I'm going to commit heresy here. I was never a big fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody mysteries. I liked her Jacqueline Kirby books since Kirby was a librarian. But, I truly loved the Vicky Bliss mysteries. Vicky Bliss was an art historian who was an expert in lost museum treasures. Those mysteries were exciting capers, and had a touch of romance. It's the highest compliment I can pay to Gigi Pandian's debut mystery, Artifact, to say it reminds me of Peters' Vicky Bliss stories.
Jaya Jones is a historian and professor in California, living in a house owned by a Russian landlady, and playing her tabla drums at night with a magician as her partner. She has a casual, laid-back California life until she receives a package in the mail. Her former lover, Rupert, mailed it from Scotland. Since Jaya had just received a newspaper clipping about Rupert's death, she recognized the postmark as the day he died in a car accident. Why did he send her a ruby bracelet? His note said she was the only one he could trust.
Jaya's field of expertise is the history of the British East India Company, so she seeks out an expert to tell her about the piece of jewelry. That's how she ends up meeting Lane Peters, an Indian jewelry expert. That doesn't explain how she and Lane end up on a plane to Scotland, looking for the story behind the bracelet. When Jaya's apartment was broken into, and she and Lane were followed, she was convinced someone had murdered Rupert. Since he was working on an archaeological dig in Scotland, the answers must be there. She wants to find the person who killed Rupert. Lane wants to find a treasure. And, he warns her. "We're not the police. We're historians. We know how to find missing pieces of history. Not attempted murderers."
"We know how to find missing pieces of history." With that one sentence, Gigi Pandian opens a whole world of possibilities for her Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series. This escapade takes her to Scotland, but there is an entire world of treasures awaiting her. Pandian's Jaya Jones is a unique character, a half-Indian, half-American historian with a quick mind, and a deceptive tiny appearance. And, Jaya's friends are unusual and interesting. Artifact is fun, fast-paced, and offers a glimpse into two cultures, that of Scotland and India.
Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss mysteries were fun romantic capers with unexpected twists. Gigi Pandian offers that same exotic world of treasure hunts, foreign lands, and a touch of romance. I miss Vicky Bliss. But, now we're all lucky to have Jaya Jones' treasure hunts. I hope Artifact is just the first of Gigi Pandian's skillfully written capers.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.