Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi PandianUnder Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian
Series: Secret Staircase Mystery #1
Published by Minotaur Books on March 15, 2022
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Also by this author: The Raven Thief
Also in this series: The Raven Thief

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About Under Lock & Skeleton Key

UNDER LOCK AND KEY by Gigi Pandian is an incredible locked-room mystery that enthralled me from start to finish. Tempest Raj is a stage magician from a long line of (some say cursed) performers. A near-deadly mishap during a performance costs her a lucrative Las Vegas contract and few believe her when she says her assistant set her up.

Tempest returns home to regroup, enjoy her grandfather’s incredible Indian fusion cooking, and figure out what went wrong. When she visits her father’s latest project, creating a secret room in a historic house, things take an even darker turn. Tempest’s assistant’s body is found in a sealed-up room. She’s going to need every bit of knowledge gleaned from classic locked room mysteries and all of her stage magician know-how about misdirection to figure out how the body got there and why. More importantly, was Tempest the intended victim? Did she just miss being the latest casualty of the family curse that claims the firstborn of each generation?

My thoughts about Under Lock & Skeleton Key

First, I love the nod to classic Nancy Drew books with the series name – Secret Staircase Mysteries.

This ticked so many boxes for me! 

  • Love for classic mysteries, especially locked rooms
  • Secret rooms and passageways – Tempest’s family home sounds like a dream come true
  • Hauntings – especially if there’s potential for a Scooby Doo unmasking of a faker
  • Family curses
  • Reunions with estranged BFFs
  • Glorious food – the descriptions of her grandfather’s cooking had my mouth watering
  • A diverse cast of characters

Tempest was so relatable in her determination to not be defeated and to get to the bottom of what was going on. Her loyalty to her family and friends was heartwarming. The extended family that her father created with his business made me happy.

So many quirky characters that I wanted to hang out with. A library with a train car! A secret garden! So many amazing places. The author’s gift for writing captivating and lush descriptions is incredible.

And the mystery kept me guessing right up to the end.

In conclusion

If you’re a fan of classic mysteries – think John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie – give this a try.

Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC.

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