USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
“Has everything a mystery lover could ask for: ghostly presences, Italian aristocrats, jewel thieves, failed actors, sitar players, and magic tricks, not to mention dabs of authentic history and academic skullduggery.” – Publishers Weekly
“Pandian’s sprightly prose celebrates the pleasures of Italian painting, food, and landscape. The light touch, swift pace, and verve maintained throughout the novel disguise the deeper thought and scholarship underpinning the story, which like the stage props of a conjurer, make the magic happen.”– Linda Lappin, Author of Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery
Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?
A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters…
Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.
When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), action adventure, murder mystery series, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, international mysteries.
Books in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series:
- FOOL'S GOLD (prequel novella in OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE)
- ARTIFACT (#1)
- PIRATE VISHNU (#2)
- QUICKSAND (#3)
- MICHELANGELO’S GHOST (#4)
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...
USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s fiction has been awarded the Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards, and been nominated for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Find her online at www.gigipandian.com.
Read an Excerpt
What makes something a treasure?
Is it an object's monetary value? Is it rarity? Beauty? Romantic association? Sentimental attachment? Artistic integrity?
Or perhaps a treasure is something lost and then found. A sense of discovery. A buried object hidden from sight. A puzzle that screams to be solved. The thrill of the hunt. The difficulty in locating it. Maybe it's the person to whom it once belonged. Or anything that once belonged to a pirate.
The people who write to me all had different ideas about what a treasure is. There were a lot of them. That's why I was drowning.
I held a six-inch gargoyle statue in my hands. Its left wing was chipped, making me wonder if the injury was deliberate as it was in depictions of Ganesha, the elephant deity with a broken left tusk. I examined the broken wing, then set the gargoyle on my crowded desk. Finding space required tossing three empty coffee cups into the trash and eking out a few inches between a dozen other trinkets people had sent. The plastic leprechaun was weirding me out, so I turned him away from me.
This gargoyle figurine wasn't a treasure. It wasn't even a clue leading to one. The plaster replica was a small gift from a woman who hoped I'd help her find a missing set of family heirlooms. I opened my laptop and began composing an email to gently point out that a private investigator would be much more useful to her than a historian.
"Building a menagerie of misfit good luck charms?" A handsome green-eyed man with dark brown skin grinned at me from my office doorway.
"Fish!" I jumped up and gave my brother Mahilan a hug. Even in my high heels, I had to stand on tiptoe to hug him properly. Mahilan was three years older than me, over a foot taller, and had skin several shades darker than mine. Most strikingly, his light green eyes stood out in contrast to my dark brown ones. We were opposites but at the same time unquestionably related. "I wasn't expecting you for a couple of days."
"I especially like the gargoyle. He's got more personality than the others."
"It's the chipped wing that gives him added character."
Hundreds of people had written to me since I helped find a long-lost treasure from India and return it to its homeland. An eager journalist misquoted me, reporting that I'd accept queries about treasures. The misquote spread across the internet, but my corrected quote didn't catch fire.
I shouldn't admit that I took a greater interest in many of the treasure seekers than in sending them polite thank-you notes. I've always maintained I'm not that kind of historian. You know the type. Those who seek out far-fetched treasures for fame and glory. One of my old professors, Lilith Vine, had fallen into that trap. It had ruined her career.
But I opened the emails and the physical letters. Every one of them. Sometimes it took me a while to get to them, but I did. I put in the work for the same reason I created an inviting office for my students, complete with comfy chairs and chocolate. If people were interested in history and valued my opinion, how could I not act respectfully in return?
"Please don't tell me I've been so immersed in replying to treasure seekers that I've been sitting at this desk for two days straight," I said. "Although it would explain why I'm so hungry."
Mahilan laughed and gave me another hug. "I've missed you, JJ. San Francisco is too far from LA. Can't you find a teaching job down south?"
"I've got a good life here." I mostly believed it. Nobody's life is perfect, right? "I'm finishing this last set of replies before teaching a class later this morning, but I could meet for lunch —"
"I'm not really here."
"Our flight arrived an hour ago. Ava forgot a few things so she wanted to stop by the store before we head to Napa for two days of wine tasting and fine dining. I dropped her off at the mall and thought I'd swing by to see you before picking her up."
"Napa? Are you sure that's a good idea? There's a fire raging near there."
"We checked. It's not near where we're staying. You're still up for lunch in two days when we're back, right? I want to be sure you have a chance to meet Ava."
"How can I refuse that invitation? You never let me meet your girlfriends."
"That's not true."
"It's so true."
I nodded. "To be fair, it's probably because you have a new one every two weeks."
"Hmm. I'm going to remain silent so as not to incriminate myself. Anyway, I can't believe you kept that tabla-playing Ganesha statue after Lane broke your heart. Though the craftsmanship is superb. It's from Kochi?"
I nodded mutely as my gaze leapt to the statue in the corner of my office. I hated lying to my brother. It was one thing to keep him out of the loop when all he'd do was worry, but to actively lie to him was a choice he'd perceive as the ultimate betrayal. When I was a kid, Mahilan had been more of a father to me than our dad. We'd been through a lot together, and we didn't keep secrets from each other.
But at the same time, it wasn't safe for anyone to know Lane Peters and I were in a long-distance relationship. I could be putting my brother in danger if I told him the truth. I never meant to find myself dating a man who'd been an art thief before turning his life around, but we can't help who we fall for. Lane and I had tried to stay apart, but it hadn't stuck. So here I was, lying to the people closest to me.
"Since you're hungry," Mahilan continued, thankfully ignorant of the tension that had crept into my body language, "let me buy you your favorite croissant sandwich. You like it with egg, honey, and peanut butter, right?"
"You're nearly the only person who says it without cringing."
"Years of practice."
"Give me one minute," I said. "And then I'm all yours." I sat down at my laptop to finish a three-quarters-written email to the treasure hunter who'd sent the gargoyle. If I didn't do it then, it wouldn't get done. I was at least three weeks behind already. It wasn't my real job, so it was my last priority. I did a quick scan of the other unread treasure-related messages in my inbox, hoping I'd made at least a dent that morning. Good. I was only two weeks behind now. Then an involuntary gasp escaped my lips.
"What's the matter?" Mahilan looked up from his cell phone.
"A ghost," I whispered. "A ghost from the past."CHAPTER 2
That afternoon, I drove to my old professor's home. Dr. Lilith Vine lived at Sea Ranch, a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of San Francisco, not far from the private university where she now taught.
When a person you believe you've wronged gets in touch with you after years of silence, you grab your keys and go.
I slowed and shifted gears in my roadster on the winding coastal road, glancing in the rearview mirror as I did so. I frowned. Was that the same black jeep that had been behind me since I'd left San Francisco on the Golden Gate Bridge? Even if it was, taking the 101 freeway to Highway 1 was the easiest way to get from San Francisco to coastal northern California. Just because an old professor had something important to tell me in person didn't mean someone was following me. I was overly sensitive because a colleague had once followed me across southwest India while trying to scoop my discovery. I pushed the thought from my mind and focused on the winding asphalt and scenic ocean view — and on Lilith Vine's strange invitation.
Lilith hadn't included details in her email. She wasn't any more forthcoming when I called her, saying it was easier to explain in person. I wondered what ill-conceived idea she'd latched onto this time, though it also crossed my mind that the invitation might be more about reconciling than convincing me of the merits of the farfetched research she'd unearthed. All I could do on the drive was wonder. She'd been civil but curt on the phone, simply inviting me to her house, where she promised to show me something I'd find worth my time. That's why I found myself speeding up the coast after teaching my last class of the day.
The northern California coast was both similar to and the opposite of the beaches I remembered from Goa, India. The Goan coast was filled with seemingly endless sand and lush greenery, whereas jagged cliffs and surly fog covered the northern California coastline. With the drought, the hills to the east looked like brittle haystacks that had been haphazardly strewn about. But both settings had inspired my childhood imagination with their views of the sea. My heart beat faster each time I caught a glimpse of the precarious rocky cliffs along the edge of the twisting coastal highway. I was almost disappointed when I arrived at Lilith's house.
