Crossword-puzzle constructor Belle Graham and her husband, private eye Rosco Polycrates, wrestle with two puzzles originating at a historic Newcastle inn.
Belle is helping decorate the Paul Revere Inn for Christmas when she discovers an unsigned crossword puzzle/cookbook from the 1940s whose author she’d love to identify. The Inn’s claim to fame is a signed copy of “Paul Revere’s Ride,” the famous Longfellow poem, which goes missing from its customary place of honor on the parlor wall. Called in to recover it, Rosco finds a clever assistant in 12-year-old E.T. Whitman, who found the poem missing when he turned up in a snowstorm to shovel the walks. Fascinated by words, E.T. is delighted to meet Belle and help her with her search. Although Rosco’s interviews with guests and staff come up empty, the Longfellow treasure returns mysteriously to its usual spot. E.T. notices something odd about it, and a closer look reveals that it was a hiding place for something now vanished. An old pal of the owner’s father is tracked down and provides answers to some of the questions. Belle and E.T. make some interesting discoveries of their own en route to revealing the tasty mysteries of the puzzle book.
A mighty thin tale wrapped around some dessert treats and crossword puzzles that will provide the main sustenance for fans of the series (Another Word for Murder, July 2005, etc.).