Tuesday, March 15, 2022

"Under Lock & Skeleton Key"

Gigi Pandian is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning mystery author, breast cancer survivor, and accidental almost-vegan. The child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India, she spent her childhood being dragged around the world on their research trips and now lives outside San Francisco. She’s been awarded Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Derringer awards, and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color. Pandian writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and Secret Staircase mysteries—beginning with Under Lock & Skeleton Key.

Pandian applied the Page 69 Test to Under Lock & Skeleton Key, and reported the following:
Turning to page 69, we find Tempest Raj in a quiet moment in the aftermath of a big discovery about the supposed family curse that’s plagued her family for generations. (Abra, short for Abracadabra, is Tempest’s large lop-eared rabbit.)
Tempest picked up Abra. “I’ll take Abra back to his hutch. Don’t worry, I won’t leave Fiddler’s Folly.”

Along the highest slope of the hillside, a partially constructed stone turret sat abandoned. Christened Secret Fort by Tempest’s mom, the structure was one of Secret Staircase Construction’s “lesson-learned experiments”—a term Emma and Darius preferred over “failed experiment.”

The idea was to build a freestanding stone structure in the style of a medieval castle. Emma had spent quite a bit of time on it the year before she vanished.

It wasn’t a practical project, and Darius hadn’t had time to help her with it while he was managing the crew on several large jobs, but Emma had a story in mind to tell about a magical castle turret, so she spent her extra time giving it a go.
That’s from the middle of the page, because I didn’t want to reveal a spoiler at the top of the page!

It’s a representative moment, because the book is filled with whimsical architectural details, plus it shows the magical sentiment of the Secret Staircase Construction business Tempest’s family owns. The premise of this unique construction company: What happens when a carpenter and a stage magician fall in love? They form a Secret Staircase Construction business to bring magic to people through their homes.
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--Marshal Zeringue