When Benny Southstreet, a small-time hustler with a big-time gift for constructing crosswords, accuses Cora of stealing one of his creations, it’s clearly a case of mistaken identity…until Cora’s own attorney files a plagiarism suit against her. To add to the enigma, when Benny is found dead, the police charge Cora with his murder!
At the heart of the matter is the not-so-little white lie Cora has been living for years: assuming the grandmotherly public face of her publicity-shy niece Sherry, who designs crossword puzzles and publishes them under Cora’s name—aka the Puzzle Lady. It turns out that Sherry’s and Benny’s cruciverbalist paths had recently crossed, resulting in the current incriminating conundrum.
As if Sherry’s wedding engagement jitters and a nasty battle over missing antique chairs weren’t enough to deal with, now Cora has to solve the ultimate mystery: how to keep the secret of her identity without losing her life. Because not only does all evidence point to Cora, but someone seems to want her dead. It looks like a riddle with no answer. Luckily for Cora and Sherry, that’s their favorite kind!
When nerdy cruciverbalist Harvey Beerbaum throws a birthday bash for Cora Felton at the Bakerhaven Library, it’s no surprise that the centerpiece, a huge cake decorated like a crossword puzzle, is a complete bust–until a corpse thrown from the second floor stacks hits it dead center and fills in 14 down. Cora may hate birthdays almost as much as she hates crossword puzzles–but when it comes to solving crimes, no one can hold a candle to the Puzzle Lady.
Crime, cryptograms, and killer conundrums abound for the Puzzle Lady in the fourth installment of the series USA Today raves is “a fun series for mystery fans and cruciverbalists!”
It looks like wedding bells again for the much-married Cora Felton when distinguished widower Raymond Harstein III moves into town and makes a play for the Puzzle Lady. That is, it does until the mail brings puzzling cryptograms, which, when deciphered, warn Cora off the match.
Or do they?
As the puzzles keep coming, a killer’s game must be played in earnest, and it’s up to the Puzzle Lady to solve the riddle—if anyone is going to live to make it to the altar!
The Chicago Sun-Times crowns Parnell Hall’s Puzzle Lady mysteries “a joy for lovers of both crosswords and frothy crime detection…Cora Felton is a lovable and unique sleuth.” Now the crime-solving powers of the inimitable Cora and her clever niece, Sherry Carter, are put to the ultimate test as they square off against a yuletide killer who hides within the white-and-black shadows of an acrostic….
A Puzzle In A Pear Tree
’Tis the season to be jolly, but Cora Felton, shanghaied into “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a most reluctant maid-a-milking, has every right to feel like a grinch. When someone steals the partridge from the pear tree and replaces it with a cryptic puzzle she has no hope of solving, it’s almost more than the Puzzle Lady can bear. But then smug crossword creator Harvey Beerbaum solves the acrostic, and it turns out to be a poem promising the death of an actress. This is more like it! Could the threat be aimed at Cora and her thespian debut? Or at Sherry, one of the ladies-dancing? Or at Sherry’s nemesis, the pageant’s predatory lead, Becky Baldwin?
Cora and Sherry barely have time for a mystery, what with trimming Christmas trees and buying Christmas presents, but rehearsals go on, under police protection–until a killer strikes elsewhere in a most unexpected manner.Ordinarily Cora Felton would be delighted to have two murders to solve. But this time she finds herself vying with a visiting Scotland Yard inspector who appears to have an all-too-personal stake in solving the crimes. Cora does too when her own niece becomes a prime suspect and the murderer strikes again.
Is someone trying to shut down the Christmas pageant? Cora would be only too happy if that were the case, but she fears the secrets lie deeper. Now she is interviewing witnesses, breaking into motel rooms, finding evidence, planting evidence, and having a merry old time. In fact, she would be perfectly happy–if this wasn’t turning out to be a Christmas to die for!
Miss Cora Felton, the eccentric amateur detective better known as the Puzzle Lady, likes nothing better than to solve a good mystery–and this time she’s got a killer on her hands. What isn’t puzzling is why critics agree that “Cora is emerging as a lovable and unique sleuth” (Chicago Sun-Times) in “a fun series for mystery fans and cruciverbalists” (USA Today).
Bakerhaven, Connecticut, seems like the ideal place to host a charity crossword-puzzle tournament–after all, the town is home to Cora Felton, the beloved puzzle columnist known as the Puzzle Lady. A slew of celebrity contestants are on the way. And the locals have been invited to challenge the veteran puzzlers head-on. But soon the town’s attention is fixated on something far more controversial than crosswords…when the body of the town tart is discovered lying dead on her kitchen floor. Before anyone can stop her, Cora is hot on the trail of the truth, interviewing nosy neighbors, digging up dirt, and drawing out a lonely recluse who just may hold the key to cracking the crime. But will she solve the case before the contest comes to a deadly end? Cora once again proves that sleuthing spells S-U-S-P-E-N-S-E–up, across, and down!
It’s no mystery why readers love the Puzzle Lady, Miss Cora Felton, the eccentric amateur detective who keeps everyone guessing as she keeps herself in the thick of trouble. Find out why critics agree that “Cora is emerging as a lovable and unique sleuth” (Chicago Sun-Times) in “a fun series for mystery fans and cruciverbalists” (USA Today).
Wealthy widow Emma Hurley died with only her servants at her side — but after she passes away, her greedy heirs crawl out of the woodwork to stake a claim in Emma’s fortune. To their surprise, Emma was not content to leave behind a simple will. Instead, her final testament includes a clever puzzle … one to be given only to her living heirs.
The first one to solve the puzzle will inherit Emma’s entire estate; everyone else will be left with a pittance. The will also stipulates that Cora Felton — local celebrity and famed author of a popular syndicated crossword puzzle column — must referee the contest.
Unfortunately, it’s Cora’s niece, Sherry Carter, who is the brains behind Cora’s “Puzzle Lady” persona. And it’s up to Sherry to unravel the bizarre riddle Emma Hurley engineered before her death. For soon it’s plain that Emma’s game is one without a clear winner … and that the players could lose far more than they ever imagined!
Cruciverbalists, rejoice! Pick up a pencil and get ready to solve a puzzling murder-and an actual crossword puzzle-in this sparkling debut of a unique amateur detective: Miss Cora Felton, an eccentric old lady with a syndicated puzzle column, an irresistible urge to poke into unsettling events, and a niece who’s determined to keep her out of trouble.
When the body of an unknown teenage girl turns up in the cemetery in the quiet town of Bakerhaven, Police Chief Dale Harper finds himself investigating his first homicide. A baffling clue leads him to consult Bakerhaven’s resident puzzle expert-his first big mistake. Soon Cora’s meddling, mischief-making behavior drives Chief Harper to distraction and inspires many cross words from her long-suffering niece, Sherry. But when another body turns up in a murder that hits much closer to home, Cora must find a killer-before she winds up in a wooden box three feet across…and six down.