The Osgood Casebook: The Nurseryland Mysteries by Herschel Cozine
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (62 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Nathaniel P. Osgood III, Nurseryland’s one and only private eye, makes his living by investigating and solving nursery rhyme and fairy tale mysteries as only he can do. Get the story behind the terrible fall of Humpty Dumpty, the brutal murder of Cock Robin, the attack of the blackbirds, and other mysteries surrounding Nurseryland.
A lot can happen between now and happily ever after.
“The Shady Snow White” barely needs an introduction at all. In it Nathaniel P. Osgood III is hired by seven irritated little men to figure out what really happened with Snow White. I can’t share what was annoying them without giving away spoilers, but this twist on the original legend was clever and entertaining. It’s the sort of idea that works great for something this length but would also be interesting to see expanded into a novella or full-length book.
There were times when some of these stories felt too cluttered with characters. “A Sheep’s Tale” caught my attention right away because I’ve always been partial to the Little Bo Peep rhyme. The mystery itself in it was fun, but the plot was often distracted by references to the other characters who live in this universe but who weren’t closely involved in what happened to Bo Peep’s sheep. While I understand that all of these short stories are supposed to be connected to one another, the pacing would have flowed more smoothly had there been fewer attempts to show how everyone interacts.
“The Porridge Incident” describes what happened when Greta Goldilocks is accused of breaking into the Bear family home and causing some damage to their property. The concept was as clever as it’s ending. I especially enjoyed seeing how Nathaniel reacts to the famous Nurseryland characters he interviews along the way.
Longterm fans of this series will find a few playful references to earlier works along the way, but you don’t actually need to know anything about Nathaniel P. Osgood III or his community in order to enjoy this collection.
The Osgood Casebook: The Nurseryland Mysteries is a good choice for anyone who is fan of modern twists on traditional nursery rhymes.