"The Raven Thief" By Gigi Pandian: Review/Giveaway

Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

After a performance was sabotaged and Tempest Raj wrongfully blamed for a death, the famous Las Vegas magician returned home to join her family’s Secret Staircase Construction business specializing in hidden rooms and secret bookcases. They have just successfully completed a renovation for their client Lavinia Kingsley, a new divorcee ready to turn her ex’s mancave into a hidden reading nook and meeting space for her bookclub. To further celebrate her divorce from the bestselling author Corbin Colt, Lavinia has asked Darius Raj and his company for a celebratory séance to banish the “spirit” out of her home. That Corbin is still alive and séances aren’t really their thing doesn’t seem to matter to Lavinia, who has invited her bookclub friends over with plans to use a table’s hidden compartments to create the illusion of a real haunting. Not even the talented illusionist Tempest expected for Corbin’s body to literally drop in on them, with her Grandpa Ash becoming the main suspect. It seems that he had threatened Corbin not long before the death, and with those in the séance room all holding hands at the time of the reveal they appear to have rock-solid alibis.

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As Tempest well knows, things are often not what they seem and it will be up to her to unravel how Corbin instantly transported over from his girlfriend’s house as she was livestreaming miles away. Tempest will also be closely inspecting Lavinia’s Detection Keys bookclub, classic mystery readers who named themselves after a British social club of Golden Age Detection writers. Corbin’s affinity for ravens lends a spooky atmosphere for Tempest’s investigations, but it’s the appearance of a circus performer who stirs up all of Tempest’s fears. The contortionist Fleur claims to have been hired by Ash to steal an Agatha Christie book from the dead man, and the way that it links to Tempest’s family has her alarmed. Only recently has she begun to dispel the Raj family curse proclaiming that the eldest dies by magic, proving that her mother and aunt were murdered by very real, very corporal, killers. With her beloved grandfather and family reputation now in danger, Tempest and her friends will be tasked to solve an impossibly-seeming murder and protect her family’s legacy.

If you are a fan of locked-room mysteries, then this is the series for you. Author Gigi Pandian continues to craft extraordinary puzzles for Tempest to solve, and there is genuine delight as she explains them to both the suspects and readers.   The brilliant Tempest is not fully retired from the stage yet, as with her name finally cleared she is planning her ultimate last show-stopping televised performance. Her magic acts are from a nearly bygone era, with the story behind the magic as much if not more important than the actual trick. Tempest being Scottish-Indian-Californian has always placed her as an outsider in her profession, not to mention being female and not just the pretty assistant. Tempest’s wit and humor elevate these novels, with the banter between her and her friend The Hindi Houdini a reliable delight. Live-streaming instagrammers, classical mystery references, and an extraordinary final reveal make this a rewarding and extremely entertaining read.

To enter to win a copy of The Raven Thief, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "raven,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 15, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I love stuff about secret rooms! Count me in!

  2. Trying to reach a spirit before it is a
    spirit might cause a death. Sounds
    like an interesting read. thanks

  3. Would really like to read. Already on my TBR list.

  4. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

  5. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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