I parked the car and sat looking at the ocean for a few minutes before getting out. What was I doing here? I'd made my decision years ago, when I chose a different path.
A crisp wind blew my bob of black hair around my face as I rang the doorbell next to a farmhouse-style oversized front door. A few seconds later, the door eased open. Gray hair flowed down Lilith's back, tapering just above the folded waistband of her purple yoga pants. Her hair was the same as I remembered it, though her body was thinner with frailty rather than good health. She leaned on an intricately carved cane with a Chinese dragon handle.
"I take it you found the house easily," Lilith said. "Since you're early."
I'd left San Francisco when I said I would, but I'd never been good at sticking to speed limits.
"You're much shorter than I remember," she continued as she ushered me inside and closed the door behind me. "Your personality is far bigger than your body."
"Is that a compliment?"
"Do you need one? You seem to be doing quite well without me. Is that why you took your time getting back to me? It's rather urgent, you know."
"No, I don't know," I said, trying to keep the impatience out of my voice. It was a defensive reaction, I knew, because I'd always felt bad about how we left things. "You didn't tell me anything in the email or on the phone."
"In a few minutes, you'll see why it had to be in person."
I took a deep breath and looked around the high-ceilinged living room. Like many professors, Lilith had filled her house with books. Not like the organized bookshelves you see in movies, but tattered paperbacks and pristine hardbound books sharing the same shelf, next to piles of books on the floor that didn't fit onto the crammed bookshelves. The stone mantel above an ornamental fireplace was lined with framed photographs of her as a younger woman in various locations across the world, most of which included a handsome dark-haired man with a charming lopsided smile.
"I was sorry to hear about your husband," I said softly.
"I got your condolence card. I wasn't expecting that. Not after I ignored you for so long. I've followed your career proudly though." Her lips were dry and devoid of color, but warmth radiated from her smile. For the first time since I'd arrived, I felt that she was glad she'd invited me. She motioned for me to take a seat on a wicker couch and poured me a glass of water from a carafe resting on a mango wood side table adorned with carvings of elephants.
"It's good to see you, Lilith."
"If you'd written back to me sooner —"
"I had to change my email address and phone number after amateur treasure hunters across the world got them. I only read emails that come into my old inbox when I have extra time."
"So it was your colleague who pressured you into calling me," Lilith said as she handed me the water. She didn't pour a glass for herself, but lifted a clay coffee mug to her lips. The ice cubes that clinked and the glassy look in her eyes told me she hadn't given up old habits.
"He didn't prod you into calling me?"
"Who are you talking about?"
"What was the fellow's name? Krishnan. That was it. Naveen Krishnan."
I groaned. "Naveen?" After such a relaxing drive, the name of my backstabbing colleague was the last thing I wanted to hear.
"His bio was listed next to yours on the history department's website. Unlike yours, his had a link to his email address and phone number. I called him and told him how important it was for me to reach you. He was quite attentive."
I groaned. "I'm sure he was."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Naveen Krishnan and I don't collaborate well." Whatever important information Lilith was about to tell me, my rival already knew.
I steadied my breathing. I was getting ahead of myself. I didn't even know what Lilith thought so important that she got in touch after all these years.
Lilith barked a laugh. "Don't worry. I haven't told anyone else about what I'm telling you. Don't you know me well enough to know that? I simply told him it was important I reach you." She lifted the mug to her lips and took a long sip. The look of relief on her face confirmed my suspicions that it was stronger than water.
"What exactly is it that you're telling me?"
"I've done it," she said. "I've found something big. Something that will redeem my reputation. I know you all think I've been chasing the ghost of that first discovery in my twenties, but I'm not crazy, Jaya. I'm not. This time, the ghost is real."CHAPTER 3
My expectations shrank to a speck smaller than the tip of my stilettos. I'd heard Lilith's claims before.
Seven years ago, Lilith Vine had been a professor at the university where I was a first-year graduate student. She'd been granted tenure based on a notable discovery in Sri Lanka that she'd made while she was a PhD student. Following a clue in the novel of an early 19 century British soldier who fought in the Kandyan Wars, Lilith discovered an ancient religious text that had been preserved in a small temple.
