Cover Image: The Raven Thief

The Raven Thief

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Member Reviews

This was so cute! I loved it so much that I reread book one before reading this one so I would have everyone fresh in my mind, but it turns out I didn't need it. The characters are all so wonderful and vivid that I didn't have any problem remembering who they were and this one picked right up with the wonderful Secret Staircase Construction crew and her wonderful grandparents and things just kept being a fun and fantastic as they always were. There is a mystery with many possibilities just like before and our magician detective is on the case. This was just fantastic!

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Pandian's Secret Staircase Mysteries just aren't my thing. I downloaded the ebooks and the audiobooks, but couldn't get into them. Maybe at another time, but the mysteries didn't pull me in.

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I love a good cozy mystery and found the symbolism of the raven throughout the story a refreshing part of this novel. However, I was not enthralled by the character journeys and would love to find more about the main character relatable.

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The Raven Thief is the second installment of Gigi Pandian's Secret Staircase Mysteries. In this book, Tempest Raj is now working with her father in his Secret Staircase Construction Company . Upon completion of the first project she has worked on, the client asks Tempest's friend and fellow illusionist Sanjay to conduct a mock séance to remove any trace of her ex-husband from the property. Unfortunately, during the séance the ex-husband ends up dead in the middle of the table. Tempest's Grandpa Ash soon becomes the primary suspect after he gets blood on his hands from checking the body for signs of life causing Tempest to decide to get involved in the investigation to prove her grandfather's innocence.

In this book, the author has created a unique locked room mystery that brings in a variety of twists and turns that lead the protagonist on a trail of red herrings and puzzles that require solving even though they appear to be impossible situations. As the action ramps up, the author also makes use of a variety of unique characters that have very well-developed histories and relationships across the entire cast. Addition, the author has created an underlying plot that continues from the first book and has no resolution by the conclusion of this book creating a built in audience for future installments while still giving her readers an unexpected reveal of both culprit and motive for the current mystery.

The narrator of this audiobook has done an excellent job of creating voices for the characters in this audiobook as well as establishing and maintaining excellent pacing for the reading of this text.

I received an ARC of this audiobook from NetGalley and Macmillan Audio and am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Fantastic premise, flat execution. Unfortunately, this might be the last attempt at this series for me. Unfortunately, after book two I'm still struggling with the same challenges. I don't know the characters any better and I don't find myself connecting with them any more than I did in the first book.

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Panfish did it again. I loved her first book, and this one did not disappoint. Her eclectic mix of multicultural characters, magic tricks, and Agatha Christy-esque mystery makes these a great read. I guess it would class a a cozy mystery, but it doesn’t have that cutesy, whimsical feel. I really liked it and will keep looking out for her work.

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Started this with number 2 and didn't even realize it. There are mentions of the past so it is fine as a stand-alone read but I liked it enough to look for number 1. :) I love the name of the series. I have an artist aunt who builds. Her angle is tree houses and Hobbit living so you can see the attraction and of course, I love cozy mysteries. I love the characters and hope to read her 3rd book too.

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Another delightful cozy locked room mystery with mouth watering food recipes! I really like how Tempest uses her skills as a magician to help solve the mysteries. I'm even more curious about the disappearance of her mother with new information that is revealed and I can't wait to find out more. These books are delightful listens and I thought the narrator Soneela Nankani does a great job in bringing the large cast of characters alive with her different voices.

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The Raven Thief is a cozy mystery, but it also had a creepiness factor. There were ravens flying around the house during and after the séance. I like the magic/illusions/sleight of hand that is part of these books. Even the physical aspects of the houses is fun. Tempest is a great character. She is good at what she does (illusions) and uses that skill and knowledge to figure out what happened and how. She is smart as well and tenacious, so you know she is not going to give up until she has cleared her grandpa. The secondary characters, her friends and family, all add to the story. I love the addition of her lop-eared rabbit who has his own home in her spiral staircase tower. There is a mysterious character that she calls Moriarity, as she doesn't know his real name, that pops in and gives her clues to things happening in her life. Grandpa Ash is a wonderful cook of both Indian and Scottish food (his wife, Moraig, is from Scotland) and there were some mouth watering descriptions of food with recipes given at the end. This was a very complicated mystery that took several tries for Tempest to figure out and I smiled with satisfaction when I closed the cover. I highly recommend this cozy mystery book and series. Jump in now when there are only two books out. The narration was performed by Soneela Nankani who did a great job with this story. She gave the various characters their own identifiable voices and added just enough emotion and expression to add to my enjoyment of the story.

