Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sudoku Puzzle Murders-Parnell Hall

The Sudoku Puzzle Murders
Parnell Hall
Dunne, Apr 2008, $23.95
ISBN: 9780312370909

In Bakerhaven, Connecticut, Cora Felton, the nationally recognized Puzzle lady, is standing in the parking lot when Japanese publisher Hideki Takiyama comes up to her and introduces himself. He says she is famous in Japan and he wants to write a Puzzle Lady Sudoko puzzle book. She refers him to her niece Sherry Carter who negotiates all her contracts. Later Sherry goes to sign a contact only to learn she signed with Hideki’s rival Aoki Yoshiaki who is married to the lovely Reiko.

Cora is at the sheriff’s office when a call comes in that there has been a murder. At the crime scene, Cora sees a man with his face sliced in half and it becomes obvious he was dumped here. They find out he was a private investigator from New York. A few days later, Cora sees Sherry’s ex following Aoki and Reiko who are followed by another investigator form New York. The second New York private investigator is found dead very near where his predecessor was dumped with a samurai sward in him. The sheriff asks Cora to help him figure out what is going on; since she loves a puzzle, she agrees to assist him.

The fun of the Puzzle Lady mysteries starts and finish with the aptly nicknamed heroine who never takes herself seriously. She is a smart-mouthed sassy broad who does her own thing regardless of what others think. Her antics and asides bring humor into a serious complex whodunit that leaves readers spinning in admiration.

Harriet Klausner