Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Fourth Bear

By Jasper Fforde

Goldilocks has gone missing under very mysterious circumstances and it's up to Detective Jack Spratt, Sergeant Mary Mary and the rest of the gang at the Nursery Crimes Division to do the sorting out. The last ones to see her alive were a family of three bears who discovered her in post-porridge-eating/chair-breaking slumber in Baby Bear's bed. In the days leading up to her disappearance, Goldilocks was investigating the inexplicable explosive deaths of several competitive cucumber growers. To complicate things further, the murderous sociopathic Gingerbread Man has broken out of the nuthouse and is on the run leaving a trail of corpses behind him.
In his second Nursery Crimes novel, Fforde delivers his usual imaginative weirdness set in a world where the line between fiction and reality is blurred. With so much formulaic fiction out there, it's so enjoyable to read such a freshly unique novel. The plot is complex and entertaining. The story is peppered with surprisingly un-annoying puns. Although Fforde attributes his inspiration for the story to Swift's "..extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers.." line from Gulliver's Travels, I kind of wonder if the book was a giant set up so he could use the term "cuclear energy". You can check out Fforde's interactive site at