It was clever research for a young historian studying religious history. She used fiction as a primary source for her historical research, realizing that much of what's recorded as fiction is based in fact. The combination of diligent research and creativity had led her to the connection nobody else had drawn.
That early success had gone to her head. She wanted to capture the fleeting feelings granted by fame and prestige. Instead of focusing on her work, she flitted from one project to the next, publishing fantastical ideas with nothing to back up her assertions. Because a reference in a pulpy novel had led her to a real-life discovery, she gave too much weight to potential facts in fiction. The more she struck out, the more she drank. She'd once been a draw for the university, but soon became a laughingstock. She was giving historians a bad name — and they noticed.
Even though tenure meant she couldn't be fired, she was given the least desirable teaching assignments and was shunned by her colleagues, making her life miserable. Lilith didn't have many options. She'd burned all of her bridges except one. She got an offer from a small university in northern California, and she wanted me to follow her there, offering to be my advisor in her new position.
A big part of me was drawn to Lilith. Her passion for her work was contagious. I had chosen my graduate program in part because of Lilith's interest in early trade routes across South Asia. That's why I said yes — before thinking better of it and reneging.
It was that false hope I'd given her that made me feel guilty. It's one thing to respectfully decline an offer. It's another to give someone hope before ripping it away from them. When other professors came to me and told me I'd be throwing away my career by following her, I listened to them. I picked the responsible, safe path. I chose to believe what everyone else told me: Lilith Vine was a crackpot.
It was the right decision to stay and work with Professor Stefano Gopal, but at the same time I'd wondered if Lilith had been unfairly judged. And I'd wondered what I might miss out on by choosing the safe road.
Looking at Lilith's earnest, drawn face, I asked myself the same questions yet again.
She picked up a leather-bound book. The dimensions were slightly larger than modern letter-size paper, and the cover was faded and dusty. There was no title, so I wondered if it was a ledger or diary. Whatever it was, it was old. The tremor in Lilith's hand as she held it up was barely perceptible. I wouldn't have noticed it if it hadn't visibly annoyed her.
"This," she said, waving the book in her hand, "is a sketchbook from 16 century Italy."
"You're studying art history now?" It was a perfect example of why she couldn't be trusted.
She waved off my question. "What do you know about Renaissance Italy?"
"About as much as a college freshman. Which is why I don't pretend to study it."
"Don't be so narrow-minded, Jaya. Art and religion are inexorably linked. I thought you had an imagination. That you were different. That's why I thought we'd make such a great team."
I kept my mouth shut.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Michelangelo's Ghost"
Copyright © 2016 Gigi Pandian.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series . Fun reads with just the right touch of reality and history . Thanks.
I love the history as well as the romance. The mystery is good too.
This is the fourth Jaya Jones mystery, yet the first I read. I think I will go back and read the first three as there were some things that I was not sure of and I am sure they was information in the previous books. Having said that, I was able to follow the story. In this book, Jaya, aka JJ, is contacted by her old mentor to ask her. She went to visit and found out that the professor had some clues to finding a lost group of paintings by a little known Rennaisance Painter, Lazzaro Allegri. Jaya is not sure whether to believe her due to her reputation of being an alcoholic who is looking for her last claim to fame. Jaya takes the three journals with her and talks to her doctorate advisor about the situation. Before she can do anything else, the mentor dies, leaving Jaya with what are, presumably sketchbooks of a student of Michelangelo. With brother Mahilan and his new flame Ava in tow, they all head to Italy to see if any of this is true and to see if they can find these hidden paintings. I enjoyed meeting Jaya, her brother and best friend. They are real characters and their relationship is wonderful. Their dialogue with another is witty and shows their comfort with one another. I loved the descriptions of the various settings. I had never heard of the Park of Monsters, yet I could almost picture it when they were visiting. Pandian has given us another riveting mystery based loosely on historical fact and smartly woven fiction. There was an alternate mystery regarding who the mysterious thief with the calling card really was and how that thief was involved in the search for the paintings. There were some twists, some cliffhangers and some red herrings all thrown in, to take us on a journey with Jaya, Mahilan and Ava. Of course, I can't forget the ghost that flies around and screeches in the night, trying to scare people in the Park of Monsters. This is a very hard to put down mystery series and Michelangelo's Ghost is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to mystery lovers, cozy mystery lovers and those who enjoy the search for lost or hidden antiquities.
amateur-sleuth, art, murder, professor, italy Grabs the reader's attention and refuses to let go! Professor Jaya Jones is hot on the trail of a conundrum involving Michaelangelo, India, Italy, murder, and art thieves. The publisher's blurb gives hints and there is no need for spoilers, but that can't begin to prepare you for all the suspense. Get your head in the game and enjoy!
