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The Fourth Bear

(Nursery Crime #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  20,878 ratings  ·  1,242 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
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Viking Penguin (first published January 1st 2006)
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Ed Yerke-Robins I ended up reading The Fourth Bear first as well (I found it on accident while searching at the library, had never heard of the author & didn't know i…moreI ended up reading The Fourth Bear first as well (I found it on accident while searching at the library, had never heard of the author & didn't know it was a series). I had no problem following along with the characters or the world - if anything, when I then read the first book, The Big Over Easy, I was a little impatient with the explicit world-building I already knew from The Fourth Bear. Still, both were wonderfully engaging, and I frequently laughed out loud.(less)
Sharon Sorry just noticed this question has already been asked
Sorry just noticed this question has already been asked

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  20,878 ratings  ·  1,242 reviews

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May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fforde fans
Once again, The Fourth Bear makes the personal library cut. Oh, don't get me wrong; it's as meandering as bumblebee at the height of spring, but somehow Fforde manages to pull it together for a smashing finale.

The beginning is slow and feels more like a set of loosely connected stories instead of the noir mystery it is modeled after. After starting the reader off with Henny Hatchett, a reporter who is also known as 'Goldilocks,' investigating some prizewinning cucumbers, and a successful capture
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2019
I am happily meandering through my book shelves pulling out old favourites from the past and of course anything by Jasper Fforde has to be a favourite! The Fourth Bear is one of his best.

It is a great pity that the Nursery Crime series never went any further. (There was a third book planned but so very long ago I cannot see it materialising.) I love the clever way Fforde brings in our favourite nursery rhyme characters - plus the occasional alien and a Greek god - houses them all in Reading and
Megan Baxter
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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!!! ...more
Melissa Chung
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This book took quite a while to read to the kids. I found it to be more interesting than the first book, but also slightly confusing because I kept forgetting who Bisky-Batt was. 4 stars for being an entertaining read.

If you haven't read the first book 'The Big Over Easy', let me give you a re-cap. There is a place called Reading near London? As a person from the U.S. I always say something is near London. I'm as naive as most. So... back to the re-cap. There is a division of the Police force...
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This was disappointing. I did enjoy the first book in the series and had been looking forward to this one, but it has a lot of problems that really annoyed me. Looking back, I am certain the first book shared many of the same problems, but the novelty and humour helped overcome them. Unfortunately, I think the humour in these is the sort that gets old very fast.

The major problems:

First up is the narrative mode, which is third-person omniscient. Omniscient is a perfectly valid mode, but it'
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-fantasy
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
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, comedy, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Kathy Davie
Second in the Nursery Crime take-off-on nursery rhymes and fairytales series and revolving around a police division headed up by Jack Spratt. It’s been four months since The Big Over Easy , 1.

My Take
This one is a bit confusing, but don’t worry about it. Eventually it all comes right, as Fforde just has to set up that bit of foreshadowing. Of course, those epigraphs were still totally weird, and I don’t see how the majority of them contributed to the story. The concept, sure. But.

I do wish th
Barbara ★
This is Mr. Fforde's take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears and though parts of it are hysterical, too much of a good thing isn't a good thing. Fforde's wordplay and puns are phenomenal but 400 pages of same, got a bit tedious. And there is simply too much going on - Goldilocks's disappearance, alien detectives, a killer gingerbread man, Punch and Judy, a mad bomber and lots of bears because bears have rights too.

