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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  14,857 ratings  ·  939 reviews
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 mis ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published July 31st 2007 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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
Buzz
I really loved this series! Smart and funny; my favorite combination.
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
Ashley
I’m not sure whether it’s the book, or whether I was just in the perfect mood for it, but regardless, the result is the same. The Fourth Bear is my favorite of the seven Jasper Fforde novels I’ve read. The first five Thursday Next Novels are fun but can be a bit overwhelming, and sometimes downright confusing, and the first Nursery Crime book, The Big Over Easy, does a little bit too much work setting up the Nursery Crime world to really enjoy its premise. But everything is very clear and deligh ...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  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda Patterson
The Nursery Crime Division Series is the new offering from this great, comic writer. Fforde sees and shows the absurdity of modern day society in this beautifully crafted satire.
The Gingerbreadman, a convicted murderer, sadist and sociopath is loose on the streets of Reading. Detective Chief Inspector Jack Spratt is assigned to the case.
Goldy Hatchett has gone missing and the Three Bears living on the edge of Andersen’s Wood were the last to see her alive. Spratt investigates. But all is not wha
...more
Argum
This was much better than the first. Much more of that Thursday Next magic. In this entry Jack Sprat and Mary Mary have to catch the Gingerbreadman without being on the case and solve the mystery of Goldilocks. Bears get a lovely role in the satire of a right to arm bears. Funny family drama too. Much funnier much better satire.
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
MacK
Jasper Fforde's "Nursery Crime" Series offers a meta-literary take on both the hard boiled noir crime and the silly repurposing of classic characters. The second installment, titled The Fourth Bear, offers a much better story than you're likely to see in the supposedly "Gritty Reimaginings" that Hollywood has churned out lately.


Envisioned as a world where "Jack Sprat" is a detective with a contrarian "Mary" as his underling, must uncover a conspiracy around the vanishing reporter with blond hair
...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.
Wing Ho
Wonderful, quirky, absurd and absolutely hilarious! This is the second book in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crimes series (yes Nursery Crimes) and as you can tell by the name it's silly and loads of fun. I really enjoyed the first book though there was some little things (really minor) that irked me I thoroughly enjoyed that book, heading into book two I was expecting more of the same stuff, I was not disappointed:

World: The world is absurd but at the same time very self contained, there are no logic
...more
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?
donna_ehm
I had hoped that the second book in the series would continue to develop the characters of Jack and his family, because I thought that was a strong part of The Big Over Easy and helped off-set all the nursery rhyme references, of which there were far too many, I thought. However, in The Fourth Bear Fforde doubles down on the convoluted and frankly ridiculous plotting while spending little time with Spratt, even though Spratt's status as a nursery rhyme character himself is revealed to his wife w ...more
Pauline
I did like this book but I had a hard time getting into it. Maybe that's due to the fact that this was my first foray into Jasper Fforde's world and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Initially, each chapter felt like individual stories that had nothing to do with each other and, whilst interesting and quite brilliant in themselves, weren't gripping me much as a whole.

I did start to really enjoy the book about a quarter of the way through and to the fabulous end (the Gingerbread
...more
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
Alice
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec The Fourth Bear?

"Jasper Fforde et moi, c'est une histoire d'amour qui dure. Je regrette vivement que cette série ne soit pas traduite en français mais ayant apprécié le premier tome, j'ai décidé de continuer ma découverte dans la langue de Shakespeare."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Le Bonhomme en Pain d'Epices, génie psychopathe et tueur en série, s'est échappé de l'asile psychiatrique. Et bizarrement, bien qu'il soit l
...more
Stephanie

Finished THE FOURTH BEAR (Nursery Crime #2) by Jasper Fforde yesterday or the day before. Everything's blurring together this week. This was the second book starring Jack Spratt as our protagonist.

I honestly can't tell which book I preferred more in the Nursery Crimes series, as they were both so engaging. I think THE FOURTH BEAR possibly did a better job of reading like a crime thriller though. It could have been due to the nature of the Gingerbreadman on the loose though. A good serial killer
...more
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
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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.” 56 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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