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The Alchemist's Illusion

Midnight Ink. (Accidental Alchemist, Bk. 4). Jan. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9780738753010. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780738755229. M
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Zoe Faust may be centuries old, but she's tired of running. She feels she's found a home in Portland, OR, where she lives with her best friend Dorian, a French gargoyle who is also a chef. While he bakes for a small tea shop, Zoe gardens and cooks, using her knowledge of plants. But her peaceful life is disrupted when she spies a portrait in an art gallery and recognizes the subject as her mentor, another alchemist named Nicolas Flamel. A letter indicates that he may still be alive, caught in that painting. When the painting disappears, Zoe discovers it may be linked to an art forgery ring and the murder of a local artist. Zoe puts together a small team including Dorian and a trio of young teens who set out to rescue Nicolas and his wife. The latest intricately plotted mystery has an unconventional story line involving multiple time periods from 1597 to the present, and a large cast of quirky characters.
VERDICT Readers unfamiliar with previous books in Pandian's series (The Elusive Elixir) may have a difficult time. Suggest for followers of the series or fans of Juliet Blackwell's "Witchcraft" mysteries.

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