The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime, #2)
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The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime #2)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  13,969 ratings  ·  905 reviews
Jack Spratt and Mary Mary return in their second adventure from the inimitable Jasper Fforde

Five years ago, Viking introduced Jasper Fforde and his upsidedown, inside-out literary crime masterpieces. And as they move from Thursday Next to Jack Spratt�s Nursery Crimes, his audience is insatiable and growing. Now, with The Fourth Bear, Jack Spratt and Mary Mary take on the...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2006)
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Joel
So far, this is my favorite of the Jasper Fforde books. The wordplay and puns just keep on coming, but I also enjoyed the meta-fictional elements going on here. Storybook characters who know they're storybook characters (or, in Fforde's parlance, Persons of Dubious Reality), plot devices named and numbered, even comments on flat characters (the sadness of knowing you aren't fully developed) and jokes that are too much of a stretch.

As far as the Nursery Crimes go, this one is a beauty: the Ginger...more
Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another excellent book by a truly gifted writer. While not quite as good as The Big Over Easy which I thought was simply amazing, this is still a very high quality effort. Highly Recommended!!!
Jo
I'd like to start this review by saying that Jasper Fforde is a genius. I loved his Thursday Next series, thoroughly enjoyed the first Nursery Crimes book (The Big Over Easy), and can honestly say this is hands-down my favourite of his books.

The Fourth Bear is, ostensibly, Fforde's take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But there's so much more to the story than just that one fairy tale. Add a murderous gingerbread man, Jack's habit of accidentally killing giants (and coming across extremely fa...more
Chang
Cuculear power! The Battle of the Somme! Ginga assassins! Aliens from outer space! A conspiracy run by an evil multinational corporation! A woman in uniform flashing the International Space Station! "Pippa Piper picking Peter 'pockmarked' Peck of Pembroke Park over Picker or Pepper!"

It's outrageous, zany and fun. Imagine Scheherazade spinning a tale out of your childhood nursery stories, except she's been sucking on a hookah and freed from the constraints imposed by an English teacher. For anyon...more
Mark
Oct 12, 2007 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: girls and boys who like their porridge just right
Shelves: recentlyread
Jack Spratt and his NCD (Nursery Crime Division) team must solve the murder of Goldilocks (in a politically-sensitive modern climate of bear activism and rampant ursism) while tracking down the escaped psycho-killer known as the Ginger Bread Man, all while Jack is under suspension and being outed as a PDR (a person of dubious reality) himself. Jack has a great new car he bought from dealer Dorian Gray that instantly repairs itself--as long as a certain painting remains intact.... Also not to be...more
Taylor
I love Jasper Fforde. I want to have coffee with him, because if he is anything like his books then it would be one hell of a coffee date.

Nursery Rhyme characters are real and live in Reading, U.K. -- Punch and Judy make loud next door neighbors, Humpty Dumpty was murderd last book, the Gingerbread Man is a psychotic killer, and so on.

