Berkley, July 2004, 13.00, 320 pp.
Screen writer Chick Darlessen inherits the estate of his beloved uncle Bartann Welner. Besides one million dollars that the deceased won on the television show Down & Across, Chick also won a screenplay. Apparently his uncle wrote called Anatomy of a Crossword based on a homicide case that Newcastle, Massachusetts resident Belle Graham, a puzzle constructor with syndicated crosswords across the nation, solved using clues from a puzzle that led to the killer. He sells the screen play to Lew Groslier who plans to turn into a TV movie.
After coming up to Newcastle and taking pictures so that they can recreate the pertinent scenery for a Hollywood set, Belle flies to Hollywood to act as a consultant for the film. From the time she arrives in California she senses something is not right. The man supposed to play her husband, P.I. Roscoe Polycrates, is in an automobile accident; one of the actresses is injured by something falling on her; and Chick is murdered with his girlfriend arrested for the crime. Belle and Roscoe take matters into their own hands, navigating the treacherous bogs of Hollywood to catch a killer and expose the wrongdoings connected to the movie.
ANATOMY OF A CROSSWORD is a real puzzler that readers won't be able to figure out until Nero Blanc reveals the happenings. This author consistently creates an engaging cerebral who-done-it for armchair detective. This terrific latest work includes misinformation and red herrings that keep the readers attention at all times. Sprinkled throughout the book are puzzles that the audience will enjoy solving since they relate to the plot by containing clues to the mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner