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review 2018-10-13 02:49
Thoughts: The Big Over Easy
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde

The Big Over Easy

by Jasper Fforde
Book 1 of Nursery Crimes



It's Easter in Reading—a bad time for eggs—and no one can remember the last sunny day.  Ovoid D-class nursery celebrity Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III, minor baronet, ex-convict, and former millionaire philanthropist, is found shattered to death beneath a wall in a shabby area of town.  All the evidence points to his ex-wife, who has conveniently shot herself.

But Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his assistant Mary Mary remain unconvinced, a sentiment not shared with their superiors at the Reading Police Department, who are still smarting over their failure to convict the Three Pigs of murdering Mr. Wolff.  Before long Jack and Mary find themselves grappling with a sinister plot involving cross-border money laundering, bullion smuggling, problems with beanstalks, titans seeking asylum, and the cut and thrust world of international chiropody.

And on top of all that, the JellyMan is coming to town . . .

This book just sucks you right in.  And I'm entirely sorry that I'd set it aside in my attempts to get some other books finished, because I should have just kept reading.  I most definitely would have finished it a lot earlier.

Slow paced as it is, it's also a lot of fun to read, and the investigation kind of intriguing to follow, even though Jack is the worst at jumping to conclusions before gathering all his facts.  He's a great detective and all, you can see that, but I had to sigh at each time he came up with his conclusion about how Humpty Dumpty died, but then a new piece of evidence would embarrassingly make him eat his words--especially since each time he would be announcing his conclusions confidently to his boss.  Granted, it's great that he readily continues on with the investigative flow once he finds out that there's more to the story than he'd thought, though.

Did anyone else get a sense of dramatic cliff-hanger after the end of each chapter when a new reveal was announced?  The dialogue felt kind of dramatic, and I kept imagining the "Dun Dun DUNNN!" music in my head.


I know the cards actually say "Dum Dum Dummm!" but I still love this gif.

Just me?  Okay...  Moving along...

The book itself was really just addictive and delightful, even if there are references dropped left and right about things you don't quite understand; but for the narration, seems perfectly natural to hear in everyday conversation, like how Rambosian's only speak in binary.  Or how Prometheus can speak toddler gibberish, but not infant gibberish, or something like that.  It's extremely silly some of the things that are narrated, but at the same time, in a way makes perfect sense.

I wish that some of the characters DID stand out a little bit more, but I feel like the book was so focused on introducing the world of the Nursery Crimes that it kind of sacrifices some character development.  Specifically, Mary Mary's revelation somewhere at midpoint in the book felt like it should have been a bit more life-affirming... but we just kind of move on and so does she.

And the issue about Arnold is never really addressed, so I'm lead to believe that this might be a running gag throughout the series (what's left of it, anyway, since there's only one other book, and a third supposedly in the works).

On a side note, I was very amused by the references to Jack being a giant killer, then the scene where he has his mother's painting of a cow exchanged for magical beans just hit the spot.  Especially when we give the scene more of an art fraud spin.

Meanwhile, I found myself enjoying the dynamics between the Nursery Crime Division, and liking the camaraderie between Jack and his crew.  I'm also quite happy with the fact that Jack's personal life is depicted in such a healthy way, with a loving wife, great kids, and a basically stable relationship with all of them.  I'm sure tense family relations are the "thing" now-a-days in a lot of books, but I like that Jack's wasn't angst-ridden.

The incorporation of all things nursery rhymes, fairy tales, mythologies, etc, was done quite cleverly, and worked really well to add to the Nursery Crime world as well as this book's plot, in general.  And I also kind of liked the short newspaper articles at the beginning of each chapter... except when we got closer to the end and I just wanted to know how everything turns out... which, that twist at the very end of the book was interestingly... unexpected.

I would have liked to see more of a comeuppance for Friedland Chymes... but I suppose not everything has to be rounded out.

I will definitely be going onto the next book in this series, and just as well, will check out more of Jasper Fforde's work, having seen and heard a lot of great things about his Thursday Next series.




Halloween Bingo 2018
(mystery with noir elements including authors like James Ellroy, Ian Rankin, anything that falls generally under the category of Nordic Noir, Tartan Noir, Granite Noir, etc.)


