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The Big Over Easy Audio CD – Aug 1 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Aug 1 2005
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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

--This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Chivers Sound Library; Unabridged edition (Aug. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792737016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792737018
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 4 x 16.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
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Product Description


'Continuing to ransack British fiction, Jasper Fforde here mixes nursery rhymes with golden age detective fiction to produce something very accomplished indeed'―Guardian

Consistently clever―Publishers Weekly

A riot of puns, in-jokes and literary allusions that Fforde carries off with aplomb―Daily Mail

Very accomplished indeed.―Guardian

Now humour is notoriously subjective so what I've just described might just sound plain daft to you. But I love it. THE BIG OVER EASY is great not just because it's very funny but also because it works properly as a whodunnit. Comic genius.―Observer,Peter Guttridge

I love it. THE BIG OVER EASY is great not just because it's very funny...but also because it works properly as a whodunit...Comic genius.―Observer

'A triumphant lampoon of the whodunnit genre . . . Fforde manages to cram in more jokes per page than before, and the relish with which he takes to his subject is infectious'―Herald

A riot of puns, in-jokes and literary allusions that Fforde carries off with aplomb―Daily Mail

'This is the first of best-selling Fforde's hilarious, absurd and utterly compelling new series'―Daily Mirror

'Fforde offers a cascade of puns, plays on words, surrealism, satire and verbal virtuosity...Astonishing, he is funny for 400 pages'―The Times

'The first of best-selling Fforde's hilarious, absurd and utterly compelling new series'―Mirror

'The combination of fantasy and a (more or less) classic murder . . . makes a wild and enjoyable change'―Sunday Telegraph

'The combination of fantasy and a (more or less) classic murder . . . makes a wild and enjoyable change'―Sunday Telegraph

'More twists and turns than Christie ... embellished with the rich details of a Dickens or Pratchett. A real treat.'―Independent

'Fforde's books are more than an ingenious idea. They are written with buoyant zest and tautly plotted. They have empathetic heroes and heroines who nearly make terrible mistakes and suitably dastardly villains who do. They also have more twists and turns than Christie, and are embellished with the rich detail of a Dickens or Pratchett . . . A summertime treat'―The Independent

'Fforde offers a cascade of puns, plays on words, surrealism, satire and verbal virtuosity based on children's rhymes and stories. Astonishingly, he stays funny for 400 pages . . . Even more amazingly, there's a real plot there, a proper mystery with a surprise solution'―The Times

'Fforde is a master entertainer, and a wordsmith of dexterous genius.'―Scotsman

'A book that should be more accessible to newcomers . . . Fforde may be an acquired taste, but it's worth acquiring'―SFX --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring out of the window and sucking the end of a pencil. He lives and works in Wales and has a passion for aviation. --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on July 15 2006
Format: Paperback
Warning: This book is not about Thursday Next. If that's what you are looking for, consider instead The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten (if you've missed on of the marvelous books in this series).

Jack Spratt Investigates the Big over Easy is a book that many will rate at less than five stars because they are pining for a Thursday Next book. But to be fair, I think we have to look at this book as though we had never read any of the Thursday Next series.

From that perspective, I thought that Jack Spratt Investigates the Big over Easy was a hilarious satire of the detective genre, reporters and police. I cannot think of a satire of those subjects I've enjoyed more.

The basic story is misleadingly simple. Jack Spratt is on his second marriage (the one to his wife who eat no lean didn't last because of her diet) . . . but still stuck in a rut in his career as head of the lowly Nursery Crime Division. Even that occupation is in jeopardy when Spratt fails to help gain a conviction of the three little pigs in the death of one wolf.

When Humpty Dumpty shows up in piece at the base of a wall, Jack's career may be about to go to pieces as well. Because of Humpty's notoriety, compulsive publicity hound (and former colleague) Friedland Chymes decides he wants the case. With never-ending intrigue all around him, Jack takes an inevitable walk through nursery tales that will seem both different and eerily familiar.

