Jaya Jones is the creation of Gigi Pandian. Barely five feet tall, an expert in martial arts, and half Indian, Jaya is a professor of history in San Francisco who specializes in India’s colonial history. Smart, feisty, and fearless, she also plays the tabla at the Tandoori Palace two nights a week with her friend Sanjay, the Hindi Houdini, who accompanies her on the sitar.
Artifact, which was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and which is the first book in the series, Jaya Jones receives a package containing a rare, ancient Indian jeweled bracelet wrapped in a handkerchief embroidered with the initials of her former lover. With it is a note asking her to keep it safe for him. When she discovers that her lover was killed in an auto accident in Scotland before the package arrived, Jaya seeks out an old friend in Berkeley who refers her to Lane Peters, a grad student at the university whose field of study is Indian art history. Lane identifies the piece as a legendary bracelet from a collection lost since the days of the Mughals. When Jaya arrives back home, her landlady tells her someone broke into her apartment. Nothing is missing, but her jewelry box has been destroyed. Determined to find out if her lover’s death was an accident, Jaya heads for the airport. Lane is already there and insists on going with her. Can she trust him?
A fast-paced, fun read set in San Francisco, London, and Scotland, Artifact is filled with a bevy of colorful characters, a good deal of intrigue, and a great many plot twists.
Note: While each book in the series can be read as a standalone, there are continually developing storylines involving Jaya, Lane, and Sanjay, so it’s best to read the books in order. Gigi Pandian also writes a delightful supernatural mystery series featuring Zoe Faust.