Today, we're starting in on the books I read while I was gone for Thanksgiving. First up, Dead Man's Puzzle, the 10th Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall. The series revolved around Cora Felton who acts as the public face of the Puzzle Lady newspaper column her niece Sherry writes even though Cora can't do a crossword puzzle to save her life.
This book finds Sherry out of town on her honeymoon, so Cora is hoping for a quiet two weeks. Unfortunately for her, the town hermit died in his rather run down shack. Chief Harper is more than ready to call it natural causes except for one thing, the crossword puzzle found at the scene. While Cora does some fast tap dancing to get the puzzle solved for the chief, the cause of death is determined to be murder. Can Cora solve it without finding any more puzzles?
I must admit I was getting frustrated with the series because I felt like the character interactions were stuck on the same thing for several books. While very little seems to have changed overall, having Sherry only in a couple of chapters and mostly out of town really helped with that.
Frankly, this was also one of the stronger mysteries in the series. While the puzzles seemed more forced than normal, the clues were there, and I felt like the solution was great and not just pulling a rabbit out of the hat at the end.
Plus the word play and humor I love where there all the way through.