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.
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.50(d)|
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Once Upon a Crime by PJ Brackston Gretel, of breadcrumb trail fame, has now opened a private investigation office. Her brother Hans tries to help out, but his slow brain is often addled by drinking. Gretel’s firm will take any case she can get, which is why she has agreed to look for Frau Hapsburg’s three missing cats. Yes, cats, which by the way, Gretel hates cats! The Town of Gesternstadt has given way to unrest when the carriage maker’s shop burns to the ground, and Gretel notices that there is a body in the ashes, much to the dismay of the Kaptain of the Kingsman. While consulting Agnes, the ancient crone, Gretel catches a ride back to Gesternstadt with Farmer Bruder. A young girl asks for help and hides herself in the farmer’s cart. Unfortunately she turns out to be the Princess Charlotte. Gretel finds herself locked up in in the cells at the Summer Schloss. Thus begins the adventure as Gretel deals with not one, but two times in lockup, the festival of Starkbierfest, the advances of an lovesick troll, Herr Schmerz’s torture chamber, and, for all her pains in wishing to solve the murder, being charged with murder herself! She has no choice but to take it on the lam and skedaddle. Her adventures are helped, but mostly hindered, by the good intentions of her bumbling, hard drinking, cigar puffing brother Hans. And in the background is a mysterious giant… This book cannot help giving you a chuckle at the adventure, or misadventures, of Hansel and Gretel. The author manages to spin a decent mystery while showcasing her humor throughout the story. The story is nicely written, but perhaps not really my thing. I will give this story four stars… Quoth the Raven…
Once Upon A Crime is the second in P J Brackston’s new dark comedic crime drama series, a prequel to book one, Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints. Her twisting, turning, nail-biting storyline is once again a mix of ribald and gallows humor that features idyllic fairytale settings with a definite sinister side, interspersed with a melding of Sherlock and Pink Panther crime solving. Her stars, the irrepressible, über-curvaceous, self-serving Gretel and her humble, addled big brother sidekick rule every page as do her amazing townsfolk and fantastical co-stars. I have enjoyed all the writings of Paula Brackston and am loving her new incarnation as P.J. where with her unique imagination she once again leaves me in awe. Once upon a time in Bavaria, Gretel (yes that Gretel) lived in a village called Gesternstadt earning her keep as a private detective with her brother Hansel (yes that Hansel) as her befuddled assistant. Her current case of the missing kitties has gotten her once again on the wrong side of the law. She’s trying to avoid all the kingsmen, and the machinations of the royals, all the while hoping to keep her considerable self out of trouble so she can solve the case and fill her quickly emptying coffers. While executing her superior (to her anyway) method of sleuthing she encounters murder and mayhem leaving her with more questions than answers and she must do some quick thinking to keep herself and Hans out of the clutches of the good guys and the bad guys so she can find and return the absconded felines to their grieving owner.
Remember Gretel? Yes, THAT Gretel. She of the woods-walk-and-bread-crumb-trail. The girl who survived nearly being eaten by a witch. That one. Did you ever wonder what happened to her? After all, psychotherapy isn’t a big deal in 18th-century Bavaria. You got a smack upside the head and a “well, it’s over now so quit crying about it”. Did she? Get over it, that is. Well, you be the judge. In this story, Gretel is all grown up and working as a detective. Well, she would if she could get the work. Seems the town’s police force and King’s Guard get all the juicy stuff. She is left with…cats. More specifically, missing cats. If she had her way, the cats would remain missing, but their owner has more money than sense (to Gretel’s way of thinking). The money for all of Gretel’s fine (undersized) fashions, including her Timmy Chew shoes, has to come from somewhere. Not to mention having to pay the enormous tavern tab and the cigar bills for her brother Hans. Gretel has no idea what she is getting into when she happily and hastily removes the client’s money from her hand. What follows takes her into and out of prison, endangers her life at the hands of a skanky and amorous troll, and puts her into embarrassing positions – usually in front of one of the dreamiest men she has ever seen. Ms. Brackston’s first book in her “A Brothers Grimm Mystery” series is certainly a tribute to the genre. Very much like Jasper Fforde’s “Nursery Crimes” series, but with a twist all her own—in hers, the Grimm brothers’ characters come to life and come of age—and not in any fairy-tale way either. I love how Hansel and Gretel have evolved, and how their own particular hang-ups have shaped their lives. The author’s writing is so much fun! I love how she has put this book together. In one scene, Gretel is hanging from a gargoyle, and she looks down to see handsome Ferdinand. She fervently believes that he has come racing to save her. But as the conversation continues, she is crestfallen at his words. Then “her crest (was) fallen further”. Later, her “crest (was) now completely fallen.” Writing like that—laugh-out-loud humor—really made this book worth every word. If you’re looking for a fun mystery, this is definitely it.