DEAD MAN’S PUZZLE by Parnell Hall


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Though she’s just trying to mind her own business, the Puzzle Lady stirs up more trouble.

Cora Felton is on her own while her niece Sherry, the real cruciverbalist, enjoys an African safari honeymoon. Cora’s hope that she won’t need to solve any crosswords in the interim ends when Chief Harper brings her a puzzle found with the body of 92-year-old Mr. Overmeyer. Once Cora gets a friend to solve it, the answers seem meaningless. But Cora pushes the coroner to do a tox screen that turns up arsenic. Unable to resist a mystery that doesn’t require crossword skill, Cora accompanies the Chief to the decrepit cabin where Overmeyer lived and finds a gun later identified as the weapon in a robbery-murder long ago. Meantime, Sherry’s ex, Dennis, is hanging around town trying to impress Sherry by solving the crime; a stranger shows up claiming to be part of a stock deal the dead man was involved with; and a bunch of self-proclaimed heirs arrive looking for pickings. Then Overmeyer’s next-door neighbor is murdered, perhaps because Dennis told a TV interviewer that said neighbor saw someone at the crime scene. Next to go is the mysterious stranger involved in the stock scheme. More murders only make Cora more eager to solve the puzzle.

If the amusing antics of ebullient Cora (The Sudoku Puzzle Murders, 2008, etc.) aren’t enough for you, there are always the requisite crossword puzzles along with a sudoku puzzle to enjoy.

Pub Date: April 14th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-37399-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009


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