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And A Puzzle To Die On: A Puzzle Lady Mystery    by Parnell Hall order for
And A Puzzle To Die On
by Parnell Hall
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Crossword puzzle fans are in for a treat. Mystery lovers will rejoice. And if you're a fan of both, it's almost too much to bear. Parnell Hall's sixth in his Puzzle Lady series, And a Puzzle To Die On, is a gem. PI extraordinaire Cora Felton returns as crusty as ever. She and her niece Sherry find it hard to stay uninvolved after a dead body drops on Cora's birthday cake.

The action starts on almost the very first page and never stops. Readers find themselves breathless while trying to keep up with Cora, whose behavior is the bane of the existence of her small town's police chief. Cora never misses a beat. Her repartée alone is good enough reason to read the book. An attempt is made to prove a prison lifer is innocent of the murder for which he was sentenced. Cora takes up the gauntlet, breaking and entering at will. Dognapping is not beyond her. Nor is taking over a judge's courtroom and running it according to what she feels is the best way to prove her points.

The climax is convoluted, but read carefully and stay with it. You'll find that Hall has created a very complex plot, but ties it all together at the satisfactory ending. And the crossword puzzles contained in the book are a bonus.

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