Title: Michelngelo's Ghost - Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Book 4 Author: Gigi Pandian Published: 10-4-2016 Publisher: Henery Press Pages: 288 Genre: Mystery Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Amateur Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; International Mystery & Crime ISBN: 13: 9781635110692 ASIN: B01I220KIO Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.5 Stars I received a copy of "Michelangelo's Ghost" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher's Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost? A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date. When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails? My Review: Jaya, a quirky character in search of answers for things that sometimes appear unanswerable. She and the other characters in Gigi Pandian's Jaya Jones novels are so well layered and developed it is hard not to think of them as real people at times. Ms. Pandian uses her words to draw pictures in the minds of her readers to bring her scenes and the people to life. This fast moving story floes smoothly scene to scene and leaves you eager for the next novel so that you can return quickly. My rating for "Michelangelo's Ghost" is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Michelangelo’s Ghost by Gigi Pandian is the fourth book in A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. Jaya Jones is going through her back emails from people who would like her assistance with treasure hunts when she discovers one from Dr. Lilth Vine. Lilith used to be Jaya’s professor and a mentor. Lilth needs Jaya helps and requests she pay a visit. Lilth found a small reference in Wilson Meeks paper regarding Renaissance artist, Lozzaro Allegri. It sent Lilth to Italy where she purchased lost sketchbooks from his ancestors. In the sketchbooks, there are references to his hidden studio. Lilth was unable to continue her search, and she would like Jaya to finish the hunt. Lilth entrusts three sketchbooks along with research into Jaya’s care. There are clues to the location of Lozzaro’s hidden studio in his sketchbooks. A few days later Jaya receives a call from Lilth. Lilth is dying and gives Jaya a cryptic message. Jaya believes she was murdered for her research information. Jaya discusses the quest with her brother, Mahilan and his girlfriend, Ava. Jaya is determined to get answers. When the semester ends, the three of them head to Italy to search Bomarzo’s Park of Monsters (a sculpture garden). But someone is trying to thwart Jaya’s investigation and a ghost is protecting the sculpture garden. Will Jaya be able to discover the location of Lozzaro’s lost art studio? Is there a chance his works of art have survived (it has been 500 years)? Join Jaya on her pursuit in Michelangelo’s Ghost. Michelangelo’s Ghost is a well-researched novel. I found the book to be jam packed with historical information (it can be very over whelming). It took me two attempts to get through the novel (I just could not get into it the first time I tried to read it). I found the pace to be a little slow, and it can be hard to keep track of the various characters and details (I only talked about three characters). I found information about the search to be repeated frequently (especially about the artist, the historical period, how Jaya felt about Lane). I found many things to be implausible. Jaya is a professor, but she does minimal research (does not verify the information given to her by Lilth). She is working without all the facts and Jaya jumps to wrong conclusions (several times). Jaya should be keeping her search a secret (so she can discover it, get the credit, and write a paper or book). However, she seems to tell anyone she meets about it. I give Michelangelo’s Ghost 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery may seem complex, but it can easily be solved. The “twists” are easily discovered long before they are revealed. Michelangelo’s Ghost is not a stand-alone novel. I would suggest reading the first novel (at least) in the series before tackling this one (or you will be missing information). A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series is just not for me.
