A Fey Tale: a fantasy cosy mystery by Karen J Carlisle

Greetings fairy tale fans! Things have been pretty busy over here in the Darqueling-verse, but I’m never too busy to help out a friend with her book launch 🙂 Karen is joining me today to talk about her new release. Take it away Karen!


I love twisting history, mixing fantasy with reality. I often do this with steampunk, but occasionally I delve more into fantasy. The Aunt Enid Mysteries are cosy mysteries, with a slightly darker edge, as are many of the ‘Australian’ cosy genre. The series mixes fantasy and legends with everyday life. To most humans it’s a hidden undercurrent lurking just out of sight, with potential to aid or destroy. 

In the first book of The Aunt Enid Mysteries, we met Enid Turner, She’s your average seventy-something year old. She loves to cook, crochet, is a regular at bingo, and spends hours in her garden, talking to her army of garden gnomes and fussing over the colour of her hydrangeas.

Now Aunt Enid’s back, but something’s changed. A Fey Tale is a prequel, set in 1920 Adelaide during the visit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There’s a deal with fairies, a troll under a bridge, and ‘fairy door’ portals to Otherworlds. It’s not officially a fairytale but is a tale with Fae.

A deal with fairies, to solve a mystery, and prevent a war.

Fairies and magic: It’s all real!

Enid Turner is invited to a picnic in honour of the creator of the world’s most famous detective, currently on a lecture tour in Adelaide, where they are caught in a web of treachery and betrayal from the Otherworlds.

It’s up to Aunt Enid and the Protectors, with a little help from the self-appointed Fairy Hunter, to solve the mystery, return the kidnapped heir and save the humans from Otherworldly retribution. It’s now a race to save the Earth from becoming a battleground for a magical war.

A Fey Tale World Building

The Aunt Enid Mysteries are set in Adelaide, South Australia.

In Aunt Enid’s world, traditional legends and lore are usually based on alternate realities of the ‘Otherworlds’, both alien and mythical. These worlds touch ours at ‘Thin Places’, providing portals between realities, and a surfeit of potential adversaries for our Protectors.

With the arrival of non-indigenous cultures to Australia, the ‘balance’ of these Thin Places was disrupted, making them more unstable. There’s a certain psychological element to which worlds can be accessed. Each new culture introduces or strengthens ties to even more Otherworlds, drawing them closer, until they converge with ours.

At certain times, and under certain conditions, the protective ‘shell’ between these worlds blur or breakdown, forming a bridge between our world and the Otherworlds. Think of Adelaide as Ground Zero or a Hell Mouth. The extreme heat of our summers, especially in climate change-challenged times, and its alkaline soil make it even easier for psychic or magical power to break through the barriers. Hence the need for Aunt Enid and the Protectors.

In Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire, it was an extraordinarily long, hot summer, and Darkness was attempting to cross into our world. In A Fey Tale, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – a believer in fairies and Spiritualism – is guest of honour at a picnic at Humbug Scrub, one of my Thin Places. 

But not all Fae are innocuous paper cut-outs from children’s stories. Fae are fickle. Fae are cunning. And Fae are definitely not to be trusted.

In Scottish mythology, there are two types of Fae: the Seelie Court (unpredictable fairies who may aid humans) and the Unseelie Court (malevolent fairies). Stories such as the ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, The Queen of Elphame, and The Wild Hunt, tell of encounters with fae and their wily ways.

Such Scottish tales inspired the creation of my Otherworlds, many with my interpretation of possible origin stories of the Seelie and Unseelie courts. 

In A Fey Tale, Doyle’s beliefs strengthened access to the land of Fae. Add in Adelaide’s mysterious ‘fairy doors’ found scattered throughout the city centre, and stories about strange lights seen at local wildlife sanctuary Humbug Scrub, and I had all the makings of a mystery to be solved.

Get you copy of A Fey Tale at book blog special price

For more stops on the book blog tour, visit: https://karenjcarlisle.com/2021/12/17/a-fey-tale-book-blog-tour-schedule/ 

Karen J Carlisle is a writer and illustrator of steampunk, Victorian mysteries and fantasy. She was short-listed in Australian Literature Review’s 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. She is currently writing the second book in her cosy fantasy mystery series, set in Adelaide. Her short stories have featured in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’, ‘Where’s Holmes?’ and ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your world with us, Karen! If you want to find out more, check out all these places to follow Karen on the web.


Website: www.karenjcarlisle.com 

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KarenJCarlisle 

Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/karenjcarlisle 

Newsletter: https://karenjcarlisle.com/sign-up-email-list/ 

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/ap/nmAy7z/Karen-J-Carlisle 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenjcarlisle/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenJCarlisle 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kjcarlisle 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/riverkat42/ 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s