Publication Date: 09/01/2015
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes
Maia Chance on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Books in the series:
Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery
1. Snow White Red-handed
2. Cinderella Six Feet Under
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
This Cinderella goes from ashes to ashes in the new Victorian-era Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery by the author of Snow White Red-Handed . . .
Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax’s plan to reunite her friend Prue with her estranged—and allegedly wealthy—mother, Henrietta, is met with a grim surprise. Not only is the marquise’s Paris mansion a mouse-infested ruin, but Henrietta has inexplicably vanished, leaving behind an evasive husband, two sinister stepsisters, and a bullet-riddled corpse in the pumpkin patch decked out in a ball gown and one glass slipper—a corpse that also happens to be a dead ringer for Prue.
Strangely, no one at 15 rue Garenne seems concerned about who plugged this luckless Cinderella or why, so the investigation is left to Ophelia and Prue. It takes them through the labyrinthine maze of the Paris Opera, down the trail of a legendary fairy tale relic, into the confidence of a wily prince charmless, and makes them vulnerable to the secrets of a mysterious couturière with designs of her own on Prue’s ever-twisting family history.
Cinderella Six Feet Under is the second book in Maia Chance's Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series. This series is very unique in a genre that is saturated with a lot of the same kinds of stories. Chance makes the reader take a look at fairy tales as though they are real. She uses historical background and context to bring the reader a mystery that is steeped in history and lore. Who didn't hear fairy tales when they were growing up? It's a perfect hook!
What I liked:
I liked just about everything in this book. First and foremost the premise of the series. Cinderella Six Feet Under takes up the mantle of fairy tale truth following Snow White Red Handed. This book takes the fairy tale of Cinderella and interprets it in such a distinctive way. Readers have to suspend their belief in reality a bit for this series, because the characters and the world building of the series, assumes that fairy tales were real, not just stories or even legends, but real happenings that can be traced and followed. Gabriel, one of the main characters is a professor that is obsessed with fairy tales and proving their existence. It is just a rare and unusual premise. I love it!
I have to admit that Cinderella was always one of those fairy tales that I felt was a little trite and predictable. The way Maia Chance tells it is totally different from the abused step daughter meeting her prince and it involves a murder... who knew! One of the things that stands out is the historical aspect of the story. It is set in 1867. I loved the references to Paris of the day and how the culture and prevailing thoughts of the times were incorporated into the story. Historical cozies are becoming really popular and I hope it is a trend that continues, but this book and series take it in a whole new direction.
The re-occurring characters of Gabriel, Prue and Ophelia are back once again in this one. Gabriel, the professor, has this fascination with fairy tales and really his perspective is what makes the series work. I loved Prue and that this book had a lot to do with her and her family. She comes off as a bit of a blond at times but I found that kind of endearing in a way. Ophelia is the sensible one, the stubborn one, and the one that has the most trouble believing the significance of fairy tales. She was skeptical but open minded enough to see where the clues were leading. Loved all three of them in this book and found so much more about them that will probably be explored in future books.
What I Didn't Like:
The mystery was really clever. But there were a lot of characters to keep up with. A lot of big long names and a lot of references to the previous case these three worked on. It was on the confusing side. If you read Snow White Red Handed, that will help, but it doesn't completely alleviate the disorientation you might feel in the first few chapters of the book. It's one of those stories that may have been served better to have had less characters carrying the story.
There is so much potential for this series. I love the history, the mystery and the premise is out of this world. The light fantasy type feel to the book is fun for all of us readers who enjoy a bit of the paranormal, but it will still speak to those who don't want to go too far in that direction. This book has Cinderella like you've never seen her before and of course a murder and a victim that looks just like Prue. Not mention wicked step sister who won't let Prue in the house and a missing mother... oh my!
Cinderella Six Feet Under is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
The author of the Fairy Tale Fatal Mysteries, including Snow White Red-Handed, and finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, 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 Cinderella Six Feet Under by Maia Chance.
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