I love this series. It's perfect for armchair travel as much as it is for a fab mystery. Jaya heads off to Italy in book 4, in search of art that has been lost to the world for centuries...if it actually exists. She's only taking the word of a past mentor, one has gone off the rails in her studies. Jaya worries she, herself, might be in the same historical boat. Jaya teaches with a fervor, but she fears her treasure hunts have become far more enticing. Add in the discovery that she loves two men and her life has become that much more complicated. We get to see more of Jaya's brother, Mahilan, here too. The brother/sister dynamic is fun to watch. It feels very real and that added to the delight. How I wish I'd known of the Park of Monsters when I was TDY to Italy, lo these many years ago. I would have loved to see this place in person. It sounds fantastic. Spooky, exciting, and I learned plenty..what more can a reader like me want? Definitely recommend.
Gigi is a tremendous author. I love her Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series. She takes you along, trying to find the treasure that Jaya is looking for. She winds mystery, family, friends, and a little love interest into her books. She is very good at using real places around the world to set her stories. She makes you want to visit and see what she saw in her research for the book. I'm already hoping for another one.
Jada Jones is starting to get a reputation as a treasure hunter. She is also a historian and professor at a local University. She isn’t sure she likes her new reputation but it leads to a an invitation from her old mentor Lilith Vine. Lilith once had a good career going once but has fallen on hard times. She may have the key to changing everything in the form of sketchbooks from the 16th century, written in the hand of Lazzaro Allegri, an artist who was Michelangelo’s protegé before moving to India. Lilith has more evidence pointing to the fact that Allegri may have had a secret art studio in Italy’s Park Of Monsters. Within that studio lies priceless artwork and a connection between Indian art and the Italian Renaissance. when Lilith dies under mysterious circumstances, Jada starts to believe that someone else may be trying to find the lost art treasure. Now Jada is in a race against time to find the paintings and restore Lilith’s reputation. Michelangelo’s Ghost by Gigi Pandian reminded me a little of a Dan Brown book but with deeper characters. To be honest I’m not big on mysteries, what got me interested in this book was that it was set in a location that I knew very little about. I had never heard of The Park Of Monsters, this and the idea of a ghost haunting it drew me in. It’s not the main point of the story but it got me wanting to know more. I felt this book got off to a slow start but I liked the characters enough to keep reading and the book gets better as Jada arrives in Italy. From that point, the pace of the story picks up and you start to see a good mix of superstition and history in this mystery. To me the best part of this book is the historical research that went into it. I love the details given about The Park Of Monsters, the history behind the park and the connections between Indian and Italian art. Michelangelo’s Ghost is as much a historical fiction novel as a mystery and that’s what makes it a good read. My favorite part wasn’t the mystery or the ghost, it was when the professors talked about the history of the area and how exciting it was that their could be an art studio on the grounds. It does work as a good mystery too and fans of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery will finish this book feeling satisfied
This was my first encounter into the mysterious world created by Pandian, perhaps I should have started at the beginning considering this is the fourth in the Jaya Jones treasure hunt series. I went way out of my comfort zone to read/review this book, the cover almost spoke to me and it’s blurb reminded me of ‘Nancy Drew’ combined with the ‘Famous Five’ going on a mystery adventure. It was easy to read, moved at a steady pace, great if you like the historical and travel references. Basically a story involving a girl ‘JJ’ and her brother following some clues to locate some missing art pieces. Add in a few ghostly goings on .. is JJ’s life in danger, who can she trust etc…… As a quick read and something a little different I quite enjoyed this but have to honestly say with my huge ‘TBR’ I doubt I will be reading any of the others in the series. But I’m sure there are many cosy mystery fans who would love this. Many thanks to the author, publisher, Netgalley and iRead Book Tours for the ARC.
