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Puzzled to Death (Puzzle Lady Mysteries (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Bakerhaven hosts a charity crossword puzzle tournament and naturally everyone expects Cora to chair the event. The idea upsets Cora so much that she feels guiltily glad when someone kills Judy Vale. The prime suspect, Judy's spouse has an airtight alibi. When the victim's neighbor is also killed, Cora figures she has no time for across and down as she begins investigating a myriad of suspects with motives and opportunities.
A unique thing about a Parnell Hall tale is that the mystery is always interactive, as puzzles related to the plot are included throughout the story line. Each puzzle contains clues so that colorfully eccentric Cora and the audience can solve the who-done-it. Like it predecessors, PUZZLED TO DEATH adds an extra degree or two of fun to the mystery genre.
Cora is the best thing about this book. She is an unsentimental, tough-talking, hard-drinking, much-married old bird. The late Eileen Heckert would have been perfect to play her on screen. How she came to be the beloved Puzzle Lady is never explained.
Apart from Cora, "Puzzled to Death" is a pretty ordinary mystery. The locale is Bakerhaven Connecticut, as patently artificial as the village in Murder She Wrote. It boasts a daily newspaper, a paper mill, a medical examiner, two crossword puzzle experts, a passel of bed-and-breakfasts, but only one lawyer. All the residents seem to have surnames that originated in the British Isles; an unlikely circumstance even in the most remote corners of Litchfield County. Bakerhaven is about to host a charity crossword puzzle contest when a local housewife is murdered. Cora and the chief of police compete at solving the crime while most of the town is busy solving crossword puzzles.
Hall's dialogue is snappy and he offers some interesting insight into crossword puzzle composition and contests, but he violates the rules of the classical murder mystery in his denouement. My overall reaction is ehhhh!
The week of the tournament, a woman in town is murdered. The police are convinced her husband did it in a drunken rage until they discover his perfect alibi. Cora, however, isn't so sure his alibi is airtight and begins to poke around herself.
The first night of the tournament, another murder takes place. Is there a serial killer in town? How does it tie into the tournament? Will Cora keep her secret?
I must admit, I had my doubts at first. When the first murder took place, I didn't see how the tournament could possibly be involved. I thought it might turn out to be a sub-plot. But the further I read, the more important it became to the events of the story.
As with the first two books in the series, this one had a puzzling mystery. While the solution made perfect sense and I felt stupid for not considering it myself, Cora made quite a leap to reach the conclusion with only a shaky clue to lead the way. The story would have been stronger with more evidence to back up the solution.
Weaving through the book is the on-going storyline of Sherry's relationship with newspaper reporter Aaron Grant. I enjoy the characters, but feel that their relationship is a bit too high school. I'd like to think that grown adults would behave different then this. Still, I do get caught up in their struggles.Read more ›
The main character, Cora Felton, and her niece failed to come alive for me. Cora seemed self-centered and fairly obnoxious while the niece (apparently the real puzzle lady) was pretty bland.
This episode involves several murders in their Connecticut town while a charity crossword tournament goes on. Some of the oddball character descriptions intrigue the reader and several crossword puzzles allow the reader to join in trying to solve the murder. (puzzle solutions are included in the book)
Overall, the mystery just lacked zip
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was very intriguing and kept me guessing till the end I was surprised at who did it so will youPublished 23 days ago by Unknown
Love the puzzle lady stories. It is so rare to find a leading lady in her 50's and so cool, too.Published 9 months ago by SuZQ
This is a light-hearted mystery which makes fun of many "types". It reads quickly. Nothing scary. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.Published 11 months ago by Numbers Gal
I always enjoy the Puzzle Lady books. I wish she would write faster. I have now read them all and will just have to wait until the next one comes out.Published 13 months ago by joanie43
I love the puzzle lady books and this one is a really good one. Everyone should read them.Published 21 months ago by njn
I'm not sure if I'll read anymore, but the first three books in the series were enjoyable. Well written book and the puzzle is a nice touch to solve.Published on August 18, 2013 by Cheryl