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The Fairy-Tale Detectives

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The Fairy-Tale Detectives
The first book
Author: Michael Buckley
Illustrator: Peter Ferguson
Publication date: August 1, 2005
Published by: Harry N. Abrams
ISBN: 0810959259
Publication Order
The Unusual Suspects

The Fairy-Tale Detectives is the first book of the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley. In book one of this best selling series, sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. The sisters learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files. The girls are the latest in a long line of fairy-tale detectives, and their new hometown is filled with Everafters (as magical folks like to be called)—some good and some very, very bad. When a mysterious Everafter sets a giant loose on the town, it’s up to the Sisters Grimm to save the day.


"We are Grimms and this is what we do"

For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn't been a fairy-tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother - a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy-tales is actually a history book that documents magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? a roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new home town.


"In memory of my grandparents, Basil and Relda Gandee"


"I'd like to thank my editor, Susan Van Metre at Amulet Books, who's guidance helped me find the book inside my idea; my agent, Alison Fargis of the Stonesong Press, for taking a chance on me; Joseph Deasy, who was honest enough to tell me when my writing stunk; my love, Alison, for telling me when Joe was wrong; Jonathan Flom, for all his support over the years; Joe Harris, for being a good friend; my parents, Michael and Wilma, for filling our house with books even if the checking account was empty; and Daisy, who was patient when I was too busy writing to take her for a walk."

All rights and excerpts belong solely to Michael Buckley - The Wiki does not own anything to do with The Sisters Grimm. All artwork from the books are owned by Peter Ferguson; the Wiki doesn't hold any claim to these either.

The Scarlet Hand
The Scarlet Hand
Warning - Spoiler Alert!
The following page contains content that reveals the plot-line for the later books and/or a character's development

Plot Summary

Know the plot-line? Feel free to edit!

The two girls looked up into the horrible face above them and felt hot breath blow through their hair.
~ Prologue, from The Fairy-Tale Detectives

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are running through the forest, thoroughly exhausted as they run for their lives. With nothing but Excalibur to help them, how will Sabrina and Daphne escape?

The series begins with a train bound to Ferryport Landing on which Sabrina Grimm, Daphne Grimm and their case-worker, Minerva Smirt, are sat. Although Sabrina has serious doubts about the legitimacy of the grandmother the two sisters are being sent to live with, Ms.Smirt shoots down her protestations, remarking that there aren't any other foster families willing to take on the two 'troublesome' girls.

The two sisters meet Relda Grimm and Mr. Canis who take them home, and after a brief tour (and an introduction to the family dog Elvis) the family sit down to dinner. Presented with Relda's bizarre cooking, Sabrina angrily confronts her, calling her an 'impostor' as her parents had never mentioned any other living family members. Later that night, Sabrina's plans of escape are interrupted by Mr. Canis who angrily intervenes when the two sisters are entranced by the arrival of 'lightning bugs' at their window. Their second attempt at escaping is slightly more successful, as Sabrina - self-styled 'Queen of Sneaks' - drags a reluctant Daphne out of the house only to be stopped by the same bugs they had seen earlier. Elvis runs out of the house and tries to force the girls back inside, but a stubborn Sabrina pushes him aside, only to find that the lightning bugs had started attacking Daphne. Sure that these are no insects of a type that they have ever encountered, Sabrina throws herself in front of her little sister to protect her from the worst of the bites. Relda eventually comes storming out and throws a blue powder at the 'bugs' so they stop their assault, then takes the two younger Grimm into her house to tend to their wounds.

