With Tempest Raj now a member of the company, Secret Staircase Construction (a company who, as their title suggests, builds mystery-themed, secret rooms inside homes) has finished their first job. Their client now wants to celebrate to kick off her new beginning – new home and new life now that she’s divorced from her cheating ex-husband, famous mystery author Corbin Colt. First up, a mock séance to remove any trace of Corbin from the property, led by Tempest’s friend, Sanjay.
But during that séance, while all those gathered sat in a dark room holding hands, Corbin’s dead body crashes the party, falling across the table in front of everyone.
There were eight people in the room, and they were all holding hands, but all the evidence points to one of them being the murderer. Suspicions point to Ash, Tempest’s grandfather, because he was the only one with Corbin’s blood on him. Of course, as a doctor, he was also the only one who checked on the body – wherein he acquired the blood. Still, it doesn’t look good, and it appears that Tempest may be Grandpa Ash’s only hope of proving his innocence.
I have reviewed nine Gigi Pandian books in the past nine years and I think she just keeps getting better and better. One of her writing strengths (among many) is in creating a ‘locked room mystery.’ This fits that mold perfectly
The characters are all well defined and unique. Tempest is a wonderful protagonist because like all humans, she’s flawed. The series starts on the premise that Tempest used to have a big magic show in Las Vegas (she’s an illusionist), but something went wrong as a result of sabotage, and now she’s more than a bit shy about performing. But her love of magic and illusion hasn’t left her, nor has her interest in puzzles, which makes her ideally suited to trying to solve a mystery that otherwise seems unsolvable (a locked room mystery).
The mystery is really solid – it does seem like a pretty impossible situation (how does a man suddenly appear dead in the middle of a closed room where everyone is literally connected to one another?) – but I do have to say that the ultimate resolution is just a little bit of a let-down. But only a little bit. And fortunately, while this is a mystery, it’s really a story about these people and their relationships and it’s these relationships that keep us wanting to read more of their stories.
Looking for a good book? The Raven Thief by Gigi Pandian is another top-notch story that builds on interesting characters and seemingly impossible murders.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Raven Thief
author: Gigi Pandian
series: Secret Staircase Mystery #2
publisher: Minotaur Books
hardcover, 320 pages