A Cora Felton, Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall
Review: Quirky Cora Felton, believed by all to be the Puzzle Lady, the one who creates a nationally syndicated crossword puzzle but who, in fact, can barely solve one let alone create one, is back to help solve a crime of passion — or was it premeditated murder? — in Presumed Puzzled, the seventeenth mystery in this series by Parnell Hall.
As bad as Cora is at crossword puzzles, she is just as good as solving crimes. Over the past couple of years, she had actually helped Police Chief Harper of the Bakerhaven, Connecticut Police Department solve several homicides, plus a few lesser offenses. Now there has been a vicious murder in Bakerhaven. Roger Martindale, who had been reported missing by Paula, his wife, was found by Cora and the Chief stabbed to death in the Martindale's home on their blood spattered living room floor with Paula herself covered in blood and a grasping a butcher knife in her hand. Even so, a person is innocent until proven guilty, right? A local young, beautiful attorney, Becky Baldwin, is hired by Paula for to defend her. Becky, in turn, hires Cora to investigate the murder of Paula's possibly unfaithful husband. Paula is reluctant to give information regarding her husband except that she is sure he was not having an affair, even though there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise. Indeed, Cora admits to Becky that she was the woman Roger was having the affair with. The more Cora finds out that could exonerate Paula as the murderer, the more it looks like Cora is the guilty party. Witnesses are found by Cora that should have confused the timing of where Paula was at the time of the murder, but on the stand what they swear to puts Paula away from her home at the time her husband was killed. As a result, Paula is not a person of interest any more, but Cora most definitely is. There are no other suspects. Nor are there witnesses to verify where Cora was at the time of Roger's death. Without a miracle, this could be the end of the puzzle lady's days of solving crimes.
Presumed Puzzled is an entertaining entry in this long-running series. Cora Felton is an amusing lead with many tales to tell, including a very comical courtroom scene with Cora trying to find clues for the defense while at the same time being called as a witness for the prosecution. As is typical with books in this series, there are several crossword and sudoku puzzles that act as clues to the solution of the crime. Not a great mystery in the grand scheme of things, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Presumed Puzzled.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Presumed Puzzled for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), January 2015
ISBN-13: 9781250027177; ISBN-10: 1250027179
Location(s) referenced in Presumed Puzzled: New York City
— ♦ —
Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall — A Cora Felton, Puzzle Lady Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: January 2016
List Price: $24.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites