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The Accidental Alchemist
     

The Accidental Alchemist

4.2 14
by Gigi Pandian
 

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From USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian comes a modern tale of ancient intrigue

Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can’t help but notice she’s picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-half-foot

Overview

From USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian comes a modern tale of ancient intrigue

Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can’t help but notice she’s picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-half-foot gargoyle—not to mention a master of French cuisine—and he needs Zoe’s expertise to decipher a centuries-old text. Zoe, who’s trying to put her old life behind her, isn’t so sure she wants to reopen her alchemical past . . . until the dead man on her porch leaves her no choice.

Includes recipes!

Praise:

A2016 Lefty Award winner for Best LCC Regional Mystery

“This reviewer is eagerly anticipating more from this series, and a return of a cast more fun than an episode of Portlandia.”—RT BOOK REVIEWS1/2

“Pandian . . . launches a supernatural cozy series that hits high marks for a modern twist on an ancient practice. Amusing supporting characters and historical details solidify this engaging mystery.”—LIBRARY JOURNAL

"[A] lighthearted supernatural mystery . . . Pandian sets this series apart from other fluffy paranormal mysteries with Zoe's cute nonhuman sidekick and some mouthwatering vegan recipes."—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"A whimsical and charming supernatural mystery."—MYSTERY SCENE

“What really makes this book stand out, however, is the originality . . . Pandian has managed to create an eccentric and charming cast of characters readers are going to want to spend more time with.”—RT BOOK REVIEWSONLINE

"The Accidental Alchemistis a recipe for a great read. Gigi Pandian’s pen never disappoints."—JULIET BLACKWELL,NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY SERIES

“Mysterious, captivating, and infused with the rich history of the Northwest . . . fantastic.”—PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW

"A magical, whimsical cozy that will delight readers who enjoy Juliet Blackwell and Heather Weber mysteries!" —AVERY AAMES, AKA DARYL WOOD GERBER, AUTHOR OF THE CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES

"Zoe and Dorian are my new favorite amateur-sleuth duo!" —VICTORIA LAURIE,NEW YORK TIMESBESTSELLING AUTHOR

"Readers won't want to put this book down."—Vegetarian Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/13/2014
In this lighthearted supernatural mystery series launch, Zoe Faust heads to Portland, Ore., looking for a fresh start in a place where being different is okay—even if you’re not only a vegan and an herbalist but also 338 years old and a nonpracticing alchemist. Everything goes according to plan until the repairman who has come to remodel her fixer-upper is poisoned and stabbed on the stairs. Zoe becomes both prime suspect and chief detective. Aided by a living gargoyle and a 14-year-old thrill seeker, Zoe must discover who the real killer is before her secrets are revealed. Meanwhile, romance brews, as do so many other subplots that the story never acquires focus. Pandian (Pirate Vishnu) sets this series apart from other fluffy paranormal mysteries with Zoe’s cute nonhuman sidekick and some mouthwatering vegan recipes. Agent: Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Library Journal
01/01/2015
When herbalist and former alchemist Zoe Faust finally arrives at her fixer-upper in Portland, OR, she discovers that someone had rifled through her shipped belongings. Nothing is missing, but she finds an addition—a three-and-a-half foot living gargoyle named Dorian. The next morning Zoe receives another shock: her just-hired handyman lies dead on her porch and several of her alchemical texts are missing. As Zoe tries to put her old life behind her, she will have to use her past skills to transform old secrets and lies into the truth. VERDICT Pandian (Pirate Vishnu; coauthor, Other People's Baggage) launches a supernatural cozy series that hits high marks for a modern twist on an ancient practice. Amusing supporting characters and historical details solidify this engaging mystery.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-11-20
An alchemist moves to Oregon in an attempt to leave her old ways behind only to find that they've followed her in the form of a 3-foot-tall talking gargoyle.While she's unpacking boxes in Portland, Zoe Faust discovers an unwelcome addition to her baggage: a stone gargoyle as tall as a yardstick. She thinks that having an unexpected and unwieldy stone statue is trouble enough until the gargoyle comes to life and greets her in a thick French accent. Dorian Robert-Houdin—of course a French-speaking gargoyle must have a hyphenated name—was brought to life by his father, a renowned human magician in the 1800s. Dorian is desperate for Zoe's help, because in spite of the magic that brought him to life, his animation appears to be fading. Terrified of being trapped in his own stone body, he's followed Zoe to Portland because he knows the truth about her: She's not just some herbal hobbyist, but a real alchemist. Zoe has been hoping to escape her old life as a closeted immortal in France and also needs a new town where no one will guess her secret. Once she agrees to help Dorian, Zoe runs into trouble of her own when the handyman she's hired to help with the house shows up dead on her doorstep on his first day. Zoe lets it slip to Detective Max Liu that she can tell poison was involved, but she can't tell him that she can smell it on the body. Now Zoe's got two mysteries to solve, each a case of life and death, and the best help she's got are her new stone friend and a troublemaker kid, Brixton, who may be in it just to prove Dorian's existence to the outside world.Though the world of Pandian's new series may not sound any more appealing than Zoe's vegan recipes, it's just as satisfying in the end.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738741840
Publisher:
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date:
01/08/2015
Series:
An Accidental Alchemist Mystery , #1
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
268,815
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

