michelangelos-ghostI’m sitting on a hilltop overlooking sprawling vineyards of the Italian countryside, drinking what might be the greatest espresso I’ve tasted in my life, with rich chocolate overtones and the sweet scent of apricots. I should be enjoying myself. Who in their right mind could feel apprehensive in this idyllic setting? Yet I can’t stop glancing over my shoulder whenever the wind rustles the branches of the nearby pomegranate trees.

I wish I could lie to myself and believe, at least for a few moments, that I’ve traveled to a romantic Renaissance garden in Italy as a fun vacation before I return to San Francisco to teach history to college students. Unfortunately, that’s not why I’m here.

I’m in Italy to find a treasure of art history that’s been lost for five centuries—and to unmask a killer ghost.

How did this happen? I don’t even believe in ghosts, yet here I am being haunted by a ghost story that’s linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead Italian artist and the murderous deeds of a present-day killer who’s hiding behind a ghost story.

At least… I’m almost certain it’s not actually a ghost haunting this sculpture garden built by an eccentric Italian nobleman in the 1500s.

This is how I got here: Last month, I was shocked by the death of a professor I once knew well. Her death occurred soon after she discovered sketchbooks of a Renaissance painter that pointed to a treasure located in Italy’s Park of Monsters. She called me because the priceless artwork showed a previously unknown connection between Italy and India, which she knew would pique my interest.

I was born in India and my family moved to California when I when I was a child. The connections between India and the West have always fascinated me, which is why I became a historian specializing in India’s colonial history. How could I resist looking into a missing link between India and Italy’s artwork during the Renaissance? Especially one that might involve one of the most famous artists of all time: Michelangelo. After my professor died under strange circumstances, I couldn’t resist finishing what she started. So here I am picking up the trail. If you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a date with a ghost at the Park of Monsters.

Michelangelo’s Ghost is the fourth Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, published by Henery Press, October 2016.

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance.
A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story.
And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters. . .

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail.

From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

Publishers Weekly says: “This book has everything a mystery lover could ask for: ghostly presences, Italian aristocrats, jewel thieves, failed actors, sitar players, and magic tricks, not to mention dabs of authentic history and academic skullduggery.”

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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. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s fiction has been awarded the Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards, and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Visit Gigi at gigipandian.com. Keep up to date via her email newsletter and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of six book-themed recipe cards, each featuring one of Gigi’s recipes related to her books. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends October 10, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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