For our June Mystery Book Club, we read award winning books for 2016, published in 2015. You can find the list at Stop Your Killing Me: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/
I read The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian. This book won a Lefty Award for Best Left Coast Crime.
"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."
I loved this book! I would describe it as a fun mystery.
Zoe is older than you think. Dorian is an expert chef in French cuisine, and well he is a gargoyle. He cooks for her so she can stay on track and help him. But a murder and near murder happen that get in her way. Then there are the neighborhood teenagers that keep hanging around and get a little too nosy for their own good.
The author combines historical figures with modern day. For instance, Dorian's father was Robert Houdin. He was a real person. The first magician. Houdini took his stage name from his name. Dorian was a gargoyle made by Eugene Viollet le Duc who is famous for restoring Notre Dame Cathedral and added a gallery of gargoyles. How about Nicholas Flamel. Legend says he that he "made the Philosopher's Stone, which turns base metals into gold, and that he and his wife Perenelle achieved immortality through the "Elixir of Life"." Wiki
I love Dorian, the gargoyle. The picture in my mind of him in the kitchen in an apron made me laugh. The food he cooks sounds wonderful.
There are a few recipes at the end. I made the cookies. They are great!
Mystery, history, food, antiques, spooky houses, creatures and people from the past. All of my favorite things. Plenty of twists and surprise ending though. I am thrilled to see there is a book two out.
In case you are wondering about alchemy, here is a link to some information. (I had never heard of it other than some program at work. Now I am wondering why they called it that.)