From Publishers Weekly
Hall's light touch continues to entertain, although Cora Felton's "secret," which wasn't well-hidden in her debut in A Clue for the Puzzle Lady (1999), is so worn now as to be completely transparent in this fifth adventure. Cora is the "Puzzle Lady" to admirers of her syndicated crosswords, but her niece, Sherry Carter, is the real author of the puzzles. The fiction, begun when Sherry needed to hide her identity from an abusive ex-husband, is constantly being tested in the little town of Bakerhaven, Conn., where they live. Cora's real forte is solving murders, and quiet Bakerhaven has had murders and puzzles aplenty since aunt and niece took up residence there. The usual players assume their accustomed roles here, from clueless police chief Dale Harper to reporter Aaron Grant. Oft-married Cora is being wooed again, this time by Raymond Harstein III, whose past is a bit clouded. Sherry's best friend, Brenda, asks her to be maid of honor-only her groom is Sherry's abusive ex, Dennis Pride. Hall keeps the complications coming fast, as Sherry tries to cope with a proposed double wedding that could prove doubly disastrous. As always, puzzles, this time cryptograms, play an integral part in the mystery. Hall's trademark word play and gift for creating eccentric characters remain as sharp as ever.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, returns, still fronting for her niece, Sherry Harkin, the real cruciverbalist
. This fifth mystery about the pair shows some series wear and tear. Instead of using crossword puzzles as clues (which readers can solve along with the characters), this time the clues are cryptograms that are so easy to solve they're almost not worth the effort. Nor does the story itself make much sense. Sherry's ex-husband, wife-beater Dennis Pride, appears on the scene with his fiancee, Brenda, Sherry's best friend. They'd like Sherry to be in the wedding. Naturally, the ceremony gets sidetracked by a few murders, but to bring all his plot strands together, the usually reliable Hall is forced to introduce some utterly unbelievable wrinkles, including Brenda's parents' willingness to move the wedding on a moment's notice from NYC to Connecticut. Fans of the series may be ready to go the extra mile with Sherry and Cora, but hopefully the next installment will have more puzzles and make better use of its charming ladies. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved