A three-hundred-year-old alchemist, a teen hoodlum, and a French gourmet chef gargoyle take up residence in an abandoned haunted house in Portland… Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? That’s essentially the opening premise to this book, however, followed by…and then a body shows up on the front porch. Yup. Because this is a cozy mystery in addition to being steeped in fantasy elements, plus an addition of lots of vegan recipes in the text. Because cozy mysteries are like that.
The Accidental Alchemist was my first RIP book this year, an audio I’d downloaded on a whim during Audible’s recent blowout sale. I had no idea if I’d like it, but for a couple bucks, I figured it was worth a try. I didn’t realize it was a cozy mystery before starting the book. Actually, I didn’t know anything at all about it, and that made this a fun book to just plow into unawares.
Thankfully, everything worked out happily for me! The novel was deliciously fun and autumn-like, and made me smile all the way through. It wasn’t a perfect book. I’m not fond of the cozy mystery way of fitting in thematic elements, and so got tired of hearing the ingredients of every single vegan dish prepared. But really, that was minor, and I really enjoyed the rest of the book: the characters, the mystery, the little quirks of Portland, the magic, etc. I’m happy to see there are further volumes of this series that (I imagine) could go on however long Pandian cares to write them!
Performance: Julia Motyka read this book. She did a fantastic job with it. Notably, there were a few spots where she coughed/cleared her throat after reading a sentence, and those parts were not edited out, so the production felt less professional than usual. I didn’t mind, though. The rest of the performance made up for that entirely.