Toby Daye is a private investigator. She's also a changeling — daughter of a faerie creature of the Summerlands and a human. A loyal knight, she was investigating the disappearance of her liege's daughter. Her liege's Evil Twin busted her doing it, and the consequences of being caught cost her fourteen years of her life and everything that mattered to her.As a result, Toby cut herself off from dealing with the fae world, and lived as a recluse and hiding her fae appearance under spells and illusions, until another fae, with her dying breath, geased a reluctant Toby via answering machine to solve her murder.This is where the adventure in Rosemary and Rue starts. Toby must return to the fae community to solve the case or literally die trying thanks to the geas. To her astonishment, the fae community is happy to have her back. And once she solves this case, she only finds more to do.So far, the series comprises:
Rosemary and Rue (September 2009)
A Local Habitation (March 2010)
An Artificial Night (September 2010)
Late Eclipses (March 2011)
One Salt Sea (September 2011)
Ashes of Honor (September 2012)
"Rat-Catcher", which focuses on the early backstory of Tybalt, published in A Fantasy Medley 2.
"Through This House", which fills in a few gaps between Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea, published in Home Improvement: Undead Edition. A few fragments have also found their way around.
"In Sea-Salt Tears", a prequel to One Salt Sea.
The author, Seanan McGuire, has sold the first ten Toby books. The upcoming ones are:
After-Action Patchup: After landing ALH through the gate in Ashes Of Honor, the first consideration is treating Tybalt's injuries; they talk as they go.
Alien Geometries - Knowes tend to have these. ALH's knowe in particular. Windows look out at different times of day. You can walk down a hall and be three floors higher at the other end than you started.
Cats Are Magic: Faerie superstition goes that, so long as a cat exists, the memory of the fae will go on.
Cats Are Mean: This is a truism for the entire Cait Sidhe population. Their rites of ascension are all barbarous and bloody — a royal kitten is not considered worthy for ascension if they can't hold their own in a fight.
Cats Are Superior: The entire Cait Sidhe population have smugness as a racial trait, at least this is what Toby thinks when she meets Raj. It might have something to do with them being specifically outside of the political structure that strangles Faerie. There is nothing the royals can actually do to the Cait Sidhe and they are well aware of this detail.
Cats Have Nine Lives: One of the boons of being the local King or Queen of cats is more than one life, but not as many as nine. Tybalt doesn't share the exact number.
Character Witness: The cab driver who befriends Toby tells her that her money is no good here due to Toby's having helped his sister. But he also stands as a literal character witness when one of the royals tries to set Toby up in a slanted trial.
Amandine is deceptive to Toby and pretty much most of the rest of the faerie about Toby's true bloodlines.
in Ashes of Honor. Bridget is a folklore professor and knows that the father of her child isn't human, but because all she has is folklore, she gets a lot wrong about what he really is. Of course, she passes the wrong info to her child, with the best of intentions and desire to protect.
Disappeared Dad: Mainly because he was unaware of the child's existence, Sir Etienne of Shadowed Hills.
Doppelgänger: Cruelly, cruelly used in Rosemary and Rue: an assassin takes the shape of Toby's now-teenage and very estranged daughter Gillian.
In the third book, Toby meets her fetch, a perfect copy of herself that is supposed to guide her to her death.
Dying Declaration of Love: Tybalt, after just barely surviving an attack on his life, finally tells Toby how he feels about her. But it turns out not to really be a dying declaration as medical attention gets administered shortly thereafter.
The Fair Folk: In modern times, with changelings; some handle this well, some don't.
Fantastic Racism: Changelings are thought of as less by the pureblood fae, and some of them are very nasty about it.
Fate Worse Than Death: Arguably, what happens to everyone who dies at ALH, because their memories aren't preserved by the nighthaunts. January doesn't even get digitized into the computer, so she's the first truly gone fairy in a long time.
Fingore: Kidnapper sends the finger of the victim to the victim's family in One Salt Sea.
