Sisters Sabrina and Daphne have had a rough few years. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the Grimm daughters have bounced from awful foster home to god-awful foster home; now they’ve landed in the caring (and possibly crazy) arms of Relda Grimm—a plump and smartly, fashion-impaired woman claiming to be their long lost grandmother. Granny Relda lives in the middle-of-nowhere, in a township called Ferryport, in a queer house next to a dark, twisting wood with her companion Mr. Canis and enormous, faithful hound, Elvis. Eldest Grimm, Sabrina, after years of bad luck, spends her days plotting possible escape routes while endlessly quarreling and questioning all that Granny Relda says and does, trusting nothing and doubting everything with every fiber of her being. But buoyant and brave Daphne rather likes their new living arrangements; Granny Relda is everything she could hope for in a grandmother, with her strange, delicious cooking, piles of odd books, and her calm insistence that fairy tales are real, and that magic exists.
Something troublesome is afoot in Ferryport, and the Grimm girls are in for a ride.
This is a fun book. I enjoyed both our heroines, Daphne’s bubbly optimism serving as a solid tonic to Sabrina’s incessant paranoia and angst. I enjoyed the detective, gender-bending spin Michael Buckley has taken the Brothers Grimm and their infamous tales on. I liked the slew of characters. I laughed out loud at some of their antics, the puzzling situations they found themselves in. I loved Daphne’s snarl at pompous Puck, at his mentioning of “women’s work”. I found the mishmash of fables entertaining, and was intrigued by the mystery.
It’s lithe enough to let you float on adventure for awhile, yet just dark enough for adults to enjoy, and to feel that prick of worry and nail-biting tingle of danger. Peter Ferguson’s pencil-esque illustrations lend a fantastical, childlike feel to the book, and definitely fit the flavor of tall-tales. You get immediately catapulted into excitement, fun, and mystery, and I felt content upon turning the final page.
Go ahead and pick up The Fairy-Tale Detectives. Who doesn’t like a good fairy tale?
Four out of five stars.