USA Todaybestselling authorGigi Pandian (El Cerrito, CA) is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After spending her childhood being dragged around the world, she now writes the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi's first novel was named a Best of 2012 Debut Novel bySuspense Magazine,and her fiction has been awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards.

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The Accidental Alchemist 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy Gigi Pandian's writing. Her previous books were a delight and this new series is equally so. A alchemist who is hundreds of years old decides to try settling down in one place. (A challenge when you don't get older looking.) While unpacking, she discovers a stow-away in her packing boxes. A gargoyle has hitched a ride from Paris. And he is alive. Then the fun really begins. Quirky characters of uncertain trustworthiness mix with teenagers, police, dead bodies, almost dead bodies, and more. Interspersed with the gargoyle using his extensive chef talents for cook fabulous vegan meals for the main character. Something for everyone. I look forward to their further adventures.
MByerly More than 1 year ago
A really excellent mystery with good characters like the French chef gargoyle and conflicted Zoe, well-researched history, and some seriously yummy vegan food add to the mix. 
InspirationalAngel531 4 months ago
Title: The Accidental Alchemist - Accidental Alchemist Mystery Book 4 Author: Gigi Pandian Published: 1-8-2015 Publisher: Midnight Ink Pages: 362 Genre: Mystery Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Amateur Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; SciFi & Fantasy; Culinary Mystery ISBN: 13: 9780738741840 ASIN: B00QVLB9JI Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.25 Stars I received a copy of "The Accidental Alchemist" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher's A modern tale of ancient intrigue from a USA Today bestselling author When Zoe Faust—herbalist, alchemist, and recent transplant to Portland, Oregon—begins unpacking her bags, she can't help but notice she's picked up a stow away: a living, breathing, three-and-half-foot gargoyle. Dorian Robert-Houdin is no simple automaton, nor is he a homunculus; in fact, he needs Zoe's help to decipher a centuries-old text that explains exactly what he is. Zoe, who's trying to put her alchemical life behind her, isn't so sure she can help. But after a murder victim is discovered on her front porch, Zoe realized she's tangled up in ancient intrigue that can't be ignored. Includes recipes! My Review: You have to admit, with a lead in like that listed by the publisher, you can't help but want to pick it up and see what this book is all about. Then you find that Gigi Pandian has brought her talent to this series as well. With well developed characters and a story that flows quickly and smoothly, you will find your self immersed in Zoe's life and adventures. I rated "The Accidental Alchemist" 4.25 out of 5 stars. Pick up a copy for yourself and you too will be looking for book to to continue your journey.
MsArdychan 5 months ago
Drool-inducing cooking with some mystery thrown in! I first became aware of author Gigi Pandian when I saw the cover for her book, The Elixir Of Life, on NetGalley. The description look intriguing, so I asked to be approved to review the book. I had no idea it was the third book in a series. But the writing and story were such that it didn't really matter. I enjoyed the book and hurried to my library to find the first two books. The Accidental Alchemist is the first book in the series, and I loved it. What I Liked: Characters: Zoe: As a person who was over 300 years old, Zoe had a lot of perspective when she thought on how to live her life. I loved how she was so deliberate with her health and eating. It was a recipe for how anyone could be healthy. I liked that the book showed a vegan lifestyle, but was not preachy about it. Zoe also had trouble finding a way to connect with people. She was weary of becoming close to others as she has lost so many loved ones over the years. I really rooted for her to make friends and have a fulfilling life. Dorian: Dorian is a gargoyle who has come to life. He is also a gourmand. He does find ways to connect with people (blind people can't judge him for being made of stone), and enjoy life through creating beautiful meals for others. I felt connected to Dorian, as I love to cook for the same reason. Seeing others look forward to and enjoy my cooking gives me such satisfaction. Dorian is there to show Zoe how to live. The Kid: Brixton was a latch-key kid that Zoe comes to care about over the course of the story. It is questionable if he can really be trusted with Zoe and Dorian's secrets, but that's what is fun about this character. He also changes and matures in the book, something I adored. Setting: I have never been to Portland, but this book makes me want to visit there as soon as possible (actually, I have a relative who just moved there, so I think I really may go there soon)! I liked that Zoe's neighborhood was like a small town in the midst of a large city. The minor characters and shops added to the charm of the book. This is a neighborhood where I would envision going shopping and hanging out at all the cool cafes. Recipes: I have not tried the recipes yet, but I have looked them over and they seem easy to make, healthy, and delicious. If you Google Gigi Pandian, you can find the recipes online. These added to the fun of the book. I just wish they would have included more recipes. Every time Dorian cooked, I was drooling over the descriptions. What I Didn't Like: The Mystery: It may seem strange that I wouldn't like this, being that the mystery to be solved is supposed to be the main point of this kind of novel. But, while I found the actual mystery to have little to do with Zoe or Dorian, I felt it was a minor problem with the book. There could have been ways to tie them in, but it was not to be. So why have it happen at all? Anyone could have solved this crime. There was actually plenty of possible mysteries that could have involved the main characters: a person from Zoe's past, more about the book that Dorian needs to cure him, etc. I think there are future adventures where the main characters really matter to the story. But in this particular book, character development seemed to be the first priority.
AnnieMarch26 More than 1 year ago
Although this is supposed to be Zoe's fresh start, she accidentally walked into the middle of a police investigation and wound up with a stow-away in urgent need of her help. While the mystery was interesting, it was Dorian who stole the show. He is also the reason that I am looking forward to the next book in the series. He is a very entertaining little gargoyle!
MariaD1 More than 1 year ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review. I rated it 4.5 out of 5 Stars. A cross between a cozy and paranormal mystery, The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian is a fun light read filled with interesting and colorful characters, good dialogue and a touch of magic. Bridging science and magic, Ms. Pandian uses “Alchemy”, the medieval forerunner of chemistry, to bridge the past and the present, science and magic, and the study of human nature. While there were times I thought the pace was a little slow, I’m happy to say I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing where Ms. Pandian goes with this series. Over 300 years old, though she doesn’t look a day over 28, Zoe Faust is an “accidental” alchemist. Born during the Salem witch trials, with a “magical” affinity for plants, Zoe escaped to Europe and trained with a master alchemist. Feeling guilty due to outliving the people she loved, and travelling Europe and the US to hide her long life, Zoe settles in Portland determined to build a new life. She wasn’t counting on an uninvited house guest with an unusual problem or on someone killing the contractor she’s hired to fix her house. Forced to re-examine her past, and re-open her alchemy laboratory, Zoe finds herself in a race against time to solve a magical mystery. Ms. Pandian does a good job developing the two main characters of this story; I easily connected with Zoe, a woman who has never made peace with who and what she is. Running away from her past, Zoe hasn’t allowed herself to have a present or contemplate a future until she decides to take a chance on setting up a home in Portland. I also connected with “Dorian”, the 3 ½ foot living gargoyle, who is Zoe’s unexpected house guest. French by birth, and creation, Dorian has an unusual problem and specifically sought Zoe out, stuffed himself in her “luggage” and followed her to her new home. Either cursed, or blessed, depending on how you look at it, with long lives, their magical existence has burdened them with secrets and a lonely life.  The secondary characters are also well developed and I especially enjoyed getting to know Brixton, a local teen who becomes attached to both Zoe and Dorian, his friends Veronica and Ethan, and detective Max Liu, who harbors secrets of his own. While there is a romance that begins to develop between Max and Zoe in this book, it’s very low key and fraught with some interesting problems. The mystery portion of the book, who killed Zoe’s contractor on her porch and why, was secondary in nature and took several interesting twists and turns, especially since Zoe, Dorian and Brixton employed investigative methods Dorian read about in detective novels. Will Zoe and Max learn to trust each other in order to solve the murder mystery and save their friends? Will Zoe be able to solve Dorian’s “magical” problem before it’s too late? You’ll have to read The Accidental Alchemist to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series. I also wish I could have a “Dorian” of my own.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
Blend historical fact with modern day reality and add a dollop of fantasy... The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian The First Accidental Alchemist Mystery Zoe Faust (gotta love the name) has decided to settle down in Portland, Oregon after centuries of traveling. (Yes, Zoe is over 300 years old.) She decides to buy a home, a fixer upper, and perhaps begin to practice alchemy once again. There are many surprises awaiting her-a French gargoyle requesting her alchemical help, a troubled youth, a burglary, an intriguing detective, and a dead contractor on her doorstop. Blend historical fact with modern day reality and add a dollop of fantasy and you get Gigi Pandian's newest book, The Accidental Alchemist. Gigi Pandian creates a truly unique mystery. While one may find a veritable plethora of witches in mysteries, it is quite rare to find an alchemist. The Accidental Alchemist is filled with unique characters. Not only do we have a 300 year old alchemist with the appearance of a 28 year old woman, we have Dorian Robert-Houdin, a French gargoyle come to life who also happens to be a world class chef. There's a troubled teenager with a fly by night mother and we also find a hint of romance in the form of Detective Max Liu. Alchemy is about transformation. The mundane can become the extraordinary. At the start of the book Zoe Faust is a woman searching for a normal life and Brixton is a punk looking to prove something. Through the course of the story their lives and the lives of those around them are transformed. As Dorian transforms simple ingredients into gourmet fare, so the lives of these characters are transformed by the circumstances they face together. Gigi Pandian balances the mundane and the extraordinary in this intriguing mystery. There are lots of things to relish in this delightful read-more than one mystery, a few what-ifs, and in depth characterization, all of which leaves a desire to learn more about this vision of Portland. The Accidental Alchemist is a magnificent start to a new series and I look forward to meeting up with Zoe, Dorian, and that dishy detective again. Recipes included.
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
There aren’t a lot of gargoyles books out there and most of those are about shifters. They can be human or gargoyle. This gargoyle is all gargoyle. Zoe Faust has finally found a place to settle down, tired of her Airstream trailer and moving from place to place. Portland seems to touch something inside her. So she finds a fixer upper and moves into her new home. Let me introduce you to Zoe. She’s an alchemist, specifically Spagyrics, plant alchemy, albeit a non practicing one now. She’s lived well over 300 years due to accidentally applying The Elixir of Life to herself. That’s why she has to move a lot, as she doesn’t really age, though she can die like normal people. While unpacking in her new home she notices some things appear to have been broken and there’s a gargoyle statue clutching a book that she knows she didn’t put there. When it moves, she’s startled to discover it’s a real living gargoyle. His name is Dorian Robert-Houdin and he’s French. As the two are becoming acquainted they discover a spy. Brixton is a 14 year old neighbor boy who had to see who was moving into the old, supposedly haunted house. The pickle is, he heard and saw it all, so now a bargain must be struck to keep Dorian’s and Zoe’s secrets. Things get more complicated when Zoe arrives home from a walk to discover her construction contractor dead by her porch. Working with herbs and plants, she smells the taint of poison but is hard pressed to say how she does when questioned by Detective Max Liu. It becomes harder to keep secrets when she’s thrust into the murder investigation and another person falls victim to the poison, lingering in a coma. Zoe will have to practice her alchemy again. Get up to speed quick. The killer must be stopped and Dorian’s book, Not True Alchemy, must be decoded to find some answers. Otherwise, more people will be poisoned, Dorian will slowly turn to stone and be trapped in that form for eternity. Zoe won me over quickly. She’s sassy, smart, brave, loyal, and often inept. She gets herself into some funny situations and can laugh at herself. Her concern and caring for Dorian is so sweet. She’s become fond of him and his gourmet cooking. Yes, gargoyles can cook. Her friendship and fostering of Brixton brings out the best in him. He’s well on his way to becoming a delinquent, and his new friends are a steady hand and guidance to help him find his way. And something is just starting to ignite between Max Liu and Zoe Faust. They both feel stirrings of attraction, yet both are keeping some huge secrets. There’s so much to entertain in this book. The characters are well written. You’ll come to know them quickly. The alchemy is very well researched and fascinating. I always thought it was magic but that’s really not so. It’s more of a practice, a trade. The mystery keeps you guessing. The villain will catch you by surprise. And the suspense will make you crazy, worrying about everything and how it will get resolved. And Kudos to the author for the cover art. It’s perfect for this story. Also, check out the yummy recipes at the end. They sound delicious. I urge you to read The Accidental Alchemist. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
The Accidental Alchemist, An Accidental Alchemist Mystery, Gigi Pandian Review from jeannie zelos book reviews This was a fun read, sort of like a Miss Marple with humour and magic. Alchemy is a fascinating subject, and Zoe was a student a  couple of centuries ago. She’d accidentally transformed herself though into an immortal, and since them she’s been living life trying not to get noticed. She’s had some heartbreak in her past, and she still feels she perhaps could have done something different, so she’s also carrying a misplaced load of guilt. Finally she’s found somewhere she thinks she can settle and put roots down,  but her problems start the day after the move when her builder turns up dead...on her doorstep. From there its a tangled web of events, with the locals, some of whom seen to have secrets, the detective Max Liu, the teens- Brixton, Veronica and Ethan, who get involved, Brixton very closely. He’s a good kid, but has had some trouble in his past and fancies himself as a super sleuth. Zoe needs to rein him in at times. Add in the gargoyle  Dorian who’s living through some accidental spell but deteriorating, the search for the lost book he needs to heal, which of course has to be kept secret, and the murder and attempted murder of another village inhabitant and its a story packed with plots and fun. Zoe is a Vegan and I enjoyed the description of the foods she ate, and the recipes French food lover Dorian concocted using Vegan ingredients. The deeper Zoe, Brixton and Dorian get into the search for the murderer and the lost book, the more the mysteries pile up and the suspect list grows. It seems even in an innocuous village everyone is carrying secrets. Its a fun read, light and fluffy, and full of gentle humour, mystical moments and snippets of times past. Stars: Four – enjoyable, easy to read novel  ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers
JennMcLean More than 1 year ago
"The Accidendal Alchemist" by Gigi Pandian was such an unusual read that I found it eminently refreshing. Here's the gist. Our protagonist, Zoe Faust used to be an alchemist and an herbalist, using her skills with herbs and plants to make healing elixirs and salves to help people. She had been doing that for many years but now she sells alchemical antiques online as a way of making a living. Zoe decides she's been running from her former life in alchemy for too long and wants to finally put down roots. She chooses Portland Oregon where she feels comfortable and peaceful after years of emotional turbulence.  Zoe is in for a surprise though. When she purchases an old, rundown house, only one contractor will agree to do her renovations. On the day that the contractor is supposed to start the required work, he turns up dead on her doorstep! Even weirder, the night before this man's death, Zoe found a gargoyle among her things as she began to unpack her stuff. The night before must have been an hallucination. Gargoyles aren't alive, they don't talk to you and tell you their name is Dorian Robert-Houdin, they don't beg for your help in deciphering an old alchemy textbook and they certainly do NOT cook you dinner! Where has her life led her and what has killed her contractor? That's the beginning of our unusual and refreshing mystery. Yes, it is an unusual, highly unusual premise. But I beg you to suspend your disbelief because this book is well worth your time. I loved all the cooking, vegan food and tea that permeated this book. The mystery keeps you yearning for answers but also has such lovely background information and characters that it's a pleasure to read every word. I wanted this book to go on and on so I do hope the writer, Gigi Pandian, plans to write another with these lovely characters. I realize it's not a traditional mystery but that's the pleasure in this book, it's a departure from the hard boiled detectives, earnest police investigators and bumbling amateur sleuths. I have to give this four stars out of five and I urge you to go pick this little gem of a read up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 stars This is the first book in a new series. It is unique with a alchemist, gargole and teenagers as main characters trying to solve some mysteries. It is a fun, clean cozy murder mystery. Zoe Faust just moved to Portland, Oregon she has bought a real fixer upper. When she finds some of her boxes opened. She finds a gargoyle hitched a ride from France in her boxes. She is older than she thinks. Dorian is a three-and-half-foot gargoyle who is alive. But something is going wrong with him. He knows that Zoe was a Alchemist in the past and he has some old alchemist books in Latin he wants help to stay alive. He is a good cook. Brixton is a teenager who breaks into Zoe's house on a dare. People think her house is haunted. Brixton sees Dorian that he is alive. The setting is Portland, Oregon. Talks a lot about Portland underground tunnels that make me want to take the tour and explore too. This is a good start to a series. I would love to read more of Zoe & Dorian. I would love for her to have a romance with Max. I would read it. I love how it has a lot of real history and people mixed into her story so natural. It made the book so believable. I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Midnight Ink. In return I agreed to give honest review of the Accidental Alchemist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pseudosara More than 1 year ago
Fun new series. Will be on the lookout for book two. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
T..th...thank....thanks for...for coming. *he crys*