A Day in the Life of Jaya Jones by Gigi Pandian

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.

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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!

36 responses to “A Day in the Life of Jaya Jones by Gigi Pandian

  1. Jody McGrath

    I LOVE this series. I have the first three and I have been dying to get this one!

  2. I like the Art background with this one. Please enter me.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  3. Sounds like a very interesting series, and a mystery to boot! Gonna go check this one out.

  4. Love to try new recipes!

  5. This book sounds facinating!

  6. Thanks for the early morning enthusiasm! I’m about to hop onto a quick flight to start my book tour. I’ll be offline for a couple of hours, then I’ll pop back online to chat again.

    p.s. In case any of you are in California and want to say hello in person, here are my event details, starting this weekend in southern California (with terrific authors Diane Vallere and Ellen Byron!): http://gigipandian.com/news-events/

  7. Thanks for this interesting post and wonderful giveaway.

  8. I am also fascinated by India’s colonial history and think I would love to read Jaya’s new mystery! Thanks for the chance to win!

    • At first I thought I might be limiting myself by writing a series with all the books linked to India’s colonial history, but the more I research, the more amazing history I’m becoming aware of. I’ve already got the next two planned!

  9. A new-to-me author and series that really appeals to me. Will be seeking these titles ASAP. Thank you for the chance!

  10. Loved this post, Gigi (and Dru!) Enjoy your book tour! Love to Ellen and Diane as well. Hugs all around.

    • Hug from afar! I wish we all had teleportation devices so I could see everyone who’s not on the West Coast with me!

  11. Barbara Hackel

    Sounds like an enthralling mystery and an unusual setting! Thanks for today’s blog Dru Ann. Thanks Gigi for all your great books and the chance for more recipes! I haven’t tried any yet, but your recipes always sound so interesting. I am a big fan of the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and her food always sounds so yummy!

    • I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, Barbara! Writing food in that series was such fun that I’m now incorporating more descriptive food in the Jaya Jones mysteries, too 🙂

  12. I can’t wait to read about Jaya’s latest adventure in the Park of Monsters in Italy — this book sounds so awesome! Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I got an advanced copy of the book and it is great!

  14. Delicious mystery. Hits all the sweet spots, and the garden. I’ve never heard of it. On the bucket list! Congratulations on the new release.

  15. I haven’t tried this series yet, I love the sound of this one, I guess I had better get started since it looks like I have a few to catch up on.

    • I hope you enjoy the books, Debbie! I know what you mean — there are so many mystery series to catch up with.

  16. This is a new-to-me series–I can’t imagine why I’ve missed it. I’ll be going back for the prior books based on the description of this one–sounds great.

  17. Need to try this! I am a history fan.

    • One of the things that’s most fun about writing this series is all the historical research I get to do!

  18. Mary Jane H.

    Love all the elements and characters in this book, it would make an interesting story.

  19. Thank you for including this book on your blog. I am not familiar with Gigi Pandian and her books so it will be refreshing to learn about her and her style of writing.

  20. This is a new series to me and I can’t wait to start reading it. “Michelangelo’s Ghost” sounds like an intriguing read. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  21. Vicki Highley

    Michelangelo’s Ghost is a great book!

  22. Della Williamson

    Does sound most interesting. Really appreciate intros to new writers and reads. Always so exciting to meet new authors and reads. so refreshing. Gigi’s books are now on my TBR. But so hoping this will be an early start

  23. I’m obsessed with the picture of Gigi in the monster mouth that matches the cover of the book. You sure have lived an interesting life. Thanks for sharing with us today. Book sounds great. Will def be checking this series out!

  24. Pauline Barlow

    So what’s not to like? It has so much to offer any reader.

  25. Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiasm for the book! It was a lot of fun to research and write, so I hope you enjoy it if you check it out.

    And thanks again, Dru Ann, for hosting me this week, and for running this wonderful blog that helps so many of us discover new authors!

  26. This really sounds interesting and a great read.