Sunday, April 26

Puzzled to Death - Parnell Hall

Bakerhaven seems like the ideal place to have a charity crossword competition - after all, it's the home to America's best loved crossword creator, Cora Felton. The competition is the brain child of rival creator Harvey Beerbaum, and as the deadline approaches Cora is increasingly concerned that Harvey will unmask her as a fraud - Cora knows nothing about crossword puzzles and the real Puzzle Lady is her niece Sherry. This becomes less important, however, as a series of murders rocks the small Connecticut town - first the unfaithful wife of pool-playing ne'er-do-well, then contestants in Bakerhaven's inaugural (and possibly only) charity fund raiser.
The third in the Puzzle Lady series, I found Puzzled to Death more involving in its characterisation than the plot. While interesting, the mystery was plausible but not particularly captivating. It's peopled, however, by a series of fascinating characters - Cora is delightful, Sherry's attempts at restraining and managing her are still fresh and amusing, and the relationship between Sherry and reporter Aaron is rewarding. A fun and diverting read. - Alex

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