The Masquerading Magician
by Gigi Pandian
The Masquerading Magician
(An Accidental Alchemist Mystery)
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (January 8, 2016)
Paperback: 336 pages
I had a fun read with the first book in this series so I was really looking forward to this next book.
Zoe is still trying to save Dorian, her suave, gourmet cooking gargoyle friend. He’s slowly turning to stone and will be trapped in his frozen body, eternally awake and unable to move.
Her house is still a wreck. The hole in the roof still waiting for repair. But Zoe is using all of her time and strength trying to decode the alchemist book in order to help Dorian.
Taking a time out for herself, Zoe goes to a magic show, which stirs memories from her past. Brixton, a teenage boy and the only one besides Zoe that knows about Dorian, discovers some disturbing facts about one of the performers, which draws all of them into a murder that takes them down a dangerous path.
I enjoyed this one even more than the first book. Partly because I already knew the characters and knew I was going to get answers to some of my questions.
There’s magic, murder, flashes to a mysterious past, strong characters, humor, and suspense. Enough going on to keep me flipping from page to page, waiting for the next big surprise and those answers I wanted.
I really like Zoe. She’s got a lot to handle and as much as she wants to settle into her new home, she pushes herself past exhaustion to help Dorian.
Dorian is as debonair and witty as usual. And his concern for Zoe is touching.
If we could all have such a friendship, how fortunate we would be.
I hope you give this series a try. And, while you can read this book without having read the first, I recommend you start at the beginning. You’ll have a lot of fun and get to meet the characters and watch them grow.
Deciphering an ancient alchemy book is more difficult than Zoe Faust bargained for. She’d much rather be gardening and exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon—but time is running out for living gargoyle Dorian Robert-Houdin. If Zoe isn’t able to unlock the alchemy book’s secrets soon, the French gargoyle will remain awake but trapped in stone forever.
When Zoe gives herself a rare night out to attend a classic magic show that reminds her of her youth, she realizes the stage magicians are much more than they seem. A murder at the theater leads back to a string of unsolved robberies and murders in Portland’s past, and a mystery far more personal than Zoe and Dorian ever imagined.
About The Author
USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian spent her childhood being dragged around the world by her cultural anthropologist parents, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series (Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and Quicksand) and the Accidental Alchemist mysteries (The Accidental Alchemist and The Masquerading Magician).
Gigi’s debut mystery was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant, the follow-up won the Left Coast Crime Rose Award, and her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards. A breast cancer diagnosis in her thirties taught her two important life lessons: healing foods can taste amazing, and life’s too short to waste a single moment. Find her online at www.gigipandian.com
A Book Excerpt
Persephone & Prometheus’s Phantasmagoria: A Classic Magic Show in the Modern World.
The giant poster was illustrated in the style of Victorian Era stage magic posters. Two figures faced each other from opposite sides of a stage, the larger one in a tuxedo and top hat, the smaller impish figure in a devilish red suit. The taller tuxedoed figure held a wand, pointed upward toward an ethereal floating figure. The devilish man held a ball of fire in his hand.
I smiled to myself as Max and I made our way through the lobby, my fingers looped through his. Some things had changed since the Victorian era. The tuxedo-clad magician in the poster was a woman. Prometheus and Persephone were a husband and wife magic act with equal billing.
Their style reminded me very much of posters of King-of-Cards Thurston and Carter the Great, both of whom used ghost and devil imagery in their posters and shows to illustrate the motif that they were magicians able to control the spirit world. The ambiance felt more like Paris in 1845, on the day Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin took to the stage at the newly-built Palais Royal theater with his ingenious mechanical inventions and masterful sleight-of-hand. But this was a small theater near Portland, Oregon’s Mt. Tabor, over 150 years later. Seeing that poster made me feel like I’d been transported back in time.
I should know. I attended Robert-Houdin’s show over a century ago.
Though I look outwardly like a woman in her late twenties with trendy dyed-white hair who’s named after her grandmother Zoe Faust, the truth is far different. Long before I bought a run-down house in Portland three months ago, I was born in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1676.
A shiver swept over me as a memory of a different time and place overtook me. Casually-dressed Oregonians with cell phones in their pockets became formally-attired members of society who would remember this performance for a lifetime.
I willed myself to remember it wasn’t a taut corset constricting my breathing, but my own nerves. I had thought tonight’s opening performance would be the perfect way to spend time with Max after he’d been away, but could I trust myself with him? I couldn’t tell him the truth about my past, no matter how much I wanted to.
Maybe this had been a terrible idea.
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