The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime Series #2) by Jasper Fforde | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime Series #2)

The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime Series #2)

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by Jasper Fforde
     
 

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The inimitable Jasper Fforde gives readers another delightful mash-up of detective fiction and nursery rhyme, returning to those mean streets where no character is innocent. The Gingerbreadman—sadist, psychopath, cookie—is on the loose in Reading, but that’s not who Detective Jack Spratt and Sergeant Mary Mary are after. Instead, they’ve

Overview

The inimitable Jasper Fforde gives readers another delightful mash-up of detective fiction and nursery rhyme, returning to those mean streets where no character is innocent. The Gingerbreadman—sadist, psychopath, cookie—is on the loose in Reading, but that’s not who Detective Jack Spratt and Sergeant Mary Mary are after. Instead, they’ve been demoted to searching for missing journalist “Goldy” Hatchett. The last witnesses to see her alive were the reclusive Three Bears, and right away Spratt senses something furry—uh, funny—about their story, starting with the porridge. The Fourth Bear is a delirious new romp from our most irrepressible fabulist.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Detective Chief Inspector Jack Spratt and his trusty sergeant, Mary Mary, are back in another sidesplitting Nursery Crime adventure from Jasper Fforde: the sequel to 2005's The Big Over Easy. In The Fourth Bear, Spratt must track down a legendarily violent criminal known as the Gingerbreadman, a "seven-foot biscuit with a bad attitude."

After successfully apprehending the infamous Great Long Red-Legg'd Scissor-man, who cuts the digits off children who suck their thumbs, Spratt is inexplicably forced to take a leave of absence while a medical review board assesses his competency. With Mary Mary working as the acting head of the Nursery Crime Division -- and Spratt as her "consultant" -- the misfit members of the NCD are faced with two very different cases: to help track down the deranged Gingerbreadman, who has just escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane, and to find Henrietta "Goldilocks" Hatchett, an investigative reporter who mysteriously disappeared while working on a story about prizewinning pickles. The last to see her alive: a family of three bears who have recently experienced strange porridge problems…

Fans of authors who specialize in outlandish, absurdist fiction -- Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, et al. -- will absolutely devour Fforde's Nursery Crime novels. If the essences of Monty Python's Flying Circus and Mother Goose were blended together, Fforde's Nursery Crime saga would be the result. Readers should be warned, however, that after reading The Fourth Bear, they will never look at porridge the same way again… Paul Goat Allen
The New York Times
Jasper Fforde is able to write diabolically.... Outrageous satirical agility is his stock in trade.
The Wall Street Journal
Mr. Fforde manages to bombard the reader with more bizarre detail than most writers would dare to fit in their entire oeuvre, yet he does so with ... light prose and easy, confident wit.
The Washington Times
Like the creators of ... The Simpsons and South Park, Mr. Fforde uses fantasy to dissect real life.... He is our best thinking person's genre writer.
Publishers Weekly
Like The Big Over Easy (2005), Fforde's first Nursery Crime novel, this sequel offers literary allusions, confusions and gentle satire, though, again like its predecessor, it lacks the snap of the author's Thursday Next series (The Eyre Affair, etc.). Jack Spratt, DCI of the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading Police Department, is also a PDR (Person of Dubious Reality), as are most of the characters Jack deals with, including the Gingerbreadman, a notorious killer, and Punch and Judy, a violence prone couple who are also marriage counselors. An alien policeman named Ashley, talking bears, a devoted group of cucumber-growing enthusiasts and an immensely powerful company, Quang Tech, add spice. All are grist for Fforde, whose word play runs the gamut from puns to shaggy dog stories. The Gingerbreadman's on the loose, Goldilocks is missing and Jack's once again persona non grata at headquarters. As Jack and his associates "bring justice to the nursery world," they also cast a Swiftian eye on corporate hubris, race relations, the drug trade and myriad other targets. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Detective Chief Inspector Jack Spratt, head of Readings Nursery Crime Division, is back on the case in this sequel to The Big Over Easy. Once again, Spratt is hampered by division politics and his failure to prevent the Big Bad Wolf from swallowing Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Busted down to Missing Persons, Spratt and Constable Mary Mary are officially shut out of the hunt for the murderous Gingerbread Man, but their paths keep crossing during an investigation into the disappearance of reporter Henrietta "Goldilocks" Hatchett. Meanwhile, Jack struggles with telling his wife the truth about his past, and Mary contemplates dating an alien. With an allusion, pun, or joke on every page, Fforde continues his skewering of detective fiction conventions and nursery rhymes in this world where Punch and Judy are marriage counselors and Dorian Gray is a used car salesman. Fourth Bear has less backstory than the previous novel, but anyone acquainted with Fforde's Thursday Next series will easily catch up and enjoy the ride. Great fun for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/06.]-Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Jasper Fforde is able to write diabolically. . . . Outrageous satirical agility is his stock in trade. (The New York Times)

