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With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill ( A Puzzle Lady Mystery ) Hardcover – December 2, 2003

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553802410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553802412
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,974,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Parnell's back from filming leopards and wild dogs in Botswana. While he was gone, his new book, Safari, featuring private eye Stanley Hastings, got a good review in the New York Times. His Next Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle mystery, Puzzled Indemnity, will be out in January.

The first 15 out-of-print Stanley Hastings private eye novels are now on kindle, including the Edgar and Shamus nominated DETECTIVE and the Shamus and Lefty nominee MOVIE.

The 5 Steve Winslow courtroom dramas (THE BAXTER TRUST, THE ANONYMOUS CLIENT, etc), are on kindle, as well as the 6th, never-before-published novel, THE INNOCENT WOMAN.

Parnell is a former President of the Private Eye Writers of America, and a member of Sisters in Crime. He lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sherry Carter is the real puzzle lady who constructs them for a syndicated column but because she is so shy, everyone thinks her aunt Cara Felton is the puzzle maker because she takes the credit and makes public appearances. The truth of the matter is she couldn?t solve a crossword puzzle let alone construct one but she is very good at solving homicides.
Murder is the last thing from Cora?s mind as she gets ready to marry California businessman Raymond Harstein III but Sherry is frantic because she knows nothing about the man. Matters become much worse when Sherry?s best friend announces she is marrying Sherry?s physically abusive ex-husband Dennis and they want her to be the maid of honor. A series of cryptograms threatens Raymond if the wedding isn?t stopped. When the messages are ignored he is murder with Dennis charged for the crime. Cora is positive Dennis didn?t kill anyone and she sets out to prove it to make sure Sherry doesn?t soften towards him and to get her mind off her own grief.
WITH THIS PUZZLE I THEE KILL is the best book in the series because there are two separate, fulfilling sub-plots and the antagonist from either one could be the killer. Parnell Hall has a wicked sense of humor and it comes out through the dialogues of his characters, especially conversations that take place between Cora and her niece. This amateur sleuth novel will be a thrill for those who like a cerebral puzzle.
Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sunnyflmom on May 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Parnell Halls books and I much prefer the Stanley Hastings series. The characters in the Puzzle books are very corny and continue to become more so with each subsequent book. I found it very difficult to keep my attention focused on the story. I started this book, put it aside to read other books that caught my interest and only went back to finish it to feel like I've completed the series. I don't think I'll even waste my energy on the next Puzzle book. I do wish there would be another Stanley Hastings book in the future.
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By Sonya Lenzo on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I thought this was the best of the Puzzle lady series as it had the most intricate plot so far. There are TWO not one weddings in the works here. And more than one mystery. I don't know if one was not a regular reader (had not read the previous books) if you would pick up on all the plot nuances, but this is a great read for those who have read all the others and are aware of the many previous "relationships" of the Puzzle Lady. The interaction between Cora and her niece are priceless.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely LOVE this series!! The author expertly draws you in until you feel as if you know the characters intimately. This installment of the series is unique in that it shows a side of Clara we haven't seen before - her love life. I highly recommend this series to any mystery lover!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christmas present but my son has read other books by this author and loved them
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