Saturday, February 20, 2010

You have the right to remain puzzled - Book Review

I found another new mystery book series this week. I can't believe I have never seen or heard of any of these books over the last 10 years. I found this book at my local library.

The basic premise of this series is that Cora Felton, AKA the Puzzle Lady, cannot construct a crossword puzzle if her life depended on it. But noone knows that. Her niece, Sherry Carter, constructs them for her in secret. Cora hates puzzles, but loves solving crimes.

You have the right to remain puzzled
By Parnell Hall
Bantam Books 2006
Parnell Hall Website

What is a cruciverbalist?
A compiler or solver of crossword puzzles.

Mimi Dillinger asks Cora to create a small crossword puzzle to tell her husband about the fender bender she was in and to apologise. Sherry is not in any mood to create more than one crossword a day and so she peruses a book of crossword puzzles and chooses one to use. She changes the clues but leaves the layout exactly the same.

Mimi gives the crossword to her husband and apologises for crashing the car. Chuck Dillinger is not upset. Mimi is so grateful her husband is not angry, she sends the crossword to the local news paper and tells them the story. The newspaper prints the story and the puzzle.

Benny Southstreet, a smalltime crook and gambler, sees the puzzle in the paper and goes berserk. He goes to Cora's house and accuses her of plagiarism. Benny is found dead the next day and Cora is arrested for his murder.

What happens next becomes a jumble of misadventures, lies, diversions and confusion until Cora finally sorts it all out at a town hall meeting which she calls in order to uncover the real murderer.

This was a confusing book to read, but the town hall meeting chapter was excellent. Cora clearly explained what really happened.

Perhaps I should have started with a different book in the series. I have reserved some more books in this series from my local library.

Books in the Series

A Clue for the Puzzle Lady (1999)
Last Puzzle and Testament (2000)
Puzzled to Death (2001)
A Puzzle in a Pear Tree (2002)
With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill (2003)
And a Puzzle to Die on (2004)
Stalking the Puzzle Lady (2005)
You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled (2006)
The Sudoku Puzzle Murders (2008)
Dead Man's Puzzle (2009)
The Puzzle Lady vs. The Sudoku Lady (2010)

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