The Fourth Bear: Book summary and reviews of The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde

The Fourth Bear

A Nursery Crime

By Jasper Fforde

The Fourth Bear
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2006,
    382 pages.

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Book Summary

Jack Spratt and Mary Mary take on their most dangerous case so far as a murderous cookie stalks the streets of Reading. The Gingerbreadman—psychopath, sadist, genius, and killer—is on the loose. But it isn’t Jack Spratt’s case. He and Mary Mary have been demoted to Missing Persons following Jack’s poor judgment involving the poisoning of Mr. Bun the baker. Missing Persons looks like a boring assignment until a chance encounter leads them into the hunt for missing journalist Henrietta “Goldy” Hatchett, star reporter for The Daily Mole. Last to see her alive? The Three Bears, comfortably living out a life of rural solitude in Andersen’s wood.

But all is not what it seems. How could the bears’ porridge be at such disparate temperatures when they were poured at the same time? Why did Mr. and Mrs. Bear sleep in separate beds? Was there a fourth bear? And if there was, who was he, and why did he try to disguise Goldy’s death as a freak accident? Jack answers all these questions and a few others besides, rescues Mary Mary from almost certain death, and finally meets the Fourth Bear and the Gingerbreadman face-to-face.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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." - PW.

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
brilliant as always
The Fourth Bear is the second of the Nursery Crime series by popular author Jasper Fforde. Things are not going too well for Detective Chief Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division: a prime NCD case (the escape from custody of the violent psychopath, The Gingerbreadman) has been allocated to another detective; his boss, Superintendent Briggs, doesn’t trust his judgement and has insisted on a psychiatric evaluation of his fitness to function as head of the NCD; and the press, in particular Josh Hatchett of The Toad, constantly trash him. Luckily he has the support of Detective Sergeant Mary Mary and PC Ashley (the blue Rambosian alien). And he needs it, because soon enough, he has been suspended from duty, then asked by John Hatchett to look into the disappearance of his sister Henrietta “Goldy” Hatchett, last seen by the Three Bears in the Anderson woods. And it seems his marriage to the wonderful Madeleine is in trouble. Once again, Fforde’s incredible imagination throws up a feast of ridiculous names: villages, psychiatrists, serial killers, street names for illicit substances, theme parks to name a few. With an abundance of wordplay, puns, plot devices and lame jokes that even the characters themselves comment on, Fforde somehow manages to connect unexplained explosions, porridge, missing scientists, cucumbers, anthropomorphic bears, the technical arm of a multinational corporation, a WWI theme park, a psychopathic biscuit, conspiracy theorists and nuclear fusion. Jack also manages to buy himself a new Austin Allegro Equipe with an unusually useful feature, as well as a less desirable one. And maracas: I had no idea! The definitive reference for it all is the 2004 edition of The Bumper Book of Berkshire Records, without doubt an interesting read. This is probably Fforde’s best yet and will whet the reader’s appetite for The Last Great Tortoise Race.

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Author Information

Jasper Fforde Author Biography

Jasper Fforde was born in London on January 11, 1961. His father was a prominent economist, while his mother did charity work and was a passionate reader. Fforde and his four siblings were raised in London and Wales. At the age of twelve Fforde was sent to Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational boarding school near Totnes, Devon, which he attended until his graduation in 1979.

As a child, he shared his mother's love of reading, and by the age of eleven, had become quite interested in film and television. While the young Fforde liked to watch Monty Python, he was particularly influenced by a commercial he saw for milk starring actor Roger Moore. It showed what happened behind the scenes on a production set, and this commercial inspired Fforde's aspirations as a movie ...

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