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Once Upon a Crime
Author: Michael Buckley
Illustrator: Peter Ferguson
Publication date: May 1, 2007
Published by: Harry N. Abrams
ISBN: 081091610X
Publication Order
The Problem Child
Magic and Other Misdemeanors

Once Upon a Crime is the fourth book of the Sisters Grimm series written by Michael Buckley. When fairy-tale detectives Sabrina and Daphne Grimm venture back to the big city to help a friend, they land in the middle of a big mystery. Puck’s father, King Oberon, has been murdered, and the Grimms suspect one of the many famous (and infamous) fairy-tale folk who call the city home. Can they find the culprit while coming to terms with their mother’s secret life? And will Sabrina ever accept her family’s destiny?


For the first time since their parents were kidnapped, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm return to their hometown, New York City, to find Puck's family. But the fairy-tale detectives get more than they bargained for in the Big Apple; wand-wielding fairy godfathers, swash-buckling Wall Street pirates, subway-stealing dwarves, and worst of all, hidden among these urban Everafters, a murderer. This isn't the city Sabrina remembers, the place where she spent happy, normal days with her family. Even her memories of her parents aren't safe. As the Sisters Grimm investigate the death of an important Everafter, they learn that their mother kept a secret from them that might lead to the heart of that evil organization, the Scarlet Hand.


"For my mother, Wilma Cuvelier"


"It seems as though the more of these books I write the more people I have to thank. I hope you all know how invaluable you have been.

First and formost, thanks to my editer, Susan Van Metre, for her in exhaustable patience and insight. I also want to thank everyone at Abrams Books, most notably Jason Wells, for the support, hard work, and cheerleading. My wife Alison, deserves special praise, not only for her efforts as my leterary agent, but also for being the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. As always, a special thanks to Joe Deasy for his praise, criticism, and hilariously inapropriate humor. I also send out a special thanks to Molly Choi, Mauressn Falvey, David Snidero, and Susan Holtz-Minihane for friendship that goes above and beyond the call of duty. And to the members of Team Buckley at Wall Intermediate: Lauren, Jillian, Amanda, Meghan, Tim, Dana, Kim, Katherine, Jack, and Veronica.

Lastly, thanks to Daisy, who passed away during the writing of this book. Daisy was a neat Highland White Terrier my wife found in the Czech Republic eleven years ago. Daisy was probably my single biggest inspiration. I'll miss her playfulness and sweet nature. I hope the squirrels are fast in heaven because here she comes."

Plot Henry and Veronica Grimm are still under a sleeping spell and Puck, their fairy friend, is terribly sick after being attacked by the Jabberwocky. Puck is rapidly running out of time so Granny Relda, Mr. Canis, Mr. Hamstead, and the girls are taking Puck to Faerie, where Puck's family live, where they hope he will be able to help. Sabrina is astonished to discover that Faerie lies in the heart of her old home, New York City. To make matters even more complicated she learns that Puck is the son of the King of Faerie, Oberon himself. Apparently, Puck was banished by his father and Oberon is not inclined to help Puck now, even though his son is terribly sick. Finally, his wife Titania persuades Oberon to allow Puck to be healed but soon after the process is begun Oberon is poisoned and dies. It isn't long before the Grimms find themselves deeply involved in an investigation to find out who murdered Oberon. It appears that Cobweb, a fairy, did the deed. He certainly is on the run and therefore appears guilty of the crime. And yet something about the whole business does not seem quite right. In addition to the investigation, Sabrina learns that her mother was not the person she thought she was. Veronica wanted to be a part of the Grimm legacy, and help the fairytale community.

  • Puck's history surprises the Grimm family, when it is revealed that he was engaged, his ex-fiancée a pretty fairy called Moth. She seems to hate Sabrina because she believes that she (Sabrina) likes Puck. Unfortunately, Puck's healing cocoon, where his body is stored while it recovers, chooses Sabrina as its protector, revealing that she is the one person that he trusts above everyone else. Eventually, Moth asks Sabrina to do a special honor to Puck's cocoon. She gives Sabrina a drink that happens to be poisoned. As Sabrina suffers in pain Moth reveals that she poisoned Oberon. Fortunately, Puck hatches from his cocoon just in time to get her out of the nasty situation, and into a cocoon of her own in the process. Later, Sabrina emerges from her cocoon, which helped her survive. She is eager to know whether Moth was a member of the Scarlet Hand, but to her disappointment, she isn't. The girls, Granny and Puck then discover Veronica's journal of fairy tale accounts in the possession of Mr. Diggs, otherwise known as the Wizard of Oz. He reveals that he was the one that put the mark on Oberon's corpse, and then sends a six-story robot in the shape of the wicked witch of the west to kill them, but fails. Puck becomes the leader of the fairies after his father's funeral and lets Sabrina make a speech that her mother wrote to all of the Everafters in New York, encouraging them to work together. The family then leave, but Sabrina is a little sad/down when Puck doesn't come to say goodbye, only to discover that he is coming home with them - atop the witch robot! Sabrina suppresses her happiness that he coming with them.

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