The following morning, Sabrina and Daphne encounter their first case as Relda tells them that they will be helping her 'investigate a crime'.  Arriving at the scene, they find a broken house and also meet Mayor Charming and Mr. Seven, his assistant.  Relda finds a leaf at the scene which she claims to be from a giant beanstalk, leading Sabrina to the conclusion that she is crazy.  After Relda gently presses Sabrina to look properly at the site of destruction, Sabrina realises that the indentation around the broken house has a shape; specifically that of a giant foot-print. Convinced that this is all part of a plan to make the two girls look foolish, Sabrina and Daphne insist that there are no such thing as giants and so Relda tells them about their family history and that fairy tale creatures  - termed Everafters -  exist as all fairy tales are true. She also reveals that there is a barrier separating them from mortals and that there must always be one Grimm inside of the barrier so that no Everafters can escape. Reeling from all these claims, Sabrina dismisses her as a lunatic.

The next day, Relda reviews the clues from their findings. They later go to Ferryport Landing Memorial Hospital to visit Thomas Applebee, the owner of the broken house, only to find a lady sprinkling a dust-like substance over the inert patient. An irate Relda later reveals that this substance was forgetful dust and so Mr. Applebee's memory of the events leading up to the house's destruction were tampered with him. Undeterred, they question his wife instead and find out that a British man had approached them looking to rent their farm and had turned quite nasty when they refused. Mrs Applebee, upon returning home from a short but traumatic vacation, had found the farm flattened and her husband injured. The clues provided by the Applebees lead Sabrina to believe that Charming is the British man whom they were referring to.  After Relda uses forgetful dust on Mrs. Applebee, the three Grimms exit the hospital only to be approached by three goons who attempt to threaten Relda off of the case. As they start to launch their violent attack, Mr. Canis fends them off. Relda continues to explain to the girls about Everafters but is interrupted by Sabrina's angry insistence that she doesn't believe any of the fairytale nonsense. She drags Daphne out of the car and continues to rant - however, her tirade is stopped by a giant hand reaching down and taking the car, kidnapping Relda and Canis.

An angry Daphne refuses to talk to her elder sister as they march back home, blaming Sabrina as she hadn't believed their grandmother's words. A remorseful Sabrina is doubtful that the two sisters can rescue their grandmother, but Daphne remains convinced that they can. Officer Hamstead suddenly arrives to escort the girls to safety, and it soon transpires that he is an Everafter as well. As the girls begin to think that they are safe, Charming's voice blares out of the police radio with orders that Hamstead should bring the two sisters to his mansion. Daphne and Sabrina escape from the car and are saved from Hamstead by the lights that bit Daphne mercilessly beforehand. The lights lead Sabrina and Daphne deeper into the forest, where they find a junk throne upon which sits a dirty, crowned boy. He orders his lights to drown the two girls as they are suspected of espionage, ignoring Daphne and Sabrina's protests. Before they can be pushed into a pool, Sabrina pushes him in instead.

The boy laughs off the incident and (after angrily refuting that he is not Peter Pan), introduces himself as Puck, the Trickster King from A Midsummer's Night Dream. He agrees to help under the circumstances that they never reveal he helped them, as he is a 'villain of the worst kind'. Returning home, the trio scour numerous books to try to find out as much as they can about giants - however, in the process, they also find out more about Charming and discover that he is trying to rebuild his kingdom in Ferryport Landing. This adds to Sabrina's theory that Englishman and Charming are the same person and Charming wants to use the giants to help him own all of Ferryport.

As they look through the books, they find a letter from Granny Relda which tells them to go to the room that she had previously forbidden them from entering. Inside the room, they find a simple, full length mirror. Disappointed, (as they were expecting to find answers or clues to help them rescue Relda and Mr. Canis), they move to leave; however, a bellowing voice stops them. After a brief altercation involving flames and death threats, Daphne identifies the voice from the mirror being that of the magic Mirror, who shows them that Relda and Canis are still alive and tells them that they need the help of the imprisoned Jack the Giant Killer. They hear someone knocking at the front door and are horrified to find that the local authorities - sent by Chamring - have surrounded the property in an attempt to retrieve the two girls. After breaking out of the house, Sabrina and Daphne fly to Ferryport Landing Jail where they meet Jack. He agrees to help them - but for a price: they have to bust him out of jail. In order to distract Ichabod Crane (the only deputy in the office), Sabrina pretends to be the Headless Horseman, terrifying Crane who hands over the keys to Sabrina, letting her release Jack from jail.

