"The Hindi Houdini" appears in Fish Nets: The Second Guppy Anthology, 22 More Tales of Murder and Mayhem from the Rising Stars of Mystery, published by Wildside Press.
The anthology features stories from mystery writers in the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime.
In "The Hindi Houdini," magician Sanjay Rai, aka The Hindi Houdini, solves a locked room mystery at the Napa Valley winery theater where he performs.
If you're reading the Jaya Jones series, you'll recognize Sanjay, Jaya's best friend. A magician and escape artist, he chose the moniker "The Hindi Houdini" because it paid homage to his Indian heritage and his favorite illusionist—and because he liked the rhyme better than Hindu Houdini.
Sanjay ended up with the starring role in this story because as a magician he's well-suited to solving locked room "impossible crime" mysteries. When I had the idea for the puzzle in this story, I knew Sanjay was the guy to pull off solving the seemingly impossible crime.
My first published short story, "The Shadow of the River," appeared in the first Guppy anthology, Fish Tales, published by Wildside Press in 2011. I had written the story well over a year before that, and I was still finding my voice as a writer. In that story, Jaya Jones is the star—but it's told from the point of view of a Watson-like side kick who narrates what Jaya is up to! It's also a locked room mystery, but a rather simple one compared to "The Hindi Houdini." Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I feel like I'm starting to find my groove.
What short story am I going to write next? I'm thinking about an art theft mystery starring another character from the Jaya Jones series, Lane Peters, based on my personal experience with an art heist at the Louvre...