Cora Felton, The Puzzle Lady and creation of Parnell Hall, is a syndicated newspaper columnist for crossword enthusiasts. Quirky, hard-drinking, and photogenic, she appears in TV commercials to pay the bills, has been married several times, loves to smoke and gamble, and is an avid reader of mystery novels.
In A Clue for the Puzzle Lady, the first book in the series, Cora, hoping to protect her niece from an abusive ex-husband, has moved, along with her niece, from New York City to the small town of Bakerhaven, Connecticut. But their whereabouts becomes national news when the body of a young woman is discovered in the town cemetery along with what appears to be a crossword puzzle clue. Murder investigations are rare in the quiet town of Bakerhaven, and its police chief is in over his head. But Cora is eager to help and, much to the consternation of the Chief Dale Harper, jumps in to help him solve the case.
Told from multiple viewpoints, A Clue for the Puzzle Lady, is filled with a bevy of engaging characters, snappy dialogue, and crossword puzzle clues. It is just the sort of fun, lighthearted mystery to erase the tribulations of a long, tiring day.
Note: There is a crossword puzzle at the beginning of the book with a solution in the back. Don’t solve it until you’ve finished reading the book or it will spoil a good read. Also, Hall has a stylistic quirk. He uses the full name of each of his characters throughout the book, something I’m still not exactly used to, but don’t let it put you off. I have the next book in the series, Last Puzzle & Testament, on top of my TBR pile.