Monday, February 15, 2016

Once Upon a Crime by P.J. Brackston

The fairy tales I loved to read as a child are full of crime. So, it only makes sense that in recent years authors and TV writers have discovered the world and characters of fairy tales, perfect for crime series. In Once Upon a Crime, P.J. Brackston tells of a detective in 18th century Bavaria, Gretel, "yes, that Gretel".

Gretel's now thirty-five, a big woman who still lives with her brother, Hans, in Gesternstadt, a fairy tale town a little too twee for her taste. She's a private detective, and a woman a little too fond of fashionable clothes while Hans is a little too fond of beer. After their experiences in the woods, the king sent both of them to good schools and provided them with the house they now live in. But, Gretel still needs to make a living. But, when she accepts a case to find three stolen cats, she doesn't know where it will lead her.

To search for those cats, "She had visited the Old Crone, escaped from a dungeon, wrestled a lion, traveled several leagues' distance, dealt with an amorous troll, and become a fugitive from justice." And, that's only the beginning of Gretel's misadventures. But, she's as clever as she once was as a girl, and Gretel finds a way out of her troubles.

Actually, I tired of poor Gretel's misadventures, which is ironic. It really is a detective story, and private detectives often get in deeper and deeper before finding answers. But, I think it was the "tweeness" of the entire fairy tale world that finally wore me down. And, I've never been particularly fond of the detectives who are obsessed with fashion.

But, read Brackston's book with a sense of humor. Everything is a little large, a little outrageous as she cleverly mixes fairy tales and crime in Once Upon a Crime.

Once Upon a Crime by P. J. Brackston. Pegasus Crime. 2015. ISBN 9781605988122 (hardcover), 248p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I pulled the book from my TBR pile. It was originally sent from the publisher.


Kay said...

Hmmm...I've been on the fence about trying this series. The new one has a mermaid, right? I like the updated fairy tales, but I not going to rush to this one. I do like the TV series Grimm.

Lesa said...

I wouldn't exactly rush to it, either, Kay. I'm not sure about the new title. It just didn't excite me.

Mark Baker said...

I read a book in the series last year and didn't care for it much either, which disappointed me since I love fairy tales and wanted to like this series so much.