Once Upon a Crime by PJ Brackston

July 9, 2015 Crime, Fairy Tales 8

Hello Bookworms!

I don’t read a ton of crime fiction, so if you’re interested in getting me to read a crime novel, lead with the fact that Gretel (yes, that Gretel) is your detective. The pitch I received for PJ Brackston’s new novel Once Upon a Crime: A Brothers Grimm Mystery was just too whimsical and fun to refuse. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I promise that my nose will have no reason to grow after writing this review. Fairy tale humor, folks. You should probably get used to it.*

onceuponacrimeSet in 18th Century Bavaria, Gretel of brother and breadcrumb and gingerbread house fame has grown up to become a detective. Her hapless brother Hans (I can only assume he thought “Hansel” was too juvenile a moniker? Or perhaps that was explained in the first book? Technically this is a prequel though, so I shouldn’t be behind. Must be a Bavarian thing.) still lives with his sister. Gretel tolerates him and his drunken tomfoolery because he’s her brother and she loves him… And he’s a good cook. Who turns down a personal chef? I mean, really.

Gretel’s latest case is an exercise in fairy tale craziness. From chasing down a crazy cat lady’s beloved pets to romancing a troll, Gretel has her work cut out for her. One minute she’s trying to help a girl out of a jam, the next she’s facing (completely unfounded) murder charges. Can’t a girl get a spa treatment without running across a corpse?! Gretel is a refreshing heroine, unapologetic about her plus sized stature and her love for fine food, high fashion, and designer shoes. I’m pretty sensitive toward unsympathetic or bombastic descriptions of large people in books, and there were a couple of times I was worried this book was headed in that direction. In the end, though, Gretel’s confidence and the way she OWNED IT made all the difference. No snacking guilt for this girl. She’ll rock those Timmy Chews (I know, right?!) from here to Never-Never Land. Gretel was downright fierce. This novel is a light read that’s big on humor and fractured fairy tale hijinks. It’s got an irresistible Shrek vibe about it, so if you’re in the mood for that sort of thing, Once Upon a Crime: A Brothers Grimm Mystery can’t be beat.

Talk to me Bookworms! If you could turn a fairy tale character into a detective, who would you choose? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



8 Responses to “Once Upon a Crime by PJ Brackston”

  1. Megan M.

    I just wonder what the Brothers Grimm themselves would think about how current they still are in the literary scene. Not only do authors regularly reinvent the stories they collected, they themselves serve as characters in multiple books. I wonder that about Jane Austen too, and Shakespeare. Would they be totally freaked out? Would they have a huge presence on social media or would they be near-recluses?

    • Words For Worms

      Hmmm… I like to think they’d be social media friendly.. I mean, they’d have had to be fairly gregarious to collect all those folktales, right? Like, go about in villages and chit chat over bratwurst? Is this not the way it happened? Please don’t tell me otherwise. My imagination would be sad.

    • Words For Worms

      Ooooooh! YES! Actually, you remember the fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty? They’d make the best ridiculous crime fighting trio. I really want that to happen.

  2. Brittany

    Oh my goodness, I had no idea this was a thing, but now I absolutely want to read it! A great review too. I agree with you about the descriptions of large people in books. It somehow takes away from the rest of the story.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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