Dead Manís Puzzle Review
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Crossword puzzle columnist and amateur detective Cora Felton sees her niece, Sherry, off on her honeymoon chasing wildebeests in Africa. Then she immediately becomes involved in a murder investigation. A recluse known as Old Man Overmeyer turns up dead in his rundown cabin with a crossword puzzle lying near his body, along with a gun that was used in a forty-year-old gas station robbery turned deadly. At first, it appears as if he died of natural causes, but Cora insists on an autopsy, and the coroner discovers that Old Man Overmeyer was poisoned.

The last surviving member of a stock pooling agreement, Overmeyer had only one living relative, but the town of Bakerhaven quickly becomes overrun with professional heirsópeople who comb the obits looking for someone who died without any known relatives and then swoop in to claim whatís not theirs. Still, Cora and Chief Harper canít understand why anyone would want to fight over a worthless piece of property. And no one can find the stock pooling agreement, which means the so-called heirs will inherit nothing.

Since Sherry isnít in town, the restraining order against her ex-husband, Dennis, becomes moot, and he takes full advantage by showing up to complicate matters for Cora and Chief Harper, adding one more suspect to the increasingly long list.

Suspects, motives, and alibis run amuck as Cora tries to help Chief Harper solve a tangled, mind-boggling mystery that makes less and less sense as each clue is uncovered.

I so love a mystery thatís laced with lots of humor and investigated by a quirky amateur detectiveóand Parnell Hallís Dead Manís Puzzle fits the bill perfectly. Cora will send your mind into a fun spin with her hilarious logic, keeping you laughing as you read. I havenít enjoyed an amateur detective this much since Dorothy Cannellís Ellie Haskell mysteries.

Author Parnell Hall has created a complex mystery plot that keeps you guessing. I honestly didnít have a clue as to who committed the murder, but I had a good time trying to figure it out. As the story gets more and more convoluted, it seems impossible that everything will be wrapped up with a plausible explanation. I actually worried that it wouldnít, but Mr. Hall brings it on home nicely with no loose endsóa skill I greatly admire in an author.

Dazzling, witty, and laugh-out-loud funny, this mystery will keep you entertained and wanting more. You not only get an intricate story, but you also get two to three crossword puzzles to solve right along with the mystery. What fun! I enjoyed the heck out of Dead Manís Puzzle, and I believe you will, too.

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