The Alchemist's Apprentice by Dave Duncan
The 1st in Duncan's series set in an alternate Renaissance Venice focusing on Nostradamus and his apprentice. The unlikely duo are in trouble, an old friend of the ruling Doge has been poisoned. This is bad timing as Nostradamus predicted bad tidings in the man's future. Now foul whisperings are afoot and loyal apprentice Alfeo Zeno must save the day and unmask a cunning killer, before his aged, decrepit master embarrasses him by solving the case first.
This is a funny, cynical whodunit with great period detail, a fascinating cast, adventure, charm,and lively adventure.
Terribly Twisted Tales edited by Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg
This DAW anthology gives us a collection of familiar fairy tales retold with a twist. This is a very good collection with many stories to savour. A sample of the tales told within are:
Once They Were Seven
An icy cold, incredibly sad and terribly bleak sequel to 'Snow White'. After the happily ever after, it all went terribly wrong. This is an excellent story.
A Charming Murder
After the happily ever after someone beat Cinderella to death with her own glass slipper. But what was the motive? One of the Ugly Stepsister's reveals some previously unknown facts about Cinderella. This is a deliciously cynical take on the familiar tale and is very good.
No Good Deed
In a far flung space war, no good deed however well intentioned goes unpunished. This futuristic updating of an old tale is very, very good.
The Red Path
A wonderfully dark take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' which twists the tale into a whole different direction.
Rapunzel Strikes Back
In a modern day slum, a 'princess' in her 'tower' is held captive. But nobody's coming to rescue her. She has to rescue herself. This is good.
For once a genie granting wishes doesn't end horrifically. This is okay.
The Adventure of the Red Riding Hoods
This is a very bizarre mish mash of everything from fairy tales to Sherlock Holmes and it works. It's a good read with an interesting mystery.