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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author P. J. Brackston comes the prequel to Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints.

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 burned 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 doesn't want to investigate 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.

Gretel soon finds herself accused of kidnapping Princess Charlotte, 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.

©2015 P. J. Brackston (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Once Upon a Crime

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  • Overall
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Enjoyable but should be book one in the series

I very much enjoyed both books so far in this series, but it's quite obvious that they were written and meant to be read Once Upon a Crime first and then Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints second. I don't know why they were published out of order with OUC being described as a "prequel," because this book ends chronologically exactly where GCMFP begins. There's a lot of exposition and universe building in OUC that would have been helpful when reading the first book in the series, GCMFP. I'm sure this unusual publication order had more to do with marketing (perhaps because Gretel's name is in the title of GCMFP?) or production schedules and not the author's intention.

Although both books are enjoyable and understandable in the current series order, I would recommend reading the second book (GCMFP) first and the first book (OUC) second! I like this series not only for its whimsy, storybook elements, and enjoyable mix of characters, but also because it has a smart, funny female protagonist, Gretel, who happens to be a private detective, a premise that lends itself well to myriad fun adventures in future books.

10 people found this helpful

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Brilliant delightfully Witty and thoroughly entertaining

Paula brackston is a brilliant writer and her alter ego, PJ brackston puts those skills to good use allowing her humor and wit to shine through in these imaginative , wildly amusing, wonderfully clever faerie tales. I am so glad ms brackston exists and creates genius literature in so many genres. I adored every one of her mystical witchy tales and gobbled the gorgeous writing style with hunger,
And now seeing her apply that genius to a more light hearted storytelling craft is just one more delight.
I can't get enough!

6 people found this helpful

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Delightful

A good helping of Pratchet, a dollop of Butcher, Hearne and Holmes. With a side of Bratwurst.

3 people found this helpful

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THIS IS BOOK #1 IN THE SERIES

this is definitely book 1 and not 2 in the series, amazon has it posted as book 2 and so do most sites. i have now read both and this one is book 1 for sure!

2 people found this helpful

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very entertaining

this book was very entertaining, the kind that makes you laugh and smirk.
the story was fast paced and twist and turned.

2 people found this helpful

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A deliciously flawed, fun and fierce female protagonist

Putting it plainly, I haven’t read the first in this series. But this sequel is so good that I hope the author writes another. Gretel of this imagination and world is brave and funny and smart. I’ve recently started to explore fantasy fiction, and find that such easy-going, likeable, clever heroines or even other female characters of this type in the genre, are not exactly abundant. I am delighted to find a female lead carry a story so brilliantly on her “big” beautiful shoulders. You’ll see what I mean. The mystery element is alive and vibrant. Other characters are tangible too. Ms. Reading reads wonderfully as only she can.

1 person found this helpful

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Read this one first!

It is very good! I wish she had published them in order, this one occurs before The Missing Frog Prints.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TG
  • 06-24-17

Fabulous!

What a delight! I can't wait for more of this series! Simply magical storyline, hilarious and Kate Reading does a superb job!

1 person found this helpful

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So good

I wasn't really excited by this series at first but now can't wait for the next book!

1 person found this helpful

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Really Book 1

Once Upon a Crime is in many ways a weaker story than Gretel and the Frog prints. overall I found this book less clever and Wiki then book one however if you are looking 4 what happened to Gretel before book one this is the story. in some ways it's rather unfortunate that the books were published in this order. clearly they were not written in this order. if you're just getting into this series then by all means read Once Upon a Crime then Gretel and the Frog prints. overall this is still a fun book and I am very much looking forward 2 books 3. keep reading does a fine job reading this story even though this book is her Les range than the previous one.

1 person found this helpful