The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery by P.J. Brackston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gretel (yes, that Gretel) of Gesternstadt is off on another case. This time she travels far from her home in Bavaria to help Captain Tobias Ziegler of the “cruise ship” Arabella and solve the mystery of his missing sailors. A mermaid’s song has either scared off these superstitious nautical types for good or the siren has lured them to their deaths. Whatever the cause of the Arabella’s missing mates, Gretel grabs the chance for a luxurious cruise and a bit of much needed cash to boot. She packs her numerous clothing trunks, personally carries her most divine and expensive wig, and forces her brother Hans to act as her porter and bodyguard.
Alas, the Arabella isn’t the glamorous cruise ship Gretel thought it would be. She and Hans are forced to share a cabin no bigger than a closet with a smelly “mer-hund”. Hans is tormented by his “old love” Birgit who still has it in for him. Captain Ziegler looks vaguely familiar to Gretel in a nefarious way. And what’s up with the proper and grim quartermaster Herr Hoffman? Gretel wonders if the rival cruise line owner, Thorsten Sommer, isn’t behind the mysterious mermaid’s song. Why oh why does her own fancy, the dashing Uber General Ferdinand Von Ferdinand, have to be aboard the Fair Fortune with the stuffy Baroness Schleswig-Holstein cruising nearby? When the Arabella’s chef is found murdered in a lifeboat aboard the Fair Fortune, Gretel senses perhaps it isn’t a business rivalry or a mythical creature behind these crew disappearances.
The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is the third book in P.J. Brackston’s “Brothers Grimm Mysteries” and is part cozy mystery, part comedic-masterpiece and part fairy tale. Gretel uses her sharp wits and her voracious appetite for both food and life to sift through a cast of suspects who will make you split your sides with laughter. There’s the fickle mermaid, of course, along with the bird-obsessed Dr. Becker, the inept henchmen Cat’s Tongue and Pustule, the drunken culinary genius Frenchie (who takes Hans under his wing and teaches him even more about food), and a naughty sea sprite that no one but Gretel can see or talk to. This is the perfect book for the mystery lover who enjoys a happily ever after tale along with a little murder and mayhem along the way.
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