The Fourth Bear – Jasper Fforde

Last year, I mumbled something or other about Jasper Fforde’s last book, The Big Over Easy. Despite that, he’s come back with a sequel, and it’s at least as bonkers as the last one. Regular readers will know that in my, errr, book, there are few higher words of praise for, err, books.

Some time has passed since the Nursery Crime Division’s (NCD) triumph in the Humpty Dumpty case. Since then, there was the unfortunate incident with Red Riding Hood, and Jack Spratt and his team are back to their normal state of being derided and sidelined. When the Gingerbreadman, a psychotic mass-murdering cake (or is he a biscuit?) escapes, Jack is told it’s not his case, even though characters like the Gingerbreadman are usually NCD business.

Meanwhile, there are mysterious explosions occurring, Goldilocks is missing, and Jack has to admit to his wife that he’s a PDR (Person of Dubious Reality).

Can it all be connected to missing, presumed dead, scientist Angus McGuffin[1]? Is it true what they say about what bears do in the woods? Is it right to arm bears? Will romance blossom between DS Mary Mary and alien PC Ashley?

All these questions may be answered along the way. Expect more wordplay, puns that even I would think twice about employing, and knowing use of every cliché in several large books.

Is this plot device 26?

Lots of fun, madder than a large collection of Gingerbreadmen, and highly recommended.

And for long-time Fforde fans, the word is that this time next year, there will be a new Thursday Next book. And there will be another NCD story after that. Woo and indeed hoo.

And over the next couple of months, expect new books from Robert Rankin and Terry Pratchett. :grin:

[1] Hitchcock fans may wince now :wave: