Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock & Skeleton Key should have been a book that I loved, but unfortunately, it fell a bit flat. It has everything I would typically lap up: delicious descriptions of food, secret rooms and staircases, a curse, and classic murder mystery elements.

Synopsis of Under Lock & Skeleton Key

After a near-death experience at one of her popular magic shows, which ultimately ended her career, Tempest Raj finds herself living at home with her parents. She knows her father doesn’t need her help at his Secret Staircase Construction company, but her options are limited.

One day when Tempest is on-site with her father, the crew finds a dead body crammed behind a wall. They have no idea how the body came to be there, and they soon realize that the dead body is Tempest’s former body double.

Tempest believes the murderer was after her because of a family curse that dates back several generations. Although the police make a quick arrest, she refuses to believe they have the real culprit. And so, Tempest embarks on her own investigation.

Review of Under Lock & Skeleton Key

I think I would have enjoyed this novel when I was younger. It’s not clear who is the target audience for this book. Tempest is in her mid-twenties, but the writing style reads on the younger side. I had to double-check how old Tempest was because it felt like I was reading from a much younger protagonist’s pov.

The writing was repetitive as well. It’s not necessary to drill the same points over and over again.

There were parts that I did enjoy. The sections that focused on Tempest’s family dynamics, the scrumptious food descriptions, and when she channelled her inner Hercule Poirot was well-done. There are some mouth-watering vegan-friendly recipes at the end of the book.

Although I didn’t love this novel, I’m sure others will have lots of fun with it. I recommend this to readers that enjoy YA and are looking for a light murder mystery.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Expected Publication: 15 March 2022

Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing a review copy via Netgalley.

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