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.
My Thoughts :
So let's start this one with how Goodreads confused me completely by listing this book as #2 in the Brothers Grimm Mysteries when it is indeed the prequel of Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints. If I had known this I certainly would have read the books in the correct order but in the grand scheme of things it didn't make much of a difference. Also this prequel isn't your typical novella prequel but a normal sized novel and it also didn't ruin the story.
Now let's go onto how funny and inspiring this series is. Paula Brackston is well known for her serious and incredible Witch books but this fantasy filled cozy mystery series is completely different! There's a lot of humour weaved into this interesting twist on the good old Hansel and Gretel tale from the Brothers Grimm and for any German speakers some cute language usages as well. Granted this prequel didn't make me laugh as much as Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints but the mystery kept me intrigued and most of all it kept me reading until the end.
I look forward to reading more in this series. It is something different with historical twists and lots of fantasy. It makes for very light reading and the story flows really well with some very funny characters and amusing situations. Well worth checking out and a must read for fans of the author.