Rambosians are aliens that have applied for earth citizenship because they love bureaucracy and 1970s sitcoms (many have been granted said citizenship). . .Rambo...more
Megan Baxter
Nursery Crime Division head, Jack Spratt, has a Gingerbreadman on the loose. And a missing reporter named Goldilocks. And Punch and Judy just moved in next door, raising the noise level in the neighbourhood considerably.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Robert
The NCD is back in action! What really happened to Goldilocks? If you can figure out why one bowl of porridge was to hot, one to cold and one was just right, when they were poured at the same time you might be getting close. Why she disappeared is yet another question. Could it have to do with the story she was following on the cucumber competitors? Again a very humorous play on words that really makes for a fantastic reading experience. I definitely felt author Fforde deserved a ffive star revi...more
Anastasia
Those of us who read the Big Over Easy will love that this second novel in the Nursery Crime series picks up pretty much where the first novel left off. Things get way more complicated, and hilarious, for Jack Spratt as he wrestles with the demands of the NCD and trying to convince his superiors (and his co-workers) that he isn't completely bonkers! The NCD has fallen out of public favor after Jack let Red Riding Hood and her Gran get eaten by the big bad Wolf, the murderous psychopath Gingerbre...more
Sfdreams
May 19, 2008 Sfdreams rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of puns and humor
Shelves: reviewed
In this second book in the Nursery Crimes series, the Nursery Crimes Division is once again in disfavor after the Red Riding Hood debacle. So when the Gingerbreadman, a heinous serial killer that Jack Spratt caught years ago, escapes from the criminally insane asylum where he has be incarcerated, the case is given to DCI David Copperfield instead. This leaves Jack Spratt to investigate the disappearance of Goldilocks while trying to avoid the mandated psychiatric evaluation his superiors have re...more
Lynda
Jack Spratt is back. And it's awesome. To touch on my favorite parts list style we have: Ashley a Rambrosian alien who is awesome. He was not very involved in The Big Over Easy all that much but he was a huge part of this book and I can't really say too much without spoilerage but seriously he's awesome. Porridge is a controlled substance, as is honey.Homicidal cookies, or is he a cake? Cucumbers that are huge are hugely important. Basically it's a huge jumbled story that is fast and playful and...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Very much in the same style as the previous NCD book, as well as Fforde's other works, The Fourth Bear is a mix of humor, mystery, and nursery rhyme tales, filled with jokes, gags, and puns. In this book, Fforde particularly takes on the 4th wall, occasionally having his characters comment on the story itself, such as a reference to "plot holes" or a brief discussion about how convoluted the set up for a rather poor joke actually was. While some of the story is predictable (in fact, its delibera...more
Melissa Proffitt
This installment in the Nursery Crimes series isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as some of Fforde's other books, but the parody is still strong and there's plenty to like here. It's interesting to keep in mind, as I read it, that technically Jack Spratt and Mary Mary are in a book that exists in the Thursday Next series--the book Thursday uses as a hideout from Goliath as she's expecting her son and trying to get her husband re-actualized. I half expect Thursday to show up at some point, though by t...more
Angela
I am increasingly impressed by Fforde's writing. This book is amazingly original, witty, and creative. What impresses me more is that it is the sixth book he's written serially, and he has not fallen into several of the pitfalls I've often observed in serial writers: there has NOT been a noticeable a dip in quality, his plots have NOT felt "repetitive", his books do NOT get successively longer, and he has NOT started building cliffhangers into the ends of them.
Kirstin
While The Eyre Affair was definitely the best of the books Jasper Fforde has written thus far, the Nursery Crimes series is nothing to scoff at. This was still an enjoyable romp in a slightly alternative reality where nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters live amongst us. And, really, who can’t enjoy a book where the central question revolves around whether gingerbread is a cake or a cookie?
Becca
This is the sequel to The Big Over Easy. You get to learn more about the Jack Spratt protagonist and his family. Oh, the situations Fforde puts them into. It's so ridiculous, but Fforde writes it that way on purpose, and you just accept it. I think I want to own these. I like funny clever books. I think there's another on the way.
Darkpool (protesting GR censorship)
Ah, there are some truly exceptional word-jokes in here. I often found myself emitting great barks and woofs of laughter as I drove to and from work with this spinning in the CD player. I think of all fforde's books I've so far read, I like this one best. Genius.
Kevin Lanahan
I enjoy these books. The wordplay, the breakdown of the fourth wall, the alternate reality, the obscure nursery rhyme characters made real and working in an adult world.

The story is written as a detective mystery, with some politics and porridge as a controlled substance. In some ways, I was reminded of the Anonymous Rex books, where you just have to accept that there are disguised dinosaurs in LA. Once you accept Fforde's fantasy world, the story is a nice police procedural with a homicidal Gi...more
Buzz
I really loved this series! Smart and funny; my favorite combination.
Fairytalecritic
Oh, how do I love The Fourth Bear? Let me count the ways:

-It is FUNNY. Not only are there some hilarious jokes, great puns, and entertaining references, it also has some of the funniest meta-humor that jumps out at you when you least expect it.
-It’s a supremely clever adaptation of a few fairly simple fairy tales and nursery rhymes, bringing archetypal characters to life while also never ignoring the archetypes that define them.
-It is a seamless mix of the genres of detective fiction with fairy...more
Jeni Enjaian
I enjoyed this book much more than the first. Having read the first book I was much better acquainted with the characters and the slightly different world that the Nursery Crimes books are set in. (Plausibly these books are in the same reality as Thursday Next.)
I loved all the word play and the constantly twisting plot. This overly-complicated plot (as all Jasper Fforde plots are) made much more "plausible" sense than the first book. (Plausible is in quotation marks simply because in the real wo...more
Rachel
Finally got around to reading the second in Fforde's Nursery Crime series, having read the first book 'The Big Over Easy' ages ago. Perhaps I should have re-read the first book beforehand just to remind myself of the characters and settings, but otherwise it was as charming, witty, and ever-so-slightly complicated as the first book, and just as enjoyable. I tend to love any story with a faintly fairy-tale theme, so this book (and indeed series) is the perfect read for me, including many PDR's (P...more
Colette M.
I like quirky/weird books. I like the idea of there being this entire other existence going on in and around "reality." I think that's why I love Twilight, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. Jasper Fforde's books promise the same things. He's got three series our right now: the Thursday Next series (literary detective), his new series which begins with his latest release Shades of Grey , and the one that this book is from: Inspector Jack Spratt Investigates Nursery Crime.