Keep your tongue firmly in your check . . . and giggle on! It's an unrestrained romp.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 6 2007
Format: 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 157 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Jack Spratt understands it all May 17 2016
By xx - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime Hardcover – July 25, 2005
by Jasper Fforde - Police officer Mary Mary get a new career by joining the NCD (Nursery Crime Division) where Jack Spratt is the head. By joining NCD she will get involved in crimes committed by individuals from all kinds of nursery rhymes. They do exist, you know.
In this book you`ll meet Humpty Dumpty, or more exact his dead shells. What start as a possible accident/suicide soon begin to look very suspicious with too many question marks. There is an ex wife, ex girlfriends, gold, a totally insane doctor at St. Cerebellum`s, titans and a beanstalk. There is Lola Vavoom the former moviestar and there is the Goring Foot Museum. There is so much more, like threads connecting over the pages like a knot being untied in the end, just in time for the holy highness the Jellyman to visit Reading.
The book is a typical Jasper Fforde. His remarkable sense of total craziness woven together with some feeling of an 50s detective novel - mixed with humor and all those little figures we know from nursery rhymes. Just we didn`t know what crooks they really are!
Jasper Fforde always catch my interest from the very first page. that`s what he does. And then you just don`t want to be disturbed before you`ve read the whole book. That`s the Fforde-mania.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Fforde's marvelous little gem. June 6 2008
By Sean Curley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jasper Fforde made his name in the literary world with his very popular "Thursday Next" series of books following the eponymous heroine on a series of fantastically convoluted adventures in the world of metafiction. There are some connections between the characters in this novel and characters who appeared as minor figures in one of the "Thursday Next" books, but the "Nursery Crime" series is a distinct animal, albeit though it plays with many of the same metafictional themes. "The Big Over Easy", the first entry in the new series, is a wonderful little book.

The basic story follows Jack Spratt, the head of Reading's Nursery Crime Division (NCD), who has worked for decades in what is considered a career dead-end (one step above the Ministry of Magic's Centaur Office, if you will), handling criminal acts involving nursery rhyme characters (he himself is one, though he doesn't know it, combining Jack Spratt, Jack the Giant-Killer, and Jack and the Beanstalk). He is joined by Mary Mary, a young Detective Sergeant who despairs at being put in the NCD, and really wants to work with Friedland Chymes, the celebrity detective whose adventures she grew up avidly following. The rest of the NCD crew includes a rookie assigned there for two months and then forgotten about, a hypochondriac, and an alien (yes, aliens have arrived, and, as documented in one of the fake newspaper clips included at the start of each chapter, were determined to not be very interesting). The case: the apparent slaying of Humpty Dumpty. The list of suspects is byzantine, and the plot has more contortions than the Gordian Knot, dragging in as incidental figures, among others, Prometheus the Fire-Bringer of Greek myth: he ends up renting a room in Jack's house and romancing his daughter Pandora (despite the 3980-year age difference).

The plot is ultimately not that important; Fforde wittily simultanteously employs and satirizes the various tropes of the genre (identical twins, red herrings, culprits who are only introduced toward the end), and the real fun of the book is in the numerous details (though the final resolution is quite fun; the sheer number of plots going on is itself a sort of parody of the standard detective story). Fforde has a dry, very British sense of humour in the vein of Monty Python and such. His depictions of the novel's world are endlessly entertaining; the book is marvelous fun to read. Each chapter begins with a quote from various in-universe sources, mainly newspapers, highlighting and parodying various fictional tropes. The other major theme in the book is Fforde's exploration of the idea of the celebrity detective; Watson loyally documented and published Holmes' exploits, but here we see this concept run amok: publictation has become as, if not more, important than actuall solving the case for many detectives, Chymes most of all. They actively conduct their investigations in order to make them readable and dramatically interesting.

