The Fourth Bear

The Fourth Bear

An Investigation With the Nursery Crime Division

Book - 2006
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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?

Publisher: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2006.
ISBN: 9780340835715
Branch Call Number: FIC Fford
Characteristics: 383 pages : illustrations


From the critics

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Sep 21, 2018

If I could read all day every day, I would finish this book. But time is short, books are many, so I'll move on.

Feb 07, 2018

This comment's not going to be as wordy as The Big Over Easy's, but there's a lot I enjoyed about this book.
I liked the date with Mary Mary and Ashley. I liked that porridge was portrayed as an illegal substance for bears. I liked the imposing Gingerbread Man and the constant debate on whether he was a cake or a cookie. I liked the reveal of The One Behind The Whole Thing. I liked that Jack Spratt ends up receiving marriage counseling from Punch (you know, the Punch and Judy puppet comedies? They're in this).

And it pains me to wait for the third one, but I know Mr. Fforde has a lot on his plate so maybe perhaps The Last Great Tortoise Race's slow pace to publication will result in another excellent Nursery Crime.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 22, 2015

A follow-up to Fforde's first Nursery Crime Division title, The Big Over Easy, Fforde serves up more of Detective Jack Spratt, trying to catch the Gingerbreadman, a convicted murderer, who is loose on the streets of Reading. Mix in Goldilocks, giant-cucumber growing, and marriage counselors Punch and Judy, and this is a recipe for laughs in a book that functions perfectly as a whodunit.

Aug 19, 2013

As with many of Fforde's books, a copy editor is sometimes needed. Enjoyable, but not so many laugh-out-loud moments as in The Big Over Easy.

Jun 08, 2013

I picked this up based on the front cover, and was thoroughly delighted! It's my first Fforde, but now I want to read more!

Jul 16, 2012

Who knew porridge was such an addictive substance? This book has so many little details I really appreciate. It makes the story that much more rich. And I still didn't guess the ending. :)

May 23, 2012

Very good and intertwined wonderfully. It wasn't quite as big of a surprise ending as the Big Over Easy, but it was very enjoyable. I hope there are more to come.

May 20, 2012

Good - as are all of his in this same series - characters in between stories. Writing a similar thing with some Grimm characters, so wanted to research.

Dec 28, 2011

Another hoot of a book! Top notch suspense with an intricate twisting plot involving both real humans and aliens alongside "Persons of Dubious Reality". Full of outrageous puns and plot devices (as selected by the characters - plot device number 21 is a frequently used device). This is a book (and series) for the mystery/police procedural readers as well as Terry Pratchet and Douglas Adams fans.

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