This is book number 1 in the Secret Staircase Mysteries series.
"Wildly entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review
A Lefty Nominee for Best Mystery Novel
Known for her wonderfully addictive characters, multiple award-winning author Gigi Pandian introduces her newest heroine in this heartfelt series debut. Under Lock & Skeleton Key layers stunning architecture with mouthwatering food in an ode to classic locked-room mysteries that will leave readers enchanted.
An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.
After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations—something she used to swear didn’t exist—has finally come for her.
Praise for Under Lock & Skeleton Key
PopSugar—33 Must Read Mysteries and Thrillers of 2022
CrimeReads—The Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2022
Goodreads—Readers’ Most Anticipated Mysteries of 2022
Bookish—20 Spring Releases to Have On Your Radar
BookRiot—13 Deadly Cozy Mysteries for the First Half of 2022
BookPage—2022 Preview: Most Anticipated Mystery and Suspense
“This thrilling murder mystery is full of twists, turns, magician stunt doubles, and secret staircases.” —Brit & Co
“Mind-blowing architecture and failed magic tricks set the stage for Gigi Pandian’s latest addictive read… This thrilling mystery novel is full of twists and turns. You never know what piece of the mystery will unfold behind each hidden wall.” —SheKnows
"Devotees of the classic locked-room mystery will appreciate Gigi Pandian’s Under Lock & Skeleton Key, which tweaks the template with architectural puzzles, family curses, and a family business called Secret Staircase Construction." —Goodreads
“Gigi Pandian is the reigning QUEEN of locked room mysteries . . . For those who’ve been waiting for the perfect fictional family to take the place of Lisa Lutz’s The Spellmans, look no further.” —CrimeReads
“[A] fantastic locked-room mystery featuring secrets, sleights of hand, and, of course, a murder.” —Mystery Scene Magazine
"Pandian's writing bursts with heart and hope.” —BookPage (starred review)
“Pandian is in top form in this thoroughly enjoyable series launch. . . Lovers of traditional mysteries with quirky characters will be well rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Excellent... This 'Secret Staircase' series starter is a fresh and magical locked-room mystery filled with fascinating and likable characters, incredible settings, and Tempest’s grandfather’s homecooked Indian meals." —Library Journal
"Nonstop enchantment." —Kirkus Reviews
"With dazzling sleight of hand, Gigi Pandian launches an enchanting new series . . . a must-read." —Deanna Raybourn
"Gigi Pandian is the modern master of the locked room mystery." —S.A. Cosby
“A stand out mystery. The fast-reading, suspenseful tale delights, with dashes of international spice and a powerful new heroine.” —Sujata Massey
"An absolute sparkling gem of a book! With masterful misdirection and literary sleight of hand, Pandian has penned a delectable tale that kept me guessing.” —Jenn McKinlay
“Pandian is this generation’s queen of the locked-room mystery! A whimsical confection." —Naomi Hirahara
"An extremely likable new protagonist, a cunning plot, and a cast of quirky, fascinating characters. . . full of twists and witty insights you never see coming." —Aaron Elkins
“A perfect blend of adventure and mystery." —Paige Shelton
"A love letter to golden age mysteries . . . will keep readers guessing whodunit until the very end." —Ellie Alexander