The Fairy-Tale Detectives is written by Michael Buckley. It was published in 2007 by Amulet Books.
For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn’t been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother—a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.
So, when I read this book I couldn’t help think of the TV show Grimm, which operates on a scarily similar premise (okay…maybe not that similar).
I was excited to read this book when I got it at the library because I really like mystery books and I was hoping with a title like The Fairy-Tale Detectives that The Sisters Grimm (as the series is called) would be a delightful fusion of fairy tale and mystery, two of my favorite things. And it was—but not as delightful as I was hoping for.
I think that Buckley should have just stuck with Grimm’s Fairy Tales and not included people/creatures from the Arthurian legends and Shakespeare, of all things. It felt a little overstuffed as a result and I thought he was trying to throw too many things in at once, especially with the more out-of-left-field ones like the aforementioned Arthur and Puck from A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
The mystery was pretty simple and obvious, and wasn’t as straight mystery as I would have liked, which is probably why I found it disappointing. I found Sabrina irritating, although she does get better, and for the most part I found the whole concept of the “fairy tale detectives” part a bit confusing, since it wasn’t adequately explained in the novel. Also, I don’t understand how one hundred giants could climb down a beanstalk and not squash any of the people standing next to it.
So I didn’t enjoy the book all that much. It was okay, but nothing special. Younger readers will probably love it, though.
Recommended Age Range: 10+
Genre: Fairy Tale, Children’s
“Sabrina, look at the house,” Daphne whispered. She had stopped playing and was staring at the pile below.
Sabrina looked down at the clearing but saw nothing new.
“Do you see what I see?” Daphne cried, pointing.
“What? What do you see?”
“Come up here, you have to see it from up here.”
Sabrina crawled up onto the tractor and stood high on its hood.
“Do you see it?”
And then Sabrina saw what her sister was so excited about and her heart leaped into her throat. The indentation surrounding the broken-down house had a shape.
“It’s a footprint,” she gasped.
The Fairy-Tale Detectives didn’t have as involved of a mystery as I would have liked; it was fairly simple and obvious. There were way too many fairy tale and mythical references and I feel as if just the characters from Grimm’s Fairy Tales would have been sufficient to get the setting across. The ones from Shakespeare were just confusing. Also confusing were some of the plot mechanics and a bit of the concept of the book itself. Not a book series for me, but younger readers would probably love them.
You can buy this here: The Fairy Tale Detectives