Bantam, Nov 2001, 23.95, 352 pp.
In cosmopolitan Bakerhaven lives renowned local celebrity Cora “the Puzzle Lady” Felton. Cora shares a home with her niece Sherry, who actually constructs the syndicated crossword puzzles. Cora does not have the slightest clue as to how to develop a crossword puzzle, but instead prefers applying her skills at solving homicides.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner