I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Another good mystery from Gigi Pandian, full of incredibly interesting, colourful characters set in a richly detailed historical backdrop. The main story takes place in present day Portland but an alternating timeline from the mid-1800's is woven throughout the chapters and an Author's Note at the back clarifies the historical facts vs. the writer's imagination.
The story is nominally about a murder that takes place at the theater hosting a magic act, but truly the focus of the story is on Dorian, the gargoyle and Zoe's frustrating efforts to heal him using a strange book of backward alchemy. This leaves the 'solution' to the murder mystery treated almost as an afterthought and readers looking for a good mystery to solve might end up feeling cheated. I'm always more invested in the characters, so I didn't find this problematic.
I only went 3.5 stars because as much as I love the alchemical backdrop of the series, this one's focus on magic shows bored me a bit, making parts of the book move slower. I love watching a good magic show, but I have zero interest in reading about them, or knowing how the illusions work. Still, I enjoyed the story once I was able to finally sink into it and the ongoing arc of Dorian's 'health' will definitely bring me back for the third book.
Oh! and there's a recipe in the back of the book (the MC is a vegan, so they're all vegan) for a chocolate drink that can be made either as a hot chocolate or a smoothie. I immediately put the book down and made it as a smoothie - delicious!! (Although next time I'm scaling back the cinnamon a bit.)