My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Under Lock & Skeleton Key is a gothic locked-room cozy mystery by Gigi Pandian. The eBook version is 352 pages.
Tempest Raj is a magician from a family suffering from an infamous curse where the eldest child dies by magic. After an horrible accident during one of her Las Vegas performances, she loses her contract at the venue along with her house due to legal repercussions as she was blamed for the issue. Heading back to her childhood home to rest and hide out for a while seems like a good idea.
Her father owns a construction company which specializes in hidden rooms, interesting and intricate locks, and other cool things like that. But when she visits their latest project, the crew finds her former stage double dead inside a wall. But that wall had supposedly been sealed for at least the past 50 years. Worried that the family curse is finally coming for her and that she was the actual intended victim, she decides to figure out what really happened.
This was a really fun book, and my first read from the author. I’m absolutely going to check out her back catalogue. Chapters are pretty short, so it was like potato chip reading for me; I read the last 45% in one sitting.
There’s a lot of diversity in this book, least of which in Tempest’s own family as her maternal grandparents are from Scotland and India and her father was adopted and is not quite sure of his own heritage. The main character is in her mid-20s but it reads very New Adult to me, so this may be a great option for someone who typically reads YA mysteries and is looking to try some adult titles.
If you like food, that’s also a big part of the book as well as her grandfather Ash is a chef. There are a few recipes included at the end of the book as well! I’m excited to try out the cardamom shortbread cookies for sure. All of the recipes are vegetarian and could easily be made vegan.
Tropes in this book include: locked-room mystery, cozy mystery, gothic mystery, family curse, multicultural
CW: death, murder, near-drowning (referenced, not shown)
Special thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley, who provided an eARC for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
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Under Lock & Skeleton Key is a fun and delicious first entry in a new gothic cozy mystery series by Gigi Pandian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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