. If you like off-the-wall, bizarre or just plain silly, buy this.Then buy the rest of his books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CSI meets Shrek... it shouldn't work, but it does!, 27 Jun 2009
By 
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
A surreal book following DS Mary Mary and DI Jack Spratt in their investigations of the suspicious death of troubled egg Humperdinck 'Humpty' Van Dumpty. They work in the ailing Nursery Crime Division of the Oxford and Reading police force, a laughing stock to other officers. Now they must solve this eggy crime to keep the division from being disbanded and the sickeningly charming Friedland Chymes from taking all the glory yet again.

It sounds mad, and the strange appearance of nursery characters and aliens alongside the human characters does take a few chapters to get used to, but the strange thing is... this really works! It's like a combination of Shrek and CSI - a real murder mystery but with an intelligent and amusing strand of fairytale mockery woven through the whole thing. The three pigs have just been found not guilty of the murder of Mr Wolff (boiled to death when he came down their chimney), and an alien called Ashley (like us but blue) is working in the NCD trying to adjust to his strange human colleagues.

It's funny, it's very clever, and it's well worth a read. I'm looking forward to the Thursday Next novels now!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Good Read!, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Matt (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
Jasper Fforde is one of those authors I am extremely happy to have stumbled upon as I would never have found his books in a million years otherwise. A handy "3 for 2" offer at a high street book store soon sorted that out though!

The Big Over Easy is the first in a series of books by Fforde based around Reading's Nurcery Crime Division. The NCD is headed up by Detective Inspector Jack Spratt (with two t's) and it is their job to take care of any crimes involving nursery rhyme characters (who seem to frequent Reading). The department is laughably underfunded and understaffed and seen, by pretty much everyone else in the police force, as a bit of a joke.

This book centres around the investigation into the murder of Humpty Dumpty who was found in pieces at the bottom of a wall one night. Joined on the case by Detective Sergent Mary Mary, Jack Spratt follows the clues and leads while encountering other nursery characters and getting more and more baffled.

The book is wonderfully silly and had be laughing out loud many times, even when I re-read it oh holiday this year. A great book that's easy to read, I'd recommend this to anyone with a sense of humour.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do you like your eggs?, 21 July 2006
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A step away from Thursday Next for Jasper Fforde but don't think for a moment we are stepping away from the weirdness that seems to encompass Reading, for that Berkshire town so beloved for its proximity to the M4 (amongst other things) is the setting that Jack Spratt (yes the one that could eat no lean) and his young and ambition new DS Mary Mary (god I hate writing two words the same when using Word) find themselves in when a giant egg is cracked...

Well let's clarify here; the giant egg isn't one you can buy down Sainsbury's, this giant egg is in fact non other than the known criminal, philanthropist and womaniser - Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III (better known as Humpty Dumpty). Once the thousands of pieces are found the case naturally falls to Jack for he is the head of the fiercely names NCD, or the less fiercely named Nursery Crime Division depending on your point of view. A division taken about as seriously as one would expect it to be taken in our world and one that has the ominous distinction of employing an alien, a hypochondriac and Gretel (from Hansel &).

Jack is under fire from all sides; his daughter is enamoured with his new lodge - Prometheus, he is trying (well frankly failing) to get into the Detectives Guild, his department is facing closure and his arch rival Friedland Chymes is still swanning around the Reading police station as if he owns the place. Which he pretty much does.

Jack as a character I found really well written, especially when you compare him to say Chymes, whom I felt was a deliberately woodenly written character that so befitted his persona in the book. This to me is the genius of it all that this kind writing style can be consciously written into story! The partnership between Jack and Mary is one that grows slowly (again well written) and by the end of the book I really found myself looking forward to the next in the series of these two.

Jasper Fforde's novel is a step away from Thursday Next as I said but I don't feel it is a step away in quality, it suffers from not explaining some of the "in" jokes and I felt the ending was just one (pigeon) step too far - which accounts for the lack of 5 stars - but it is still a truly excellent book and one that not only fans of the author will enjoy but those of you who haven't read any of his offering. Breathtakingly funny stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, 8 Nov 2009
By 
I enjoyed reading this book and moving away from the Thursday Next series has definitely added some more life to this rather odd universe. Unfortunately this book has some pretty severe flaws which prevent it actually being 'good'. The biggest problem is that he's trying to parody something and in doing so causes exactly the same problems as are present in the original format. In this case he's trying to point out that all lead detectives are eccentrically interesting characters by making his lead detective average and dull (much the same as Thursday Next was). Also while most of the book is well paced and interesting the end came across as very quick with several dramatic moments thrown in just to make dramatic moments. The other problem with Fforde's novels is that I never feel he's got as good a handle on his universe as Pratchett or Holt have, that it's always one step away from completely disintegrating. For all that it's a good summer read, so long as you're not expecting anything outstanding.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and fabulous, 24 July 2007
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes) (Paperback)
I read the Thursday Next books a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed the crazyness of them. Having missed what was happening with JF for a period of time, I discovered this new series of Nursery Crime Fiction, and it does not disappoint. 'The Big Over Easy' is the first book, with 'The Fourth Bear' following on (just reading this now).
'..Over Easy' is highly enjoyable, introducing us to Jack Spratt and Mary Mary who are investigating the murder of Humpty or Hump to his many admirers! I won't reveal any more plot but the novel is funny, entertaining, and also a good whodunnit, with many nursery rhyme references, as well as other references, such as Greek mythology when Prometheus turns up. Well worth it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb0b90a50)

This product

The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes)
5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews