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The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde

The Fourth Bear (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Jasper Fforde

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,5321051,497 (3.99)1 / 180
Title:The Fourth Bear
Authors:Jasper Fforde
Info:Viking (2006), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde (2006)

  1. 80
    The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: See how this book was constructed, with the help of Thursday Next!
  2. 20
    Fables, Vol. 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham (TomWaitsTables)
  3. 00
    Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce (bertilak)
  4. 00
    Who's Afraid of Beowulf? by Tom Holt (Dr.Science)
    Dr.Science: The English author Tom Holt is relatively unknown in America, but very popular in England. If you enjoy Jasper Fforde or Christopher Moore you will most certainly enjoy Tom Holt's wry sense of English humor and the absurd. He has written a number of excellent books including Expecting Someone Taller, and Flying Dutch, but they may be difficult to find at your library or bookstore.… (more)
  5. 00
    There Was an Old Woman by Jessy Randall (Othemts)
  6. 04
    The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin (tortoise)
    tortoise: Rankin's book covers a lot of the same comedic ground as The Fourth Bear, and I found it considerably better-constructed.

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English (102)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (105)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
This book was hilarious--lots of sarcasm and puns used in with the nursery crimes characters. Just the fact that Goldilocks supports the right to arm bears is funny in itself. Jack Spratt and Mary Mary are hot on the trail of this murder and murderous Gingerbread Man is on a killing spree. Loved it!!! ( )
  lhaines56 | Jan 11, 2017 |
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 Security is involved and, worse yet, his wife doesn't know he's a PDR, a person of dubious reality. What if she finds out? Who is killing champion cucumberistas? How are those bears getting their paws on controlled substances, such as ... porridge? Where's that Dorian Gray guy who sold Spratt his car?
There were so many characters that actually appeared (as opposed to mentioned or referred to or already deceased) in this book that I filled a whole 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of paper trying to keep track of them! I'm wavering between 3 and 4 stars, but hey! The piece about Pippa's pregnancy is just so precious!
Fforde sends up so many thriller/detective story conventions in this story that you wonder what's left to skewer in the sequels!
  marfita | Jan 8, 2016 |
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 Bears and the greater Ursine community and soon a whole conspiracy is revealed involving Porridge, an MP, a huge multi-national corporation and some giant cucumbers.

It’s another whacky mystery in Berkshire, where fairy tales are real, where anthropomorphic bears roam around and get high on illicit porridge. Where characters from a nonsense poem run one of the world’s biggest corporations, where Dorian Gray sells unaging cars, a serial killing gingerbread man and binary-speaking aliens manage to be even more dull than most people.

This has so many of the classic elements of the first book – taking fairy tale dramas and working them into reality often hilariously (even in tiny little side dramas – like the Dish and the Spoon eloping to Gretna Green) and generally filling a very twisty, fascinating and nuanced mystery with lots of the fantastic, the silly (and outright recognised as such) and humour. And that’s important – because it does take a twisty, fascinating and nuanced mystery with lots of epic conspiracy and clues and knotty problems that would be good on its own right – it doesn’t rely entirely on the excellent silly fun to make this book work.

There was also some excellent character moments – Jack and Madeleine, for example but also Mary and the alien officer Ashley were quite fun together

I think there is a slight moving away from actual fairy tale characters in this book – though they are still very much apparent (such as Godlilocks and the three bears), since a large number of the characters are actually from a nonsense poem by Edward Lear. Equally, I think there was less of the detective snark and parody that I so loved in the first book – the Guild of Detectives was less in evidence and the newspaper excerpts were less apparent. We did have some great ongoing jokes about the various plot devices the detectives use to run their investigations which always made me laugh.

The book went deeper rather than wider – rather than covering more fairy tales and fictional elements made real, instead it poked a lot more on what it means to have the fictional be part of reality. So we have Punch and Judy living their bizarre, violent lives and being drawn into it time and again, unable to avoid their cycle of constant violence (even if they are amazing marriage counsellors). We have Goldilocks who, when entering the house of 3 anthropomorphic bears, could only go one way or Jack Sprat simply cannot bring himself to eat fat. Punch and Judy also bring another nuance – their stuck narrative has left them anachronisms in the modern world – their constant violence against each other grossly repellent to modern sensibilities even while the ongoing telling of their story keeps forcing them down the same narrative path.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Jan 25, 2015 |
Great fun! Not as amazing as the Thursday Next series, but still very enjoyable!! (so much so I read it by flashlight in a blackout!) ( )
  AlisonLea | Jan 10, 2015 |
Cartoonist Tom Gauld cover! Just for the record ( )
  MikeRhode | Sep 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
Fforde is crazy; he’s all over the place. He’s aware of the conventions he’s mocking, he mocks them openly, and he still has a really decent romp of a mystery novel on his hands.
added by Katya0133 | editFantasy & Science Fiction, Michelle West (Feb 1, 2007)
Though his characters' self-awareness may ultimately defeat the suspense of The Fourth Bear, the loss of the more standard forms of mystery magic is more than compensated for by Fforde's superb comedic skills.
added by Katya0133 | editUSA Today, Eliot Schrefer (Aug 17, 2006)
Great fun for all fiction collections.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Devon Thomas (Aug 1, 2006)
Chockablock with puns, literary allusions, groanworthy asides, and playful dismantling of the police procedural . . . The Fourth Bear will appeal to fans of whimsy, silliness, or plain old nonsense.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist (Aug 1, 2006)
This sequel offers literary allusions, confusions and gentle satire, though, again like its predecessor, it lacks the snap of the author's Thursday Next series.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 26, 2006)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jasper Ffordeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Belanger, FrancescaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gauld, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meconis, DylanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mudron, BillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Because the Forest will always be there...and anybody who is Friendly with Bears can find it. --A.A. Milne
For my mother
First words
Last known regional post-code allocation: Obscurity, Berkshire, Pop.: 35.

The little village of Obscurity is remarkable only for its unremarkableness.

"When did he escape?"
"Ninety-seven minutes ago," replied Copperfield. "Killed two male nurses and his doctor with his bare hands. The other three orderlies who accompanied him are critical in the hospital."
"Yes. Don't like the food, beds uncomfortable, waiting lists too long—usual crap. Other than that they're fine."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The Gingerbreadman - psychopath, sadist, convicted murderer and cake/biscuit - is loose on the streets of Reading.

It isn't Jack Spratt's case. Despite the success of the Humpty Dumpty investigation, the well publicised failure to prevent Red Riding-Hood and her Gran being eaten once again plunges the Nursery Crime Division into controversy. Enforced non-involvement with the Gingerbreadman hunt looks to be frustrating until a chance encounter at the oddly familiar Deja-Vu Club leads them onto the hunt for missing journalist Henrietta 'Goldy' Hatchett, star reporter for The Daily Toad.

The last witnesses to see her alive were The Three Bears, comfortably living out a life of rural solitude in Andersen's wood. But all is not what it seems. Are the unexplained explosions around the globe somehow related to missing nuclear scientist Angus McGuffin? Is cucumber-growing really that dangerous? Why are National Security involved? But most important of all: How could the bears' porridge be at such disparate temperatures when they were poured at the same time?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038923, Paperback)

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 missing journalist “Goldy” Hatchett. The last witnesses to see her alive were the reclusive Three Bears, and right away Spratt senses something furry—uh, funny—about their story, starting with the porridge. The Fourth Bear is a delirious new romp from our most irrepressible fabulist.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Jack Spratt and Mary Mary return in their second Nursery Crime adventure.--From publisher description.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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