Teeny Book Reviews: The Glass Thief by Gigi Pandian and Edisto Tidings by C. Hope Clark @GigiPandian @HeneryPress @hopeclark @Bellebooks

The Glass Thief
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #6
Gigi Pandian
Henery Press, November 2019
ISBN 978-1-63511-555-0
Trade Paperback

When I read the first Jaya Jones mystery, I thought, “Aha, the lady version of Indiana Jones!” and I’ve been a big fan ever since. After that first book, I’ve gone on a number of adventures with historian Jaya and have enjoyed every one of them.

This time, our treasure-hunting, ghostbusting heroine gets dragged into a locked room mystery involving a French family with a sordid history of Cambodian treasure looting, a resident ghost and several murders that have all (coincidentally?) occurred in their mansion two nights before Christmas. Perhaps most puzzling, a famous novelist is writing a new book and needs her help in a very odd way. Not only that, Jaya’s boyfriend, Lane, throws her for a loop and may have brought their relationship to an abrupt end.

The story takes place in San Francisco, Paris and the exotic land of Cambodia and I felt like an armchair traveler the whole time because Ms. Pandian is so good with settings. Jaya is on the hunt for the elusive Serpent King sculpture which has mysteriously vanished from the Delacroix home and the twists and turns abound, enough to keep me on tenterhooks as I waffled from one possible solution to another. That’s another thing the author does well—dream up a boatload of threads that may or may not connect to each other.

As always, Jaya’s friends are appealing and as well drawn as you could possibly want although Jaya is on her own through much of the tale. By the way, anyone with a taste for scrumptious food will be drooling over the dishes the author has everyone chowing down on—as I write this, I’m craving some mouthwatering Indian delicacies 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

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Edisto Tidings
An Edisto Island Mystery #6
C. Hope Clark
Bell Bridge Books, October 2019
ISBN 978-1-61194-956-8
Trade Paperback

As you can see, I’m a little out of season with this book as the story takes place at Christmas but, never you mind, a good story is a good story no matter when, right?

And a good one this is. Police Chief Callie Morgan is called to the scene of a murder—or is it a murder? There’s a body for sure, and it was found on a vacant lot owned by a contentious local, but there’s a very personal twist in that the victim is her biological mother’s husband. Obviously, Sarah, Callie’s mother, has to be a prime suspect along with the lot’s owner who also knew the victim.

Meanwhile, Callie also has to deal with a number of thefts that seem to be perpetrated by Santa. Somebody is stealing Christmas presents but might have an altruistic if criminal purpose. The resort town’s short-term rental visitors will be leaving in a few days and, if any of them are involved in these crimes, Callie’s timing had better be good. Fortunately, some of her friends are quite helpful when it comes to solving crimes and the police department staff is intelligent and reliable.

I really like this series, largely because Callie is so normal; she’s not on a power trip, she has heavy-duty baggage but is coping as well as one could hope, she’s smart as a whip and she cares about her job and the people she serves. Callie is a former big city cop so she has some skills not always easily found in small town departments but she also knows that the people of Edisto Island are not the least bit backward or dumb. In other words, she fits in well.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

Book Review: Artifact by Gigi Pandian—and a Giveaway

Artifact
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Gigi Pandian
Gargoyle Girl Productions, August 2012
ISBN 978-1-938213-00-7
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she’s not the only one on the trail.

From San Francisco to London to the Highlands of Scotland, Jaya must evade a shadowy stalker as she follows hints from the hastily scrawled note of her dead lover to a remote archaeological dig. Helping her decipher the cryptic clues are her magician best friend, a devastatingly handsome art historian with something to hide, and a charming archaeologist running for his life.

Leave a comment below to enter the drawing

for a copy of Artifact by Gigi Pandian.

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One of my bookclubs chooses mysteries by theme rather than by title or author and each member reads one or more books that fit the theme. This month, it’s “Scientific Occupations” so when I was given the opportunity to read Artifact, I thought, how perfect, I can kill the proverbial two birds and, hopefully, enjoy the double task.

And enjoy it I have. Artifact is a well-done entry in the field of archaeological mysteries with a taste of the historical British India that we westerners don’t often get. Jaya and art historian Lane Peters, a new acquaintance with an interest in the potential treasure, follow up leads to find the rest of the jewels and get to the bottom of why Jaya’s ex-boyfriend, Rupert, sent a piece to her. The fact that he died just after sending the package is too much of a coincidence and both Jaya and Lane have suspicions about the people they come across during the hunt.

Secondary characters, such as Professor Malcolm Alpin, Rupert’s best friend, Knox Bailey, and a pub regular named Fergus with a fervent belief in a dark fayrie known as the bean nighe lend a richness to the tale.  (Even the Tuatha Dé Danann, a group of former Irish deities, come into the mix and that appealed to me as they are an integral part of another series I love dearly.) Twists abound and Jaya finds that there is much she doesn’t know about some of the people involved. Add in the gloomy, menacing environment of a rainy, rocky coast and an arrest that takes Jaya completely by surprise and you have the makings of an atmospheric, fast-paced mystery.

Ms. Pandian received the Malice Domestic Grant, awarded to foster unpublished writers working in the traditional mystery genre, and any readers who are reluctant to pick up a self-published novel can rest assured they won’t be wasting their time with this one. Ms. Pandian proved herself to people who are actively involved in and supportive of the good work of undiscovered mystery writers and she proved to me that they weren’t mistaken. Artifact is the first of a series and I am already looking forward to the next treasure hunt.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2012.


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You have two chances to enter the drawing for a copy of

Artifact by Gigi Pandian. Leave a comment below and then

again on September 16th on Gigi’s guest post. The winning

name will be drawn on the evening of September 17th.