Fisher King: The knowes reflect the styles of their owners/rulers, and mourn if their owner/ruler is killed.
Subverted with Goldengreen: As of One Salt Sea, Toby regards the pixies and bogeys as the owners of the knowe because the knowe does... and possibly because Toby is a changeling rather than a pureblood. This changes when Dean becomes Count of Goldengreen.
Flower Motifs: Luna gives Connor a basket of love-lies-a-bleeding and love-in-idleness.
Friendship Moment: the Luidaeg has lots of these in book 3, but the ending in particular is a nice one. Ditto book 5.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Toby's scars from the bullets with which she was shot during her first adventure are significant in the second, as she draws attention to them to advise her Sidekick that it isn't all fun and games.
Groin Attack: Etienne does this to Dugan the Daoine Sidhe since the latter was holding an iron knife and that meant that all bets were off regarding a fair fight.
Half-Human Hybrid: And various other fractions, which also affect how well they pass for human.
Heroic Sacrifice: Connor the Selkie jumped in front of a projectile meant for October's daughter Gillian.
He's Dead, Jim: The fae don't handle death well. But they can tell when someone's died: "She was cold and didn't respond to us calling her name!"
Mama Bear: Toby. Although Stacy is a mother whose kids are still present, she falls apart when they're endangered. Toby, on the other hand rushes to the rescue of other people's children (and her own), and Oberon help anything that gets in her way.
The trait runs in the family. In Late Eclipses, we see that Amandine will mess you up if you threaten her child.
Missing Mom: Toby's missing 14 years caused her to be one without her consent.
Amandine is counted among the missing as well, though she does show up when the chips are down.
Muggles: The humans who wander the world unaware that the faerie are real. Toby worked among them in Rosemary and Rue and stayed in a hotel full of them in A Local Habitation.
Never Say "Die": Played with; the fae, left unmolested, are pretty much immortal. Not so much the changelings. When murder happens, though, among the nobility, there are explicit and elaborate forms full of flowery euphemisms for announcing when someone has died. Usually shortened to "(Person) has stopped their dancing."
Pink Elephants: Toby hopes that a shrieking mermaid in a wheelchair will be taken for this.
Powered by a Forsaken Child: Subverted. April is ALH's intercom system. She was a dryad who lost her tree, so they worked her into the circuitry of a server to save her.
The endangered child in Ashes of Honor is pretty much used as a generator for teleportation magic to the point of being used up.
Power Nullifier: Mixed up by Walther for Toby in Book 6 in case it worked on the child Toby was hired to find. Unfortunately, due to extreme injury, Toby didn't get to tell anyone that there was a counteragent to it that could be used within a certain time limit for anyone who got the nullifier on them besides the target. Whoops.
Teleportation: The province of the Tuatha De Danaan, and several other fae.
Temporal Theme Naming: So far, in addition to October, we've seen a January, an April, a May, and a June. January and April are related by adoption. May was originally October's Fetch. In the third book, Lily comments, "Whatever will we do when the months of the year are used entirely?" Word Of God says that in Faerie, it's rude to name someone directly after someone else, but honoring somebody by using a name with a related meaning is acceptable. October's name is somehow connected with September Torquill, January's mother.
Gillian means "July". Word Of God says this is deliberate.
Tybalt has a number of nicknames for Toby, several of which she hates, but only calls her October when he's very worried about her.
You Have Failed Me: Played with. Overdramatic Etienne, wracked with guilt over a slip of discretion during Toby's missing years makes him feel this way, although Sylvester Torquill is one of the kindest, nicest, and most forgiving of the fae — and that's saying a lot given how nasty most of the powerful ones are.
You Must Be Cold: Six pages into A Local Habitation, Tybalt lends Toby his leather jacket because "You look cold." As of the end of Late Eclipses, three books later, she still has it. Tybalt goes off with it and then returns it via May in One Salt Sea.