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I am so happy that Tempest is back for a second mystery! I think this one was even better than the first. The locked room mystery was such a great puzzler - how did a dead body end up on the table in the middle of a fake seance?

I love the characters in this series, and this book continues on their development. However, I think you could pick this book up and enjoy it without having read the first.

I really enjoyed listening to the audio book - the narrator does a great job voicing all the characters and reads at a good pace.

I highly recommend this book and this series. Ms. Pandian does a great job plotting the mystery - the careful reader should be able to spot the clues woven throughout and solve it along with the sleuth. (I did not! But she also puts all the pieces together for the reader as well.) Definitely a fun read!

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The Raven Thief
Genre: Mystery
Author: Gigi Pandian
GR: 3.88

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and Macmillan Audio and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: One murder. Four impossibilities. A fake séance hides a very real crime. Secret Staircase Construction just finished their first project with Tempest Raj. Their client is now ready to celebrate her new life without her cheating ex-husband, famous mystery author Corbin Colt. First up, a party, and Tempest and Grandpa Ash are invited to the exclusive mock séance to remove any trace of Corbin from the property—for good. It's all lighthearted fun until Corbin's dead body crashes the party. The only possible suspects are the eight people around the séance table—a circle of clasped hands that wasn't broken. Suspicion quickly falls on Grandpa Ash, the only one with actual blood on him. To prove her beloved grandfather’s innocence, Tempest must figure out what really happened—and how—or Ash will be cooking his delectable Indian and Scottish creations nevermore.

My Thoughts: This is the second book in the Secret Staircase Mystery series. This could be read as a standalone, however, you will get more of a character background, character relationships, and the history by reading the first book, Under Lock & Skeleton Key. This follows the classic locked room mystery.

The narrator does a fantastic job at voice variation with the different characters, really brings the characters to life, and enriches the storyline. The characters were developed well, were quirky, mysterious, magical, and creative. The author’s writing style was complex, was paced well, lighthearted, suspenseful, and intriguing.

While some of the storyline requires you to suspend belief, this is a work of fiction with a paranormal element. Overall, this was a good read and I would recommend, especially the audiobook. The mystery from the first book carries over into this book, I did not care for that aspect, I wish they would solve that mystery and move on, it is too drawn out. As for this storyline, it really is a modern twist on the classic whodunit story.

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This was a very well done and engaging mystery. It is the second book in the Secret Staircase mystery series. I hadn't read book one though and I was able to keep up with everything. Right off the bat I loved the main character and I thought the business her and her father run is such a fun idea! It also lends itself nicely to a mystery series. The mysteries in this one really drew me in. Not just the who did it, but the how did they do it. I found the narrator did a fantastic job with all the voices and really brought them to life.

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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to listen to this ARC!

Tempest and crew have finished their latest project and their client wants to celebrate by having a fake seance to remove any traces of her ex, famous mystery writer Corbin Colt.

Well, things get interesting when Corbin turns up dead on the seance table and the prime suspect her Tempest's grandfather, Ash.

There are 7 other possible suspects who were sitting around the seance table. Tempest didn't do it, her grandfather didn't do it, but who did?

Some family secrets comes out in this sequel and I'm looking forward to the third.

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I really loved this book in a new to my series and author. I can't wait to read the next one. The characters and location really add to the plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end

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🪶I listened to the audio book earlier this month and here's what I wrote to the @acozyengagement group chat: "Did anyone read Under Lock and Skeleton Key? I liked it but (slight exaggeration) just finished book 2, The Raven Thief and it's like 100 times better, tighter plot/mystery, more intense."

🔒The locked room murder with the 4 impossibilities, the overarching mystery about Tempest's mom and the family curse…

📚 Two additional thoughts come to mind…

📏 First, lately I'm thinking the 3 book rule for series RULES. I'd love to interview some cozy authors and ask them how hard it is sometimes to write the first book of a series. I'd also love to explore their writing process. I know several popular series where characters and style change from book 1 to 2, how are decisions made (if it is even something they are conscious of…).

