Herbalist Zoe Faust is looking to start over. She leaves France and buys what she thinks is the perfect fixer-upper in Portland, Oregon. Then she discovers a three and a half foot living, breathing gargoyle in one of her shipping crates. Dorian Robert-Houdin was brought to life in the 1800s by a magician. Unfortunately he is now in danger of turning back into a statue and seeks Zoe’ s help in translating an ancient text. You see, in addition to being an herbalist, Zoe is also a three hundred year old Alchemist. While she’s trying to process this, Charles, the contractor who she hired, shows up dead on her front porch. And finally, fourteen year old Brixton, responding to a dare to break into her “haunted” house sees the walking talking Dorian. So much for a peaceful, uncomplicated life!
The Accidental Alchemist is a really cute cosy paranormal mystery. Zoe is interesting and likeable. Because of her personality and some of her actions though I found it a little hard to believe she’s 300 years old. She’s also a Vegan and this is discussed frequently. So much so that I did find it distracted from what otherwise was a great story. Dorian is absolutely adorable and his frustration over no longer being in France is hysterical! Plus he can cook! Brixton is a wonderful character who you instantly like even when you know he has some devious intentions. And finally, the possibility of a romantic relationship with Detective Max Liu is introduced without taking over the story. Ultimately this is a very different sort of cosy which seamlessly integrates both fictional and historical characters. I would very much like to see more books about Zoe and Dorian as they make a fantastic sleuthing team.