Once Upon a Crime (A Brothers Grimm Mystery #2)
Author: P.J. Brackston
Paperback: 245 pages (ARC version)
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Published date: July 2015
FTC: Received from publisher for review
Earlier this year I reviewed P.J. Brackston's first Grimm Mystery Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when the publishing company asked if I wanted to read and review mystery #2 I said yes! I am so glad I did. This series is going to be one of my go-to vacation mystery books. You know, the books you read on vacation knowing that you will enjoy it.
While Once Upon a Crime is #2 in the series, it actually goes back in time a tad and clears up some of the interesting story lines that were introduced in book #1. For instance, what is Gretel's connection with the royal family and how did she meet the dashing General Ferdinand? I am pretty sure that if you read this book first it wouldn't be confusing at all for you.
There are a few things about this series that makes me want to recommend it. First, I absolutely love the enigma that is Gretel of Gesternstadt (yes, that Gretel) from Hansel and Gretel fame and private detective for hire. She's overweight, complains quite a bit, and is a little obsessed with food, hair, and clothing. On paper, she should be irritating and unlikeable but I do...I really like her. The humor that runs throughout the book has you chuckling amidst all the mystery, murder, and mayhem. I also love the historical setting of the story. It takes place not in some mythical fairy tale realm but in a real German local and she makes the cobblestone setting all too believable.
I'm definitely looking forward to further adventures of Gretel of Gesternstadt.
Back of the book:
From New York Times bestselling author P. J. Brackston comes the prequel to Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints, the new novel in the rollicking series featuring Gretel, all grown up and working as a private investigator in 18th century Bavaria.
Gretel (yes, that Gretel) is now 35, very large, still living with her brother Hans, and working as a private investigator. The small, sleepy town of Gesternstadt is shaken to its pretty foundations when the workshop of the local cart maker is burnt to the ground, and a body is discovered in the ashes. It is Gretel who notices that the cadaver is missing a finger.
At first, she does not see this as significant, as her mind is fully focused on a new case. Not that she wouldn’t far rather be investigating an intriguing murder, but her client is willing to pay over the odds, so she must content herself with trying to trace three missing cats. It is not until she is further into her investigations that she realizes the two events are inextricably and dangerously connected, and that the mystery of the missing cats will lead her into perilous situations and frightening company.
Very soon Gretel finds herself accused of kidnapping Princess Charlotte, twice locked up in the cells at the Summer Schloss, repelling the advances of an amorous troll, strapped to a rack in Herr Schmerz’s torture chamber, and fleeing a murder charge. With dubious help from her brother (whose scant wits are habitually addled by drink), she must prove her innocence, solve the puzzle of the unidentified corpse, and find the stolen cats before they meet a grisly end.