A Day in the Life of Dorian Robert-Houdin by Gigi Pandian

The Masquerading MagicianBonjour. Je m’appelle Dorian Robert-Houdin. Pardon. I will switch to English. Do not be frightened of my appearance. I am a gargoyle. I was brought to life 150 years ago through alchemy.

Perhaps you have heard of my father, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. He is often credited as the father of modern stage magic. His friend Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the architect who restored Notre Dame Cathedral and added a gallery of gargoyles in the 1850s, gave my father one of his gargoyle statues as a gift. My father wished to use the statue as part of a dramatic scene in a magic show, and placed the gift on his stage. Yet when he read from an antique alchemy book he believed was merely a prop. . .voila! I was born.

I have lived most of my life in the shadows. Most people are not ready to believe in a living gargoyle. I cannot adequately express how pleased I am to have found a true home in Portland, Oregon, with alchemist Zoe Faust.

Zoe is helping me decode the book of alchemy that brought me to life. It is an urgent quest, because the sad fact is that my life force is reversing. Soon, if Zoe does not discover Not Untrue Alchemy’s secrets, I will be awake yet trapped in stone forever.

Dawn is breaking, so I have safely made my way through the darkness back to Zoe’s house. I crawled through my secret doorway—a hole in the roof atop the Craftsman house attic—and am now in my favorite room of the house: the kitchen.

As a Frenchman, I have always appreciated the finest foods. I became a chef many years ago, and it is the perfect avocation for me. (How this transpired is a long story, so Dru Ann tells me I must save it for the pages of the novel that tells my story.)

I was once a traditional French chef—until I met Zoe. As an alchemist who immerses herself in her work with plants, Zoe follows a plant-based diet. I admit my first thought upon learning this fact was quelle horreur! Yet she won me over. And after six months with the alchemist, I have become the greatest vegan chef in Portland. Perhaps in all of Oregon.

Zoe tells me I should be more humble, but why should I lie? I have perfected a decadent macaroni and cheese using cashews, discovered substitutions that are more magnifique than the originals, and even improved upon Zoe’s chocolate elixir. I am now the pastry chef at the neighborhood gathering spot, Blue Sky Teas. Of course, everyone besides our young neighbor Brixton believes Zoe to be the pre-dawn chef. C’est la vie. As long as I am able to cook, I am happy.

I wish Zoe could join me for breakfast today, but she is looking into a suspicious pair of stage magicians who have come to town. I do wonder what they are up to, but I have more important matters to attend to. If you will excuse me, it is time to eat.

The Masquerading Magician is the second book in the “Accidental Alchemist” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, January 2016.

About The Masquerading Magician

Deciphering an ancient alchemy book is more difficult than Zoe Faust bargained for. She’d much rather be gardening and exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon—but time is running out for living gargoyle Dorian Robert-Houdin. If Zoe isn’t able to unlock the alchemy book’s secrets soon, the French gargoyle will remain awake but trapped in stone forever.

When Zoe gives herself a rare night out to attend a classic magic show that reminds her of her youth, she realizes the stage magicians are much more than they seem. A murder at the theater leads back to a string of unsolved robberies and murders in Portland’s past, and a mystery far more personal than Zoe and Dorian ever imagined.

Recipes included!

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series (Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and Quicksand) as well as the Accidental Alchemist mysteries (The Accidental Alchemist and The Masquerading Magician). Gigi’s debut mystery novel was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant, the follow-up won the Left Coast Crime Rose Award, and her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards.

Connect with Gigi on her website at gigipandian.com, on Facebook, on Twitter at @gigipandian, and via her email newsletter.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Masquerading Magician. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end January 19 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!


  1. The first book in this series was fantastic. I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Gigi Pandian is a “new to me” author. Sounds like a good mystery. Thank you for the giveaway.

  3. I am so excited this is out! I loved the first book-what a fascinating concept to have a living gargoyle. Thanks Dru for featuring this book today. 🙂 Thanks to Gigi for the opportunity to win a copy.:o That would be awesome!

  4. Thanks for the enthusiasm for the book, all! When I began writing this series, I loved my gargoyle character but wasn’t sure if others would, so it’s be SO wonderful to hear from readers who love Dorian (and his recipes!).

  5. Thanks so much for the enthusiasm about the book, all! When I started writing this series about a gargoyle, I had no idea if anyone else would get into it, so it’s been SO wonderful to hear from readers who love Dorian — and his recipes!

  6. I’m really intrigued by the premise of this story–it’s totally different from anything else and I can’t wait to try it out.

  7. I love Gigi Pandians Jaya Jones series, and I’m sure this one is just as entertaining. Great cover!

  8. I love this series! Please don’t enter me in the drawing, I already have my copy ordered. I just wanted to stop in and read this wonderful post. Now if I can just find a Dorian of my own… 🙂

  9. Thanks so much to all of you who’ve stopped by today to express your interest in the series! Dorian is such fun to write 😉

    Since the contest to win a copy of The Masquerading Magician is open through the end of the long weekend, I’ll pop back in case anyone has any questions for me.

    Thanks for hosting me and Dorian, Dru Ann!

  10. Allo Dorian. I wish I was able to taste your delightful foods myself! I thought about you the other day, alas it wasn’t about food. My legs were bothering me and they felt as if they were turning to stone! Augh-this must be what poor Dorian feels. I hope that Zoe will be able to solve the backward alchemy and you recover!

  11. Hi Gigi and Dru! Please do not enter me in the contest, I already have my “reading” copy and ordered my “keeping” copy thru Seattle so that I could have it autographed. Gigi is one of my new very favorite authors, and her recipes have already entranced my neighbor, who just found out she has a list of allergies pages long! You give her hope. Gigi, you were asking about a gargoyle series…. Vickie Taylor writes one. The first book is Carved In Stone. I read and enjoyed it, and have the next 2 to read “Flesh and Stone and Legacy of Stone”. Need lots more time and your books come first. Please keep writing and I’ll keep reading. Thank you!!

  12. I really have enjoyed Gigi’s Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, and look forward to reading the Accidental Alchemist mysteries

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