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The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crime Adventures 2) Paperback – Import, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Nursery Crime Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Nursery Crime Adventures 2
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HODDER PAPERBACKS (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340835737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340835739
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,342,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It's very hard for any author to be funny, and to stay funny for the length of a whole novel... much less for an ongoing series. Fforde achieves it by always having a clear sense of where he's going, even when the plot appears to have as little structure as a Marx Brothers movie or a Monty Python skit. Or, should I say, as little *apparent* structure.

The plots may be a little on the strange side -- we're talking here about a storyline based on the search for Goldilocks, which encompasses competitive cucumbers, the secret morals of the Easter Bunny, porridge allotments for bears, and a space alien who talks in binary -- but the characters become real people (or, uh, bears). You care about them, and before you know it, you _really_ want to know who is behind all of the intertwined events.

But mostly, Fforde is extremely funny. He never descends into dumbness or predictability, and just when you think he's set you up for one verbal pratfall, he takes the story in a wholly unexpected direction.

You *could* read this book without first reading the first in the Nursery Crime series; the story does stand on its own. However, I think you'll enjoy this one more if you read the earlier book first.

In either case, though -- this is a marvelous romp. Highly recommended for carbon-based life forms who wish a reason to laugh.
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Format: Hardcover
Nursery Crimes detective Jack Spratt is back on the case in The Fourth Bear, and it's a much better book than the first one (The Big Over Easy). I really enjoyed the first book, but found myself not laughing as much as I would have liked. The second, however, solves that problem. There were many instances where I laughed for a while, enjoying Fforde's turn of phrase or a new concept. Virtually every one of my complaints from the first book disappeared as Fforde appears to have dropped them, or at least sidelined them. And the end of the book is even better, with the announcement that not only is Jack Spratt returning, but a new Thursday Next novel is coming out next year too!

The glory from Detective Spratt's solving of the Humpty Dumpty murder doesn't last long, especially after a series of mishaps in subsequent cases, such as the Red Riding Hood case, where unfortunately a few people were eaten by the wolf before the case was solved. But Spratt has more important things to worry about now. The sinister psychopath, The Gingerbread Man, has escaped from the mental asylum that Jack put him into twenty years ago, and he's going on a rampage. But Jack's not in charge of the investigation, having been ordered to take a psych evaluation. Instead, he follows up on the death of a reporter named Goldilocks, a friend to the huge bear population living in the area. After a gruesome discovery, Spratt and his partner, Mary Mary, move to uncover a sinister plot that may go extremely high up. But why does Jack keep happening upon the Gingerbread Man, and why does he leave Jack alive every time? Is he a cookie or a cake? And what do the intricacies of bear society, the illegal trafficking in black market porridge, and a theme park based on the Battle of the Somme have to do with each other?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 explosions are vaporising chucks of real estate, Goldilocks is missing, and relationships with the bears are about to boil over due to porridge control issues.

Officially, Jack is off the case and in disgrace, and although Mary Mary takes over for a while, she is also busted on an overexposure charge. The Gingerbread Man case is given to David Copperfield, and there are no great expectations for solving it, but then again, you can't keep a good fictional character down for long.

If you thought that the DaVinci Code was startling, there are also many revelations in this book - a must-read if you want to know why the three bowls of porridge were at different temperatures, if gingerbread is a cake or a cookie, and why deals from used car salesmen are often too good to be true.

Amanda Richards, August 20, 2006
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Format: Hardcover
The Gingerbreadman, the arch villain in The Fourth Bear, is seven feet of vicious, manical. . . ah, cookie...(or perhaps cake)... who has escaped from an insane asylum, is having a great time tearing people's arms off, and has a grudge against Jack Spratt, the fatophobic hero of this nursery crime story.

Now perhaps you are a down-to-earth kind of person and think that swallowing a seven-foot-tall, crazy, anthropomorphic, ginja warrior, cereal-killer cookie as a villain would be difficult for you. But Jasper Fforde is a genius at taking seemingly absurd premises and turning them into stimulating, delicious tales filled with nutty goodness. The Fourth Bear, like Fforde's other tales, takes place in a world where fictional characters have lives outside of their books. In this case, the characters are from nursery rhymes and fairy tales, but don't worry, this is NOT a children's book. It is a hilarious spoof on TV and movie crime shows, complete with all your favorite crime story plot devices and chock full of delightful word play and literary references that will keep you laughing and your brain regular.

Goldilocks is dead. The Gingerbreadman is terrorizing Reading, UK. Giant cucumbers are mysteriously exploding. And to make matters worse, police detective Jack Spratt has been swallowed whole by the Big Bad Wolf. So what are you waiting for. Run, Run, Fast as you can...order your copy today!
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