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With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill    by Parnell Hall order for
With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill
by Parnell Hall
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

For the puzzle lover, Parnell Hall's books offer the best of two worlds - puzzles and mystery. For those who couldn't solve a puzzle if the answers were whispered from the ether, Hall's books are still top rate. With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill is a tour de force - an engaging book that keeps forging ahead with action and with cryptic puzzles.

Cora Felton is ostensibly the very popular Puzzle Lady. Cora couldn't solve a puzzle if her life depended on it (which it almost does). She wears the title to please her niece Sherry, who constructs the puzzles but wants to avoid the attendant publicity. Cora, however, can solve a good murder. She does so with great aplomb to the chagrin of the local police force.

Oft-married Cora is a great protagonist who carries the series with disregard for the other characters. She, however, takes it personally when her intended is murdered on the eve of their wedding rehearsal. Brenda, Sherry's best friend, is scheduled to marry Sherry's abusive ex-husband. Can it get more complicated?

Sure it can, and it does - with delicious complications and an even more delicious tying up of loose ends so that everyone is happy. Well, maybe not the criminals. But everyone else. This is a fun book by a writer with a great sense of humor and the ability to express it.

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