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The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is delightfully absurd

The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery

By PJ Brackston

Sci Fi & Fantasy, Mystery & Thrillers

Pegasus Books

Pub Date: January 25, 2016


Although The Case of the Fickle Mermaid starts slowly, readers who are patient are rewarded with an entertaining tale. Hansel and Gretel have grown up, with little to show from their original misadventure than a degree of notoriety. Gretel has turned this to her advantage, offering her services as a detective, while Hansel follows along. Unlike his sharp witted but somewhat pompous sister, Hansel puts people at ease and has a talent for gambling and cooking.

The Captain of the Arabella hires Gretel to investigate a series of disappearances. Members of the crew are missing, and there are whispers hinting a mermaid is responsible. Gold and the offer of a free cruise are a powerful incentive for Gretel, as the payment from her last case is rapidly disappearing. She anticipates an easy case and a luxurious cruise. Gretel even brings her newest wig, one that any fashion maven would envy.

What Gretel gets is not quite what she bargained for. The food is impressive, but the accommodations are far from luxurious. The case is more complicated than expected and her brother has purchased the most astounding creature- a merhund, a dog who is supposed to be able to find mermaids. In reality the dog is better at falling overboard and making a tremendous racket whenever left alone.

Hansel and Gretel don't bare a strong relation to their fairytale namesakes. The story would work equally well, or possibly better without the Grimm connection. The connection appears to be more a marketing tool than an essential element of the novel. The first third of the novel is a bit dull, but the story becomes more lively as it progresses. There are parts that are delightfully absurd, especially when paired with Gretel's vanity and ego.

The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is highly original, and quite funny in its way. This quirky book won't appeal to everyone, but if you like the genre it is a great choice.


The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is available for preorder and will be released January 25, 2016.

I received a copy of The Case of the Fickle Mermaid from Pegasus Books in exchange for an honest review.



From the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter comes the story of Gretel, all grown up and investigating a series of mysterious disappearances off the coast of Bavaria.

Gretel—yes, that Gretel—is now all grown up and working as a private investigator in 18th century Bavaria. Her professional interest is piqued when she begins to hear whispers of of mysterious goings-on off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein: sailors are disappearing, and there are rumors of mermaids and sea creatures and all manner of slippery, sea-based happenings. Ordinarily, Gretel’s interest in sea-life does not extend beyond that which is edible, doused in butter and garlic, and already on the plate before her. However, funds are low, and the captain of the ship Arabella makes a tempting offer of good pay and a free cruise in return for her detective services. With a splendid new wig packed, Hans as her bodyguard on the journey north, and the promise of two weeks of fine dining and erudite company whilst sailing around the picturesque Friesian islands, what could possibly go wrong?


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