When people first meet me and hear my name, Jaya Anand Jones, they often do a double-take. I was born in India, and my Indian mom named me Jaya (it means victorious) and gave me the middle name Anand (happiness). My last name comes from my American father, who met my mom while he was “finding himself” in Goa in the late 1970s.

I’m a history professor in San Francisco, which makes me Dr. Jones. Yes, I’ve heard all the jokes, especially lately. It’s because of what happened to me this summer. I wound up on a treasure hunt that took me to the Highlands of Scotland to uncover a lost Indian treasure with its secrets hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. My ex-boyfriend had discovered an Indian artifact that he wanted my help researching — but I received word of his “accidental” death in Scotland before I could reach him. It’s a longer story than I can tell you here, but you can read the whole adventure in Artifact.

Now I’m back home in San Francisco, and I’m late to meet my best friend Sanjay. He’s a magician. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He goes by the stage name The Hindi Houdini. He helped me solve the mystery of the Indian artifact, so it’s the least I can do to preview his latest magic show.

I’m not usually someone who runs late, but I got caught up talking with my landlady, Nadia, who always has entertaining stories to tell about San Francisco in the 1960s or her life in Russia as a young woman. She tried to get me to tell her about the new man in my life, but it’s a bit complicated, so I’d rather not talk about it quite yet.

It’s going to make me even later meeting Sanjay, but I need to stop at my local café to grab a strong coffee and a bagel with scrambled eggs and peanut butter — yum. I went for a run in Golden Gate Park earlier, and now I’m starving. It shouldn’t take too long, unless I happen to run into the neighborhood poet who has been trying to convince me to play my tabla drums as an accompaniment his poetry readings.

I’m still on summer break from teaching classes at my university, but if you know any academics, you know I’m supposed to be using that time to do my own research and writing, not gallivanting across the British Isles in search of an apocryphal treasure on the heels of a killer. I’m about to start my second year teaching history, and if I want to get tenure I need to step up my publishing in academic journals. I love history, especially my specialty of the British East India Company, but lately I can’t seem to find time to focus on my research. Speaking of time, I better get going so I can make it to Sanjay’s magic show!

You can read more about Jaya in Artifact, the first book in the new “Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt” mystery series.

When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she’s not the only one on the trail….

** Thanks to the Gigi, I have one (1) copy of ARTIFACT to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends August 31. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Meet the Author
Gigi Pandian grew up being dragged around the world by her anthropologist parents. She tried to escape her fate when she left a PhD program for art school, but adventurous academic characters wouldn’t stay out of her head. Thus was born the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. Her debut mystery, Artifact, was awarded the Malice Domestic Grant. Gigi is a graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. To sign up for Gigi’s newsletter or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, visit http://gigipandian.com.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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