Very clever mystery, rich with Italian and Indian art history and food. Irresistible combo! The book opens with a wonderful reflection on what makes something a treasure. I was hooked! Another proof, if any is still needed, that the first paragraph is essential. It not only needs to grab you, but also has to fit perfectly within the style and genre of the book. We get to know JJ, a historian by formation. But as she helped find a treasure in India, she now gets hundreds of similar requests. So when she receives an invitation from her old professor, Dr Lilith Vine, JJ cannot refuse. Lilith claims she found unique sketchbooks from the 16th century. They are the artwork of Lazzaro Allegri, a protégé of Michelangelo. Allegri spent thirty years in India, where he combined Italian religious iconography with Indian settings. That didn’t go too well with the papacy, so when he came back, he hid his works. Lilith asks JJ’s help to trace Allegri’s works of art and his hidden art studio. So we follow then JJ in Italy, especially to Bomarzo and the famous Parco di Mostri, Park of Monsters, where the art studio seems to be located. She goes there with her brother Mahilan and his girlfriend Ava, to try to find the artist’s workshop herself. When she arrives in Italy, she hears Lilith has died. JJ suspects she may have been killed and realizes her quest is going to be much more dangerous than an art history field trip. To make matter worse, she is no longer sure whom she can trust. Was Lilith herself hiding something from her? What about Lane, her former lover and art thief, who shows up in Italy, disguised? The descriptions of the Park of Monsters and its history were fascinating. Definitely a place you need to check on your next trip to Italy! One unfortunate consequence I was not at all expecting from the book: it kept making me hungry, with its yummy evocation of Indian (through JJ’s diet and also her friend Sanjay’s, a stage magician) and Italian food. They even go to a cooking class with a chef! The suspense was awesome, with spooky scenes. Despite the title, keep in mind that this is definitely not a supernatural, fantasy book, but a real mystery. I was a bit mad at JJ sometimes, as it took her from chapters 14 to 37 to realize an important detail that seemed so blatantly oblivious to me from the get go, but there were plenty of other elements to prevent me from actually identifying the villain. We run into several characters connected to JJ’s life, and sometimes it felt a bit too much for me to keep track of, probably because I have not read the three previous books in this series, but at the same time, it was neat, as it made for plenty of red-herrings, as it was hard to discern whom JJ could really trust. The essential details about the clue are very clever and so easy to miss. And the ending is great!
Are you a fan of mystery books? I’ve been reading mystery books since I was a little girl! I can’t remember the first mystery I read, but I do know that one of my favorite series as a tween was Nancy Drew! What girl didn’t want to be Nancy Drew solving cases and traveling to exciting places? I still want to travel to exciting places and solve mysteries! Jaya Jones gets to do those things too. She never sets out to solve mysteries, but she ends up doing it anyway. This is the first Jaya Jones book I’ve read, but it is the fourth book in the series. I haven’t read the others, but after having read this, I will be reading them! Michelangelo’s Ghost is a cozy mystery book with such fun characters and a plot that will keep you guessing! I had no idea who the “bad guy” was until Jaya did! The setting in Italy and the Park of Monsters is written so vividly that you’ll feel like you are really there! I highly recommend Michelangelo’s Ghost to any fans of the cozy mystery genre! I received this book free of charge, but it did not influence my opinion in any way.
In my defense (and in the book’s defense) I am NOT a history buff. I have always disliked history so with that in mind; I had a hard time getting into the book. I felt it was a little slow where I like more action packed, quick paced mysteries. I will say, the suspense started off almost immediately; but I for much of the beginning, I felt like I was waiting for the adventure to begin. Although this was the fourth book in the Jaya series; I didn’t feel left out of anything that was pertinent to this book. If you like a good who done it mystery, history and or art; this will be a great read for you!
a thrilling read MICHELANGELO'S GHOST by Gigi Pandian The Fourth Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Once again Gigi Pandian has captured my attention and drawn me in-with her first sentence no less! Jaya Jones is back and contemplating treasure. While dealing with the aftermath of her last adventure Jaya hears from a ghost from her past. Her former mentor, Dr. Lilith Vine, now shunned by the majority of academia, is asking for Jaya's help.The possibility of a major discovery, artwork from a protege of Michelangelo showing Renaissance artwork with Indian subjects, sparks Jaya's imagination. Lilith believes she has the clues to find Lazzaro Allegri's studio and paintings, lost in Italy's Park of Monsters. Will Jaya travel to Italy to hunt for this treasure? Will the elusive Lane Peters assist her? Can Jaya redeem her mentor's reputation and find the treasure? MICHELANGELO'S GHOST has danger, excitement, and romance, but romance that doesn't take away from the plot, but rather propels it. Art history and a ghost story add even more depth and fun to this intricately detailed mystery. Not only does Pandian have a compelling story in MICHELANGELO'S GHOST, but she continues to reveal more layers to her characters including secrets about Lane's past. These multidimensional characters are so dynamic and realistic that I feel as if I am one with the story and Jaya is my true friend. As such, at one point of the book I really wanted to push one character off the edge of a high terrace on Jaya's behalf! One of my favorite things about the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries are the locations we visit in each book. With San Fransisco as a home base MICHELANGELO'S GHOST takes us to Italy, an Italy slightly off the beaten path as well, in the small town of Bomarzo. This real life town is the location of the real life Park of Monsters. Which brings me to another great part of a Jaya Jones mystery, learning more true history. Pandian makes history fun. Little known facts become treasures of knowledge. While some poetic license and fictionalization is used, Pandian always lets readers know truth from fiction in an afterward. MICHELANGELO'S GHOST is a thrilling read that I thoroughly enjoyed from first sentence to last. I eagerly await Jaya's next adventure when I can once again travel the world learning interesting historical details all from the comfort of my own home! FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Perfect late night reading... Michelangelo’s Ghost A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #4 By Gigi Pandian Jaya Jones is fascinated by history - she's made it her life's work as professor and an occasional discoverer of lost pieces of history. And her former mentor is about to give her the chance of a lifetime or the chance to destroy her career. And if the clues that Lilith Vine has discovered lead to the discovery that they are hoping for they will rewrite the known history of Renaissance art. But all too soon Jaya's newest treasure hunt takes a dangerous turn. With a murderer seemingly on her trail can Jaya stay one step ahead and find the lost art of Lazzaro Allegri? Or will she too be lost to the ravages of time? Jaya leaves San Francisco behind for the mysteries of the Park of Monsters of Bomarzo, Italy. Once in Italy she learns of a local story about a ghost that haunts the area and wails in its grief. Is this an important link that could provide a clue or is this something more sinister? Jaya, along with her brother, is going to find the missing link between Lazzaro Allegri, Michelangelo, and Renaissance era Italy and India. Michelangelo's Ghost is a fun who-dun-it with a wide cast of potential suspects spread across the globe. This is the first book by Gigi Pandian I have read and I can safely say it won't be the last. This story was complete unto itself and reading the previous titles wasn't necessary to fully enjoy it. There were references to other trips that Jaya had previously taken but this didn't detract from the story and just interested me in reading the previous three books. This is a fun read and perfect for unwinding with, except that it kept me up reading because I just had to read one more chapter. I was provided an Advanced Uncorrected Review Copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
This is a great book; this is the fourth book in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series written by Gigi Pandian. When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night and you will not want to put this book down until you finish. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
Gigi Pandian writes fascinating stories. They are incredibly researched while being totally accessible. Jaya is a wonderful character. She tries to balance her academic interests with her passion for historical discoveries. An ongoing question for her is, "What is her proper direction? Is she playing it too safe or is she in danger of going off into "crazy" land?" Throw in two men who are very important to her. But in what capacity? And her brother. And ghosts and threats, and things that go bump (or howl) in the night. It's marvelous.
I have loved Jaya Jones from the moment she stepped onto the pages of book 1. She is intelligent, independent, feisty and quirky. Best of all, this larger than life individual comes in a petite package. As I have come to expect since book 1, this story had an interesting treasure hunt with just the right amount of historical details to add flavor to the mystery. Jaya was reluctantly drawn into this latest treasure hunt by a professor that she felt she had wronged in the past. Her need to see this through to the end was a given, but having her straight-laced brother and his latest girlfriend accompany her was not. The hijinx these three got up to were extremely entertaining. As I read, I was feeling very pleased with myself because I figured out a few things before Jaya but, as always, Gigi had a number of unexpected twists planned. It was wonderful revisiting characters that I have loved from previous books and meeting new ones. I am really invested in these characters and am really rooting for Jaya and Lane. I love them as a couple and as a team. I am looking forward to the next book in the series because I have so many questions that I am hoping will get answered. For now, I will just be counting down the days until the audio-book for Michelangelo's Ghost is available because the only thing better than reading the stories is to enjoy them in the audio-book format. I received a free, advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.