Other Possible Squares:  A Grimm Tale; Murder Most Foul


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/thoughts-big-over-easy.html
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text 2018-10-08 02:30
Random Reading Updates: The Big Over Easy
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde

The Big Over Easy

by Jasper Fforde
Book 1 of Nursery Crimes

**Any subsequent updates I decide to make will be added to the top of each new re-post.**


Halloween Bingo 2018



Progress on 10/7/2018:  115 of 383 pages (30%)

First there was The Strand, the original magazine for which Dr. Watson so painstakingly penned all Holmes adventures.  Following Sherlock's retirement The Strand went through a sticky patch and was relaunched in 1931 under the title True Detection Monthly and featured Guild of Detectives stalwart Hercule Porridge and newcomer Miss Maple.  The summer of 1936 saw both these characters abscond to the newly formed Real Detective Magazine.  Lord Peter Flimsey and Father Broom, however, favored Extraordinary Detecting Feats, which folded after two issues, to be replaced by Sleuth Illustrated.  The end of the "golden era" saw a shaking up of the true-crime franchise, and Real Detective, Astounding Police, Remarkable Crime, and Popular Sleuthing merged into  Amazing Crime Stories, which is now regarded as the world leader in true-crime adventure.

hehe  This book is turning out quite addictive, though I must admit that it's taking a little more time to pick up than I was hoping.  Of course, the investigation is going forward.  And I can see why we need to spend so much time sort of "introducing" the world, since a lot of it is quite hard to keep up with.

As far as I can tell, it's not how well you solve a criminal case, but how much sensational story-telling value the case has that's the breadwinner for each detective.

I'm also suspecting some inter-office corruption or some sort of conspiracy going on that may or may not involve the over-arrogant DCI Chymes... but that's just my interpretation.  Poor Jack Spratt will have to watch his back for the time being, I fear.



Progress on 9/8/2018:  5 of 383 pages (1%)

Briggs drummed his fingers on the desk for a moment.

"Do you want to hear me play the trombone?"

"Might it be prejudicial to my career if I were to refuse?"

"It's a distinct possibility."

"Then I'd be delighted."

Okay, so call me immature, but for some reason, after reading this passage, the first thing I thought about was, "Wow, that escalated fast!"

Okay, so maybe my mind was in the gutter, and maybe I somehow connected trombone with some strange... euphemism... for other things.  After all, Mary Mary is interviewing for a new position with Briggs as her superior... and the whole trombone thing just kind of came out of nowhere.  O.o

Anyway, don't mind me.  Moving right along.

This is my first foray into Jasper Fforde, and I've heard and read a lot of great things about his Thursday Next books, of which are also on my TBR for some day.  So I'm kind of glad that this book was listed as an approved suggestion in the Halloween Bingo 2018 - Modern Noir reading list!  While I'm not very familiar with the 'noir' genre, I'm also not sure I was up for hardcore 'noir,' especially reading about what kinds of elements populate it.  And also because I might be remembering the chaos that was our 2017 Halloween Bingo buddy read for Classic Noir.

Anyway, off I go, starting a whole new book before finishing the other three!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/random-reading-updates-big-over-easy.html
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review 2018-10-02 01:30
The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crimes, #2)
The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde

What can ever be said about a Jasper Fforde book that would make sense to anyone that hasn't read one?  This is the second in what is, so far, a two book series about what crime would look like if Nursery Characters lived in the real world.  Jack Spratt, the head of the Nursery Crimes Division, investigates several seemingly unrelated crimes:  Porridge smuggling, a missing Goldilocks, the escape of the Gingerbread man, and his new car that never ages, with a painting in the boot that does.  All while fighting suspension based on a pending psych evaluation after being swallowed by the Big Bad Wolf.


It's not all Mother Goose either, side characters include Spratt's daughter Pandora and her soon to be husband, Prometheus and at least one character from Shakespeare.  Oh, and an alien.  Because, why not?


In spite of sounding (and mostly being) silly, it's not an easy/breezy book to read.  There are layers in the writing and the jokes and the references that are easy to miss.  There's a subtle - very subtle - disregard for the fourth wall, where the characters not only recognise they're in a book (a la Thursday Next), but will make subtle reference to the author and the reader.  So not only is it a book where the overload of satire is best enjoyed in small doses, but one that if carefully read will give more humorous dividends than a quick read would.


Generally it's just a hell of a lot of fun to read.  The puns get punnier towards the end and there was at least one *snort*chuckle in the last 30%.  It might have been it was late and I was tired, but 


cuculear power 

(spoiler show)


made me laugh.


I read this for the Modern Noir square in Halloween Bingo.  It's a gimme for the Grimm Tale square, but I've already read that terrible retelling of Snow White and it's not going to have been for nothing, and Spratt's attitude and methods are definitely noir-ish.

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text 2018-09-26 00:51
Halloween Bingo 2018 - New Release
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde

Oh but it was good to dive back into Fforde's skewed way of looking at the world.


As with Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, I find it difficult to review his books because they are just delightfully bonkers and hard to explain. But if you're already a fan of his stuff then you'll probably enjoy this one too. (I guarantee you'll enjoy it more than endless episodes of Crossroads.)



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text 2018-09-24 00:59
Halloween Bingo 2018 - New Release
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream? 


It's like Inception but with Tunnock's Teacakes 




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