Publication Date: 11/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Maia Chance on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, Snow White Red-Handed, courtesy of the author's website.
Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. But to solve a fairy-tale crime in the haunted Black Forest, she’ll need more than a bit of charm…
1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.
To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out…
What do you get when you combine a cozy mystery with a fairy tale? Snow White Red-Handed the new book from Maia Chance, that's what. The publishing world, as well as, the movie industry and television has been awash with so many fairy tale re-tellings that many readers may not think twice about a new one. But This book is quite different than what we've seen before. It is a historical cozy mystery set in the late 1800's and one that parallels the possible existence of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. With everything from dwarf skeletons to poison apples, this is an interesting way to tell a whodunit.
What I liked:
I felt like this book was extremely unique. Not only is it set in the past in the time period of the original Grimm's fairy tale of Snow White, it is also a clue based mystery. There were so many interesting facts about the Black Forest and the surrounding towns, about the possibility that Snow White really lived and tidbits about the two actresses that end up as ladies maids and sleuths. This was a very creative endeavor by Chance and I truly enjoyed trying to figure it all out.
Ophelia Flax and her partner in crime Prudence are a great crime duo. They start out seeming to be resourceful young women who end up with jobs a ladies maids to the annoying Mrs. Coop. When they end up in the middle of a murder, it's up to Ophelia to prove not only that Prue is innocent of the crime, but that Snow White's final resting place may have really existed. I loved Ophelia. She was funny and clever and had me rolling with her snarky sense of humor. I am a huge fan of sarcasm and dry wit and she had it to spare. A great new cozy heroine!
All of the details about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were beautifully done. Chance interweaves the fairy tale lore throughout the book and makes it a large part of the mystery itself. Mr. Coop being done in by poison apple was a great touch and I felt like this book was a great nod to the Grimm brothers and their tales. There were so many motives it was a little bit of task to keep them all separate, but it certainly was not predictable. The clues were easy to understand but very hard to pinpoint. I didn't figure this one out until the main characters did and that's somewhat rare for me. But that made it all the more interesting.
I thought I had seen just about every kind of cozy mystery theme writers could come up with, but this mash up of a cozy with a fairy tale was brilliant. All of the original Snow White tidbits were fun to read about and to see where they would pop up in the book next. I loved the main character and found her humor appealing. This one was truly enchanting.
Snow White Red-Handed is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
A finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, Maia Chance is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Snow White Red-Handed by MaiaC hance.
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