What if fairy tale characters were real seems to be the in vogue concept at the moment with the graphic novel series ‘Fables’ and the TV series ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘Grimm’. Jasper Fforde in this book takes this theme and gives it a different twist, rather than fairy tale characters, how about nursery rhyme characters. And so in this gripping whodunnit we find the likes of the Three Pigs, the Gingerbreadman and Humpty Dumpty, that latter who is found at the bottom of a wall, dead. My favourite is the mafia-esque Giorgio Porgia (try converting that from an Italian sounding name to an English one if you’re not sure who it is straight away). Inspired.
Seeing as this is a world based on stories, it isn’t surprising that it’s inhabitants value a good yarn over boring truth, and so DI Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division doesn’t just have the criminals to tackle, but those, including his investigative nemesis, who would prefer a resolution to an investigation that makes a good read, rather than one that actually nabs the right man/creature.
This is a cracking read, full of clever ideas and funny lines from the start to the finish. It’s full of life and invention. Absolutely loved it! There are some wonderful characters, and the language is spot on. A special note must be made of the quotes at the start of each chapter – it’s worth reading just for them. Was especially delighted to find reference to Goring, a little town outside Reading where the book is set, where friends of ours live and one of our churches is based – wil mean nothing to others, but tickled me.
This is my first Fforde novel and won’t be my last.