REVIEW: “Bonne Chance Confidential” by Jack Bates

Review of Jack Bates, “Bonne Chance Confidential” in Rhonda Parrish, ed., Grimm, Grit, and Gasoline: Dieselpunk and Decopunk Fairy Tales, (World Weaver Press, 2019): 77-100 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

This was quite the mishmash of references to fairy tales and folk tales, with a sheriff from Nottingham, a Rumple-without-a-stiltskin, fairies named Fee, and a plot that was unsure whether it was Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. My feelings about the story were also a bit of a mishmash — on the one hand, there were a lot of info dumps, I’m pretty sure women weren’t snidely called “plus-sized” in the 1920s, the use of spells felt a bit clumsy, and I was really put off by the pompous author’s note. But on the other hand, I loved how the main character, a private detective in the 1920s, was female without any sort of narrative apology and another character was non-binary, and both of these things went a long way to mitigating the other issues, in terms of enjoyment.

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