Halloween Fun with Guest Gigi Pandian (and some carnivorous plants)

I always love it when Gigi visits the Wickeds! She’s an amazing writing and advocate for the writing community. Gigi is one of the co-founders of Crime Writers of Color. It is one of my favorite sites to find great crime fiction! Today, Gigi is here to celebrate the release of The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem!

Gigi: I’ve always adored Halloween, and my costume is always spooky and supernatural. Yes, I was the kid who was a vampire in the first grade! (Truly, and I have the photos to prove it.)

It’s really no surprise that I ended up writing a supernatural cozy mystery series featuring a centuries-old alchemist with a gargoyle sidekick. Nor is it a surprise that I continue to find ways to get additional spooky fun into the books. Last year’s release featured a supposed haunting by a woman who loved riddles. And the new book in the series, The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem, features the spookiest fun to date: topiary in the shape of monsters and a conservatory filled with carnivorous plants—one of which might be a murderer.

I had so much fun researching carnivorous plants. They go way beyond the Venus flytrap from Little Shop of Horrors.

Did you know that carnivorous plants will die if you care for them with nourishing soil? They thrive in inhospitable conditions, so don’t prepare nutrient-rich soil for them—or you’ll kill them.

Carnivorous plants were so fascinating to Charles Darwin that he studied them for years and wrote a book about them. His book Insectivorous Plants was published in 1875. (His hands-on research was with the Drosera species, not Venus flytraps.)

I haven’t tried growing carnivorous plants in real life, but my fictional carnivorous plants in The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem are thriving in a conservatory protected by topiary monsters that might come to life at night. When a murder takes place after a tea club meeting in the conservatory, the body is staged to look like carnivorous plants killed him.

But carnivorous plants can’t really kill… can they?

Alas, I don’t have a carnivorous plant costume for Halloween this year, though I wish I had thought of that ahead of time! Instead, I’m going with my standard costume: a vampire with my custom-made vampire fangs from Gargoyle Statuary, one of my favorite little shops in Seattle.

Readers: What are you up to for Halloween?

p.s. There’s a Halloween book sale taking place today! In honor of Halloween, you can grab the first book the series, The Accidental Alchemist, for only 99¢.

And the new book in the series is available now:

The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem by Gigi Pandian

Murder in a conservatory of carnivorous plants. Bewitching topiary terrors. A sabotaged tea shop. Can Zoe untangle the truth before someone close to her takes the blame?

Alchemist Zoe Faust is no stranger to magical mayhem, but when her boyfriend’s new tea shop is vandalized and his special tea blends stolen, she plunges into a baffling mystery to save him. The clues lead Zoe and her gargoyle sidekick Dorian to an eerie mansion high in the Portland hills, filled with creeping carnivorous plants and enigmatic topiary monsters. 

When they stumble across a corpse in the conservatory that appears to have been killed by sinister shrubbery, an estranged member of the family is implicated in the murder. Can Zoe use her alchemical skills to catch the real killer while navigating crafty alchemists and killer plants?

Find out more here!


GIGI PANDIAN is a USA Today bestselling and multiple-award-winning author, breast cancer survivor, and accidental almost-vegan. She writes the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, and Secret Staircase mysteries,. Gigi has won Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Derringer awards, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award. She lives in Northern California with her husband and a gargoyle who watches over the backyard garden. Learn more and sign up for her email newsletter (which includes a free short story and free mini cookbook) at www.gigipandian.com.

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27 Thoughts

  1. Congratulations, Gigi! No plans for tonight. I’ll be turning off the lights and hiding – but it’s cold and rainy, so I don’t expect a lot of people out any way.

    1. I’m jealous of the rain! I’m in Northern California, so no rain so far this fall. Enjoy a cozy evening 🙂

  2. That picture of you as a child is so funny! We love handing out candy to the kids who come by! They will probably be wearing coats as a cold front moved through yesterday.

  3. Love the vampire fangs, Gigi! Congratulations on the latest release, too!
    We don’t get many trick or treaters on our street, so tonight will be a quiet evening watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Muppets Haunted Mansion. Cheers! 🧛👻👽

  4. What a great premise for a new book, which awaits me on my Kindle! I’ve always loved Halloween, but I’m in California and will be going out for dinner with old college friends – dressed as an author, I guess.

    1. Thanks, Edith. I’m sorry my schedule has been so wild that I don’t get to see you while you’re in California, but I hope you had a marvelous book launch trip!

  5. No Halloween plans here – we’re rural and off the beaten trick or treat path. Sad for two reasons, I miss seeing the kids in their costumes, and I miss accidently finding the “forgotten” bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups stashed in the freezer at 10:01 right after the porch lights went out 🙂

    1. Oh, that’s too bad! Maybe you’ll accidentally find a bag of them in your shopping cart with the after-Halloween supermarket candy sales 😉

  6. ” The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem” is on my TBR list and can’t wait for the opportunity to read and review it.

    We live out in the country meaning we have no trick or treaters. We often go into town to watch the treaters in our downtown events. However, they say it’s to be in the 20’s tonight (like it was last night), meaning with my problems with severe aches and pains that we will stay home. I’m sure we will search for a great Halloween movie to watch either on TV or one of our oldie but goodies in our movie files.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Thanks, Kay! I hope you have fun with the book. Yikes about the cold snap! I hope you have a wonderful time curled up with a Halloween movie.

  7. Nothing special. But I love your series! Maybe I’ll just take a break from what I’m reading, and pick up one of your books.

  8. Great post. Not doing anything in particular, but I just decided to put aside the book I’m reading and read one of this delightful series.

  9. Welcome back, Gigi! I love this carnivorous plant theme–and had no idea about Dickens’ interest or book. I am headed out soon to carve a pumpkin with my ten-year-old granddaughter, and then I’ll hand out the candy at the house while others go trick or treating. I hate Halloween, but somehow parenthood and then grandparenthood have conspired to keep me celebrating.

    1. Thanks, Barb! But you’re not a Halloween fan? Blasphemy! Just kidding… But not really ;). I love Halloween so much. I hope you’re having fun with the little ones. (You unconsciously typed Charles Dickens rather than Charles Darwin, which isn’t unexpected for a novelist!)

  10. Great fangs! Happy Halloween! I love the carnivorous plant idea for a book. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  11. Hello. I am not up to anything today. I had both of my knees injected today. It is the first of three weeks of injections. I am home, wrapped in a blanket with one of my legs elevated. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  12. Welcome back to the blog, Gigi! My first professional theater gig was as house manager of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, so I have a soft spot for carnivorous plants. And songs about them. Congratulations on the new book!

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