BOOK REVIEW: THE FOURTH BEAR
PDR, a Person of Dubious Reality to the illiterate, Reading Police Department Detective Criminal Investigator Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crime Division is as always in trouble with the brassy brass for literally his success in solving crimes. However, he wants to burn the book when he and his partner au contrary Mary, Mary is demoted to the Missing Persons department. He assumes this is to get him out of the way so that certain felonies turn cold case.
They are assigned to learn what happened to Henrietta “Goldilocks” Hatchett. The investigation leads the two cops to the cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Bruin better known as part of the Three Bears where they find some relationship anomalies among the family members and their alibis seem phony especially the story about varying temperatures porridge pilfering. However, as the sleuths find clues, they feel their inquiry is continuously off kilter until they realize the dangerous serial killer Gingerbread Man is targeting Spratt the only man capable of bringing him down. With Goldilocks probably dead and the Three Bears seemingly innocent with that crime (fundamentally guilty of constitutional family infractions), Jack and Mary two times wonder if the Gingerbread man killed the girl or could there be a FOURTH BEAR?
Using literally literary allusions Jasper Fforde provides a delightfully swift police procedural fantasy that as with the first Nursery Crime tale, THE BIG OVER EASY, uses a fairy tale to tear apart the hypocrisy of society. The prime story line uses Goldilocks and the Three Bears to show how easily one can purposely misinterpret information with questions such as why Mr. and Mrs. Bear sleep in separate rooms. Other characters skewer the up and down of I did not know corporate leaders, the three plus decade war on drugs, lying leaks, and no taxation or representation as the latest Jack Spratt tale is a witty satire.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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