I could have done without the whole Punch and Judy thing as that served no purpose
Exploding cucumbers and cakes as serial killers. Or is it cookies? And aliens. Conspiracies. Evil corporations. Bears, taking long walks in woods. Greek gods. Wedding planning.
Crazy crazy mix, concocting a hilarious, stunning and surprising story, impossible to read in public, like at all. Spontaneous chuckling and chortling and even cackling happens a lot. A lot.
Apr 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really loved this series! Smart and funny; my favorite combination.
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Highly recommended read (if only to learn who dates Pippa Pepper!)
Apr 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The writing has a Douglas Adams feel to it, but kept my attention WAY better. I love the fast paced mystery plot interwoven with storybook references and the play on words throughout. Intrigued and horrified by the murderous cookie. Fantastic read, I can't believe I started with the second book🤦. Will definitely be reading more of this author.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
DCI Jack Spratt's life as head of the Nursery Crime Division comes with its perils, and this story is no exception. Lambasted by the media after Red Riding Hood and her gran get eaten by a wolf, Jack is supposed to hand the reins to his number 2, Detective Sergeant Mary Mary. But then Goldilocks, a local journalist and Friend To Bears, goes missing after interviewing a prize cucumber grower who was then killed in a massive explosion that took out half the village of Obscurity. Is this somehow li ...more
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh, goodness, I'm not even sure where to start. The Gingerbread Man is a psychotic killer who escapes from jail. Goldilocks is found dead in a partly-finished WWI theme park. Sinister events plague the cutthroat world of competitive cucumber-growing. Bears deal in illicit porridge paraphernalia. Punch and Judy are marriage counselors. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous, but Detective Jack Spratt is on the case. I got quite a few chuckles out of this one, but most of the really good laughs ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, fantasy, humor
I have always liked the theory of a Jasper Fforde book more than the execution. Fforde has some clever ideas, but he often throws too many of them together, till it stops making sense. The plot bogs down. It's not that funny…

But this was a pleasant exception. For me, at least, "The Fourth Bear" nailed it. Still a lot of funny ideas, but they all make sense. A simple but effective plot. The characters are fleshed out and interesting. Excellent villains, including the Gingerbreadman assassin. And
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
An okay read for me but I definitely like the Thursday Next series much better than this one. I don't know why, I always have trouble getting into Nursery Crimes stories and find them less entertaining than Thursday Next's adventures, hummm...
You just gotta love these books. Funny? Yes. Clever? Yes. Fairy tale characters? Yes. Delightful names such as Mary Mary? Yes. Fictional characters making a surprise appearance (looking at you, Mrs Danvers)? Yes!
David Smith
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny as all get-out. Read it and weep. With laughter.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I wish there was more of this series! Some good witty lines and the narrator, Simon Vance, did an excellent job bringing the colorful variety of nursery rhyme characters to life.
Mark Fallon
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightfully witty, and sometimes silly, book.
Abby Russo
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jasper Fforde's books are a work of art.
Eva Seyler
I love this book so much. My friend read it to me first a few months ago and then I got the audio and we listened to it together. I heart Jasper Fforde and his wacky sense of humour and limitless nonsense SO MUCH.
Laura Floyd
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: strange-fiction

The only reason to read Jasper Fforde is for the pure, unadulterated weirdness, and the Nursery Crimes books are about as weird as they get. Suspension of disbelief is occasionally a little tricky, and the fourth wall is very wobbly, but reading this is still a boatload of fun. I think all of that can be pretty well summed up in these two excerpts:

“Mr. Cripps’s last words were ‘Good heavens! It’s full of holes!’” said Mary. “Do you have any idea to what he was referring?"
“Most puzzling,
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Gingerbread man, a lethal serial killing cookie, has escaped from prison and is rampaging through Reading. But Jack is off the case – his unfortunate miscalculation that involved Little Red Riding Hood being swallowed by a wolf has left him with a bad reputation and he’s officially suspended – but also free to pursue a related missing person’s case.

As he deepens the search (and continues to haunt the Nursery Crimes offices) for the missing Goldilocks, clues eventually lead to the Three Bear
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Fforde began his career in the film industry, and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Secretly harbouring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell their's, Jasper started writing in 1988, and spent eleven years secretly writing novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-man ...more

Other books in the series

Nursery Crime (3 books)
  • The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime, #1)
  • The Last Great Tortoise Race (Nursery Crime, #3)

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