Gigi Pandian's The Accidental Alchemist, Zoe Faust is an herbalist and alchemist and newly relocated to Portland. While she is unpacking her belongings, she is stunned to find a living, breathing, three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle.
Dorian Robert-Houdin needs Zoe's help to decipher a centuries-old text that will keep him from gradually turning back into stone. Oh and did I mention he is a gourmet cook. Zoe is a vegan so Dorian prepares some of the most delicious vegan meals.
But an eavesdropping teenager named Brixton complicates the secret of the gargoyle and it takes every ounce of energy Zoe has to keep him quiet. Before Zoe has a chance to study the text, she finds the body of her contractor at the base of her front porch and the manuscript is stolen from her house.
As Zoe stands over the body she detects the scent of poison that transports her back to her days in Salem, Massachusetts. That was her first experience with death and the Salem Witch Trials were going on. An irrational sense of fear shakes her back to present day.
While the police investigate the murder, from stabbing, not poison, Zoe amplifies her search for the manuscript. Each day Dorian has more difficulty transforming his body from stone, and the matter becomes more urgent.
Throw in a real poisoning, smugglers tunnels and three teenagers and the plot thickens!
I really enjoyed this book and got the biggest kick out of the French chef gargoyle. Not sure I would be eating many of the vegan meals, but hey, to each her own.
Gigi Pandian is also the author of the Jenna Jones mysteries. Click for a MapYourMystery review. For more books by Gigi Pandian, click here.