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Like The Big Over Easy (2005), Fforde's first Nursery Crime novel, 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 (The Eyre Affair, etc.). Jack Spratt, DCI of the Nursery Crime Division of the Reading Police Department, is also a PDR (Person of Dubious Reality), as are most of the characters Jack deals with, including the Gingerbreadman, a notorious killer, and Punch and Judy, a violence prone couple who are also marriage counselors. An alien policeman named Ashley, talking bears, a devoted group of cucumber-growing enthusiasts and an immensely powerful company, Quang Tech, add spice. All are grist for Fforde, whose word play runs the gamut from puns to shaggy dog stories. The Gingerbreadman's on the loose, Goldilocks is missing and Jack's once again persona non grata at headquarters. 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. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Still on leave from his wildly inventive Thursday Next series (Something Rotten, 2004), Fforde offers a second entry in his wildly inventive Nursery Crime series (The Big Over Easy, 2005). The sadistic and superpowerful Gingerbreadman, nemesis of Jack Spratt, has escaped from St. Cerebellum's secure hospital for the criminally insane. Unfortunately, Spratt has been suspended pending psychological evaluation for his role in the Red Riding Hood fiasco. Though at first he resists doing "a plot device number twenty-six" and hunting for the Gingerbreadman on his own, eventually Spratt has no choice but to follow the rules of detective convention. All he and his mismatched team have to do is find the links between exploding extreme-cucumber-growers, a missing reporter nicknamed Goldilocks, a theme park called SommeWorld, and, oh yes, porridge dealers. Chockablock with puns, literary allusions, groanworthy asides, and playful dismantling of the police procedural--wearing its love for an almost-extinct form of children's literature like a tattoo--The Fourth Bear will appeal to fans of whimsy, silliness, or plain old nonsense. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.