cover image The Purloined Puzzle: A Puzzle Lady Mystery

The Purloined Puzzle: A Puzzle Lady Mystery

Parnell Hall. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-15520-7

Clever banter elevates Edgar–finalist Hall’s 19th mystery featuring Bakerhaven, Conn., puzzle lady Cora Felton (after 2017’s A Puzzle to Be Named Later). When 16-year-old Peggy Dawson approaches Cora with a crossword puzzle that the girl thinks is important to solve, Cora foists her off on Harvey Beerbaum, a crossword expert. After the puzzle disappears, Harvey refers Peggy to police chief Dale Harper. Naturally, the puzzle, when found, connects to a murder—that of stabbing victim Fred Winkler—as does a bloody knife found by Peggy’s brother, Johnny, in his room. The police settle on Johnny as a suspect in Winkler’s death, but then find an even better one: Cora’s ex-husband, Melvin Crabtree, whose planned tell-all book, Confessions of a Trophy Husband: My Life with the Puzzle Lady, threatens Cora’s secret—that she’s the public face for the crossword puzzles created by her niece Sherry Grant. A barrage of insults, put-downs, confusions, and double entendres will keep fans of light humorous mysteries happily turning the pages. (Mar.)