✍️ Second, this book brought to mind writing annotations in library school. This is NOT annotating your thoughts as you read, but rather written by librarians to help share what's best about the plot. More than a plot summary or a review, it's like writing your own jacket cover or blurb. They can vary in length but our assignment was to write one sentence. One sentence is nearly impossible with this book 🤣 (Maybe I'll try it later just for fun).

The audio performance enhances the story, highly recommend! But go back and read book 1 if you haven't, this is one series I'm not sure will work as well out of order.

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The Raven Thief is the second installment in the Secret Staircase Mystery series by Gigi Pandian. Once again Tempest has found herself looking into a locked door murder that takes place at one of her family’s construction sites. This time around it is even more personal as her beloved grandfather is the prime suspect.
This is my first audiobook in this series since I read the ARC of the first installment and I was not disappointed, Soneela Nankani was the perfect narrator for this story. This murder investigation was even more interesting than the last as it leads to more clues in the case of Tempest’s mother’s disappearance as well as the most recent murder. Gigi Pandian is a master of plot twists as well as call backs to classic locked door mysteries. I can’t wait to read the next entry to the series as I’m dying to get more clues about the Raj family curse as well as find out who is Moriarty.
Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for early access to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved this cozy mystery story as much as the first book (Under Lock and Skeleton Key). I always wished I could explore a property with hidden rooms and staircases (and through this book I can). The story is clever, entertaining, cozy and such a wonderful addition to the series.

I want to thank NetGalley, Gigi Pandian and Macmillan Audio for the e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are honest, my own and left voluntarily.

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*received for free from netgalley for honest review* Read the first book in this series and it's a pretty cute cozy mystery, more of a 3.5 but good enough that i will continue to read this series if i keep getting ARC's lol

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This is an expertly crafted cozy that draws you, once again, into the magical world of sleight of hand and misdirection. Thanks to the wonderful imagery, I am on the hunt for jiggery coffee because it sounds so tempting and a perfect accompaniment to this second Secret Staircase mystery, with a cardamom and chocolate chip scone on the side. The series starter was highly entertaining and this next one is even more mystifying as to the locked room sequence and the description of the amazing creation known as Lavinia’s Lair. Was it a séance gone wrong or something more nefarious or a possible supernatural reason? Four impossibilities according to Tempest and Ravi, but nothing as impossible as the idea of Tempest’s loving grandpa Ash, a retired doctor, and local Good Samaritan, being the murderer. But Ash has secrets and secrets seem to be at the heart of this mystery, magic secrets, secrets of the past, secrets of the present, and Tempest is all-together tired of the secrets. To get to the bottom of this mystery and maybe even the one surrounding the mysterious the deaths of her mother and aunt, Tempest will need the help of her friends and family, and perhaps even Moriarty… Great story that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. If only there wasn’t a year between each book. Looking forward to the next Secret Staircase Mystery and more yummy recipes.

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I definitely picked up this book based on the cover and title, since I love Corvids, especially ravens, and I wasn’t disappointed with their ominous presence throughout the book. I also saw that séances, magic, and hidden staircases were also big parts of the story, and I thought “say less, NetGalley, this is an immediate request to review for me.”

Unfortunately, my bookish toxic trait of starting a book in the middle of a series (e.g. 2, 3, 7, etc.) without having read the first book reared it’s ugly head with this one, as I found out this was the second book in a series! And I think my review of this novel suffers a bit because of that.

For the majority of the book I was lost and not engaged by the drama occurring between characters, as I felt just dropped into a story I didn’t have all the necessary background details to understand the relationships and dynamics.

I did manage to find my footing by about 60-70% of the way through, and once I did I was hooked and I needed to find out who did it! That being said, you kind of have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to a few elements of the plot, such as secret spaces, the abilities of real life, magicians, and Deus Ex Machina-style resolutions. But overall, this is quite a whimsical, diverse, lighthearted cozy mystery, that I would recommend to readers who love:

- performance magic and magicians
- architecture and descriptions of unique styles
- Mysteries with amateur sleuths who don’t always get it right

Thanks Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for the ALC, now I’ll be going back to read the first book in the series Under Lock and Skeleton Key.

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