Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Alchemist's Illusion by Gigi Pandian

Art and history combine in Gigi Pandian's fourth Accidental Alchemist mystery, The Alchemist's Illusion. Although you can easily start with this one, I'd love to have started with the first one in which alchemist Zoe Faust first meets the gargoyle/chef Dorian. Now, if that sentence doesn't draw you in, the book probably isn't for you.

Zoe Faust is a centuries-old alchemist who lives in Portland, Oregon with her best friend and roommate, Dorian Robert-Houdin. While he was originally carved for the 1850s renovation of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, he was accidentally brought to life through alchemy. And, Zoe stopped aging at the age of twenty-eight after she discovered the Elixir of Life in 1704.

Now, though, she's made another discovery. In a small art gallery, she finds a painting of her mentor Nicolas Flamel. She hasn't seen him in over 300 years. She never knew Nicolas to sit for a portrait. But, before she can learn more about the painting, a woman accuses Zoe of murder. The woman's husband, artist Logan Magnus, supposedly killed himself two weeks earlier. But, there are suspicions that the man might have been forced to drink his paints.

Zoe has a couple investigations on her hands. Does it help when a friend, another alchemist, shows up at her house? Tobias was a slave Zoe met when she was doing her small part for the Underground Railroad. Now, after his wife has died, he's in Portland. But, the local police find his story suspicious, and think he might know more about art forgeries and Logan Magnus' death than he's letting on.

Pandian's latest book is a complex mystery involving two storylines, art, murder, and alchemy. While the storyline is intriguing, the unusual characters bring The Alchemist's Illusion to life. As I said, you can start with this one. But, why would you want to do that?

Gigi Pandian's website is

The Alchemist's Illusion by Gigi Pandian. Midnight Ink, 2019. ISBN 9780738753010 (paperback), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Deb said...

I really do need to read this series! I keep forgetting to look for it at the library.
This cover, and all of the covers, of this series are fantastic!

Lesa said...

Not only that, Deb, it's in the works for a TV series. Of course, that could be a while yet.

LuAnn Braley said...

I read the Masquerading Magician (Book 2) of the series and enjoyed it immensely. Glad to know the series continues!

Gram said...

The first one is on my library list..I hope to get to it soon.