Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones Mysteries were a pleasant surprise for me. I’d discovered her Accidental Alchemist series by … well … by accident, and found them really unique and great fun to read. I sought out her other works and came across the Jaya Jones series. Think, female Indiana Jones, but cleverer.
This book is a collection of short stories in the Jaya Jones series. There are eight short stories and one “bonus” novella (what makes it a bonus when it comes between the covers of a book? The fact that it’s not a short story?) included here, most of which have been published in various magazines or anthologies, but one of which at least is new to this collection. Since I almost never read mystery short stories, these are all new me.
Not everyone can write short stories and novels – the two forms are different enough to make it challenging. But it impresses me how Pandian is able to write as smoothly here – giving us thoughtful, challenging, mystery plots for some of her familiar characters.
It’s hard to pick a favorite here, as I liked them all quite a bit. “The Hindi Houdini” stands out to me – Sanjay Rai is the main character here and it’s a good mystery. His is also the main character in “The Curse of Cloud Castle.”
Pandian’s first published work, “The Shadow of the Rover” is also included here. It was interesting to note that this is the only work featuring Jaya Jones that has a different narrator. While I enjoyed the story, this was not a piece that would have driven me to seeking more of her work.
In addition to appreciating Gigi Pandian’s writing a little more, this book has also opened me up to reading more short story mysteries. Any recommendations?
This book contains the following:
Introduction: Why Do We Like Our Rooms Locked? by Laurie R. King
Foreword: In the Tradition of John Dickson Carr by Douglas G. Greene
“The Cambodian Curse”
“The Hindi Houdini”
“The Haunted Room”
“The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn”
“The Curse of Cloud Castle”
“Tempest in a Teapot”
“A Dark and Stormy Light”
“The Shadow of the River”
Looking for a good book? Whether you’ve read any of Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones mystery books before, or not, this collection of short mystery stories, The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories, is worth reading,
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories
author: Gigi Pandian
series: Jaya Jones Treasure hunt Mystery
publisher: Henery Press
paperback, 270 pages