"Wildly entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review
Known for her wonderfully addictive characters, multiple award-winning author Gigi Pandian introduces her newest heroine in this heartfelt series debut. Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers stunning architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries that will leave readers enchanted.
An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.
After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her.
Pandian (the Accidental Alchemist mysteries) is in top form in this thoroughly enjoyable series launch starring 26-year-old Tempest Raj, a Las Vegas, Nev., magician, who returns home to California after a stage accident engineered, she's sure, by her stunt double, Cassidy Sparrow destroyed her career. Tempest's family runs a business, Secret Staircase Construction, which specializes in constructing houses with secret passageways, sliding bookcases, and hidden entrances, and on the site of her father's latest job she discovers Cassidy's body inside a wall that's been sealed for decades. Could Tempest have been the intended victim? As Tempest struggles to solve the puzzle of Cassidy's death, she reconnects with her family largely through her grandfather's cooking and a host of lovingly described plant-based recipes that will make even a non-vegan's mouth water. Pandian negotiates the fine line between the magician's pledge not to reveal their secrets and the mystery writer's equally important promise to play fair with the reader by keeping most of the magic tricks offstage. Never mind that the solution of the impossible murder isn't more central to the story. Lovers of traditional mysteries with quirky characters will be well rewarded. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary.
Best book I ever read & than some.