Crane tries to stop them upon discovering their true identities, though they are able to escape using the magic carpet.  Puck doubts Jack's intentions and alerts Sabrina to the same but she doesn't pay heed to his words, causing the fairy to storm out - twice. Jack comes up with the plan to sneak into Charming's office during the Ferryport Landing Ball, convinced that Charming is in league with the giant and is planning the next place where the gargantuan Everafter will strike. They go to Mirror in order to get disguises - Jack also wants Dorothy's Slippers which a reluctant Mirror gives Sabrina. After indulging Jack by allowing him to enter the room where the magic beans are kept, Sabrina and Daphne uses the Fairy Godmother's Wand to transform themselves into two Everafters - Momma Bear for Sabrina and the Tin Woodsman for Daphne.

Jack gives the girls walkie talkies as he tells them he can't enter since Charming will have people on the look out for him when they go to Charming's Mansion. They use Dorothy's Slippers in order to transport themselves there and as Sabrina and Daphne enter the line of Everafters waiting to enter, they are stunned to overhear many Everafters talking about their parents. The sisters are shocked to discover their parents may not actually have abandoned them and also that their family is quite hated as many Everafters are eager for the Grimm line to end. A confrontation between the [[Queen of Hearts] and Charming gives Sabrina an opportunity to fish for information, asking if Charming is controlling the giant and if he intends to buy up all of Ferryport Landing. Charming denies such allegations and gets the party back on track, during which time Sabrina break into his office.

Unable to communicate with Jack, she scrutinises the office for clues and find an incriminating map on Charming's desk that plots the moves of the giants and also a video camera that has footage of the beanstalk sprouting up - Sabrina only sees part of the video as she is interrupted in her investigation by Charming hauling a disguised Daphne into his office. She is stunned into silence as he points his cross-bow at them, angrily stating that he has no interest in joining the Scarlet Hand. Sabrina and Daphne have no clue what he means and they frantically try to explain that they are Relda Grimm's grandaughters. Luckily, just before Charming shoots, their disguises wear off. A livid Charming is confronted by a furious Sabrina who shouts at Charming for leading the giant to kidnap her grandmother. She plays the video on the video-recorder, and again, the familiar footage of a beanstalk sprouting up is played. Charming listens to all these accusations and simply laughs, angering Sabrina further. Their attention is drawn to a giant-eye peering in through the window.

Charming summons The Three to deal with the giant, whilst he tries to drag the girls out through the servant's entrance so the Everafters don't see them. However, Sabrina and Daphne refuse to go quietly, thinking that Charming means them harm. They start to scream and shout, drawing the Everafter's attention to them which enrages the magical beings as the majority are anti-Grimm. Before they can all start to attack Sabrina and Daphne, the giant tears a massive hole in the roof, bellowing that he smells the blood of an Englishman. Carnage ensues and an angered Charming yells at the giant that the Englishman is not here, confusing Sabrina and Daphne.

The giant runs away and Charming thanks King Arthur for his help in chasing it off, though his gratitude is shrugged off. Again, both Charming and Sabrina furiously confront each other as the mayor's ball was a failure and he blames the two young Grimms whilst Sabrina in turn yells at him, telling him to help save their grandmother as it is his fault a giant is loose in the first place. Charming then prompts Sabrina to use Dorothy's slippers to get to the Grimm House as he starts to explain to the Grimm sisters that Jack is actually behind the giant's release.

After arriving at the now vandalised house, Charming drags the two Grimms through the magic mirror only to find Mirror himself battered and bruised. Mirror regretfully informs them that Jack had stolen the magic beans that grow gioant beanstalks. The Grimm sisters and Charming retrieve Excalibur and, using Dorothy's Slippers, arrive at Widow's Peak.


Chapter Header Gallery

Foreign Editions

10th Anniversary Edition

Book Sources

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