Like the creators of . . . The Simpsons and South Park, Mr. Fforde uses fantasy to dissect real life. . . . He is our best thinking person's genre writer. (The Washington Times)

Mr. Fforde manages to bombard the reader with more bizarre detail than most writers would dare to fit in their entire oeuvre, yet he does so with . . . light prose and easy, confident wit. (The Wall Street Journal)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786290017
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
10/18/2006
Series:
Nursery Crime Series, #2
Pages:
573
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.48(h) x 1.17(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Jasper Fforde is able to write diabolically. . . . Outrageous satirical agility is his stock in trade. (The New York Times)

Like the creators of . . . The Simpsons and South Park, Mr. Fforde uses fantasy to dissect real life. . . . He is our best thinking person's genre writer. (The Washington Times)

Mr. Fforde manages to bombard the reader with more bizarre detail than most writers would dare to fit in their entire oeuvre, yet he does so with . . . light prose and easy, confident wit. (The Wall Street Journal)

Meet the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling "Thursday Next" series. He is also the author of the "Nursery Crime" series.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Brecon, Powys, Wales, United Kingdom
Date of Birth:
January 11, 1961
Place of Birth:
London, United Kingdom
Education:
Left school at 18

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The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime Series #2) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my second Jasper Fforde novel, but it won't be my last. I loved the characters and Fforde's clever way of explaining nursery rhymes as crimes. I think I would have found it even funnier if I had recognized the allusions to the more obscure Nursery Rhymes. Guess I'm going to have to get a book of them. "The Bumper Book of Berkshire Records, 2004 Edition" excerpts were delightfully hilarious. I'm waiting for the book to show up in the U.S....
Guest More than 1 year ago
So I always did wonder why Mama bear's porridge was colder than Baby bear's.... This was such a good piece of work and I'm hoping that we'll see the next Jack Spratt novel soon (almost to that boxed set!). If you're considering anything from Jasper Fforde, go for it! These are some of the best books I've read. I laugh out loud, am sad when the characters are going through rough situations and cheer when things are figured out. The Gingerbread Man made a great villian and I'm curious to who the next one will be!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The combination of laughs and plot - top notch.
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I love this series because it is a quirky romp with your favorite nursery rhyme characters
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is witty and has a mind-boggling plot. Every word, every sentence is important as the pieces start to come together. If you didn't like this book, it might simply be because you haven't got it yet (no offense). I will note that I did not read the first of the Nursery Crime Series, so I have no way of comparing it as part of a series, but as a single book it's delightful.
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ReadingQueen12-17 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE this author's style. Anyone who can take nursery rhymes and create murder mysteries replete with humor and satire is a major plus in my book. In the second installment of the Nursery Crime series, the Goldilocks and the Three Bears are caught in a national conspiracy and the Gingerbread Man is blood thirsty as ever. Obviously this is not a nail-biter (unless you suffer from Mother Goose phobia) but it is certainly clever. My only issue is that there are times when the story was a little boring and nothing irks me more in a mystery than when characters are introduced at the last minute who end up playing a pivotal role in the plot. I feel like it's a cop out and it cheapens the story. In any case, I do recommend this book if anything for the humor and to marvel at the twisted lives of our much beloved nursery rhymes.
CatsInSpace More than 1 year ago
A slow start to this story had me almost giving up before I'd gotten through the first 50 of 378 pages. The main problem I had with the start was the scenes were jumping around a lot, so a bunch of characters and locations were introduced in a short amount of time and it was difficult to figure out what and who were important and needed to be remembered. Eventually the story began to stabilize and focus, so I was able to get into it more. It ended up being a creative story with bits of nursery rhymes and other literature thrown in, but overall the story was a bit hard to follow. I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters involved and maneuvering the turns of the mystery. People who enjoy light-hearted mysteries may enjoy this read, however.
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