Highly recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever concept that ultimately stumbles in the execution July 20 2007
By Mr. Joe - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With his Thursday Next series, Jasper Fforde demonstrated to the world's readers that he possesses a remarkably fertile and ingenious imagination capable of delighting even such a linear thinker as me. In the Next world, it's a more or less contemporary UK, but one crazily askew from the one we know; 249 wooly mammoths in 9 herds roam the island, dodo birds are kept as pets, Tunbridge Wells has been ceded to Russia in Crimean War reparations, and there's a duty on custard.

In THE BIG OVER EASY, first of the Nursery Crime series, it's still apparently Thursday's England because her first literary adventure, The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel, has been turned into a film. However, in this fantasy novel, the hero isn't Thursday but Detective Inspector Jack Spratt, chief investigator of the beleaguered Nursery Crime Division of the Reading Police Department. Jack labors under a cloud; his arrest of the Three Pigs for the murder of the Big Bad Wolf failed to result in their conviction, and Spratt has the undeserved reputation as a Giant Killer. As he constantly takes great pains to explain to hecklers, there was only one true giant, the other three were just "tall".

Jack's time on the clock is currently monopolized with the investigation into Humpty-Dumpty's apparent murder off Grimm's Road as he sat on a wall. His new assistant is Detective Sergeant Mary Mary, recently transferred from Basingstoke. In the meantime, everyday life goes on; Little Bo-peep continues to report lost sheep, there's the occasional malicious rumor that the sky is falling, pied pipers are wont to arrive in town promoting pest eradication scams, "nail flavor" instant soup is all the rage, aliens continue to deny that they're abducting anybody, the Titan Prometheus, having escaped the shackles binding him to a rock in the Caucasus, is renting an extra room in the Spratt family abode, and Jack's Mom is amazed at the size of the beanstalk growing next to the potting shed.

Fforde has his protagonist take the murder enquiry seriously because, in Spratt's world, it's deadly serious business. As are Spratt's frustrated professional ambition, his backstabbing more famous rival, Detective Chief Inspector Friedland Chymes, and Jack's skirmish with the Independent Police Complaints Commission over the dismal Three Pigs affair. Not to mention the fact that Spratt suspects that Prometheus is seducing his 20-year old daughter, Pandora. Yet, it's the other-worldly eccentricity of the milieu that's certain to provide the reader with certain, if perhaps inconsistent, giddy pleasures. Indeed, Fforde works up such a froth of absurdity that the conclusion to THE BIG OVER EASY seemed, to this reader, especially contrived. It's almost as if the author had backed himself into a plot corner and had to take desperate measures to extricate himself and the book to get the latter off to the publisher in time. For that, I'm knocking off a star. But it won't stop me from ordering and relishing the next volume in the series, The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fforde is ffantastic Feb. 9 2007
By G Edward B - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
and this installment, which I'd recommend between "The Well of Lost Plots" and "Something Rotten", after reading "The Fourth Bear", is just delightful. While it is a departure from the Tuesday Next storyline, it is not entirely divorced from it (an amusing link holds them together) either.

If you have enjoyed the Tuesday Next stories, please don't pass on these Nursery Crime Division entries. They are equally well done.

Then go on to "Something Rotten" and the upcoming July 2007 Tuesday Next story (title unknown at this time). You won't be disappointed.

Mr. Fforde has a genius for comedic alternative landscape (not sci fi, not fantasy as such, not mystery, although there usually are several to hand, but perhaps a category of his own), and it is rich in humor, pathos and puns, and depends heavily on history having shifted dramatically at some undetermined point, perhaps several times.

I've seen people's requests (and felt the urge myself) for recommendations of other authors similar to Mr. Fforde and I have dutifully read at least one of each suggested author, but sorry, I can't agree. Rankin? Adams? I don't see it. Maybe a bizarre hybrid of Tom Robbins and Christopher Moore, but, well, better and more likely to engage a larger audience?

I guess.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Jasper Fforde June 25 2016
By Jeanette Shelby - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found Jasper Fforde when The Last Dragonslayer was recommended to me by my local librarian! And I have been reading everything that I can get my hands on now by him. Funny and entertaining!