I loved the first Jack Spr...more
Marfita
Feb 04, 2014 Marfita rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who need more humor in their lives
Shelves: cozies, mysteries
Fforde again injects silliness for its own sake into what this time is a typical Ken Follett tale. DCI Jack Spratt is taken off a case before it even starts, which queers his bid to enter the Guild of Detectives. He is on forced medical leave until it is determined he's sane enough to continue ... in a job where a little insanity helps. The case is the escape of the same serial killer he captured previously - who will certainly want his revenge, right? But there's much more than that - National...more
Ashley Jones
This is Fford's second installment of his Nursery Crimes novels, and I liked this one much better than the previous. In this one he pretty much inundated his world with literary figures, most of whom I know(Caliban from The Tempest) and others which I know where they cone from, but have yet to read the book(Dorian Gray). In the first book I felt more in the real world than this time around, mainly because the main character , Jack Sprat finally comes clean about being a nursery character himself...more
Sue Moro
D.I. Jack Spratt and his sergeant Mary Mary return in the second installment of the Nursery Crimes series by Jasper Fforde.

The Gingerbreadman, 7 foot tall, 4 inches thick, psychopathic killer is on the loose on the streets of Reading, but Jack and Mary are not on the case. Jack is facing a mandated psychiatric evaluation after being swallowed by the wolf in the Red Riding Hood case.

The case is instead assigned to DCI David Copperfield, and Jack and Mary are left to investigate a missing journal...more
Alan
I am always very hesitant to recommend humor writers. Even more so than music the enjoyment of humor depends on an individual's tastes. This is my third Jasper Fforde book, and so far I have enjoyed all them. Perhaps, it is because the humor fits into the story's context.

And, context is not always for the week.

This is the second and last Nursery Crimes Division book. Fforde is staying in his metafictional comfort zone. Jack Spratt's new case is his biggest yet. Not only does it involve escaped...more
Kevin
Who'd have thought that those old nursery rhymes and fairy tales would have had so much going on behind the scenes? Fresh from their largely forgotten triumphs in The Big Over Easy, Jack Spratt, Mary Mary and the rest of the Nursery Crime Division find themselves faced with new challenges.

The psychopathic killer known as the Gingerbread Man is loose, and true to his legend, he runs as fast as he can and you just can't catch him. Added to that, prize cucumbers are disappearing, mysterious explosi...more
Andy
Jasper Fforde is quite an amazing author. He has a knack for taking something so arbitrary as nursery rhymes and making them absolutely awe inspiring by placing them within a whole different world. The Fourth Bear is the second book in the NC series and follows Jack Spratt and Mary Mary on their adventures to find out who killed Goldilocks and why. The story follows them chasing the Gingerbreadman, consorting with bears who are attempting to be more human, and examining the science of giant cucu...more
Lis Carey
At the start of the second Nursery Crime adventure, Jack Spratt and the Nursery Crime Division are experiencing an unaccustomed interval of official approval and public favor, after the successful resolution of the Humpty Dumpty murder.

Naturally, this can't last, and as a direct result of doing his job, Jack has been placed on medical leave. (He successfully captured the Big Bad Wolf—unfortunately after both Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood had been swallowed. He had to go in after them and re...more
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Jasper Fforde is a novelist living in Wales. He is the son of John Standish Fforde, the 24th Chief Cashier for the Bank of England, whose signature used to appear on sterling banknotes, and is cousin of Desmond Fforde, married with the author Katie Fforde. His early career was spent as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films including Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrap...more
More about Jasper Fforde...
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, #2) The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3) Something Rotten (Thursday Next, #4) The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime, #1)

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“Prejudice is a product of ignorance that hides behind barriers of tradition.” 53 likes
“A missing arm might ruin your symmetry. Personal asymmetry where I come from is a big taboo and brings great shame on the family and sometimes even the whole village."

"Do you then have to kill yourself over it or something?"

"Goodness me, no! The family and village just have to learn to be ashamed--and nuts to them for being so oversensitive.”
7 likes
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