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The Big Over Easy is the first in the Nursery Crime series by Jasper Fforde and, while it was not published until 2005, it was actually written in 1994, well before his highly successful Thursday Next series. It is a reworking of his first written novel which was initially titled “Who Killed Humpty Dumpty”, and is set in a similar alternative universe to the Thursday Next novels; the main characters, DI Jack Spratt, DS Mary Mary, Dr. Gladys Singh and others appear in “The Well of Lost Plots”.
With each Jasper Fforde book, I look forward to the smorgasbord of hilarious, occasionally ludicrous names that Fforde’s rich imagination throws up: journalists Joshua Hatchett, Archibald Fatquack, Hector Sleaze and Clifford Sensible; detectives Inspector Moose, Hercule Porridge and Miss Maple from St Michael Mead; Giorgio Porgia, William Winkie, Tom Thomm (the flautist’s son), Incomprehensible Greene (landscaper), Seymour Weevil, DCI Bestbeloved, Mr & Mrs Sittkomm. Winsum & Loosum Pharmaceuticals, and Spongg footcare. Fforde also treats the reader to occasional gems like: “She opened the door…..letting out a stream of cats that ran around with such rapidity and randomness of motion that they assumed a liquid state of furry purringness.” I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to the second in this series, The Fourth Bear.