Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall (Puzzle Lady Mysteries #17)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun and funny mystery
Cons: Characters a little thin (as usual)
The Bottom Line:
Be prepared to laugh
As Cora faces puzzles
Fast paced mystery

I Presumed I Would Enjoy This Book, and I Was Right

If you enjoy verbal sparring and word play, there is no better series than the Puzzle Lady series.  Yes, since we are on the seventeenth book in the series, it is getting hard to believe that there are still criminals in Bakerhaven, Connecticut, who would use puzzles when they commit their crimes.  But I’m glad they do because Presumed Puzzled is another rollicking good time.

It’s been a slow few months in Bakerhaven, but things are about to heat up again in a big way.  It all starts when Police Chief Harper calls Cora Felton, famed puzzle lady and part time PI, to go to see Pamela Martindale.  Pamela has reported her husband, Roger, missing, but it hasn’t yet been the 24 hours required to start an official police inquiry.  Cora reluctantly goes only to learn that Pamela received a crossword puzzle that day.  Cora knows she was played by the chief.

Things turn interesting that evening.  With the man now officially missing for 24 hours, the police get word that he is headed for home.  Cora and Chief Harper head over to the Martindale house to find out what happened only to discover Pamela holding a bloody knife and Roger dead on the living room floor.  Naturally, Chief takes Pamela into custody, but she maintains she is innocent.  What is going on?

And with that set up, we are off on another wild, wacky mystery.  This one takes place more in a courtroom than many in the series, but that doesn’t keep the twists from coming.  I was surprised by several of the events of the book.  But you can rest easy, we reach a logical conclusion before it is all over, and the book reads so quickly it will be over all too soon.

The characters have never been the strength of this series, and that continues to be true here.  Oh, they are developed enough for us to care about them, especially if we’ve been reading the series from the beginning, but they don’t have as much depth as many of the books I read.  Think of them more as characters in a sitcom – you love them, but you don’t see every side of them in every episode.

Having said that, Cora has taken a step forward with another of her nasty habits, something I was thrilled to see.

And as I hinted before, the humor is still flying fast and furious.  Yes, the verbal sparring gets to be a little harsh at times, but those scenes never last long.  Instead, I found myself chuckling and laughing all the way through the book.  Jennifer, Cora’s three-year-old grandniece, was especially funny here.

And we get a couple of crossword and Sudoku puzzles to solve over the course of the book.  Or if, like me, you just want to know what happens in the mystery, you can read on until the characters solve it for you.

I’ve found that, for most people, this is either a series you love or you hate.  Personally, I enjoy my time with Cora.  If you are like me, you’ll enjoy Presumed Puzzled.

And if you haven’t met Cora yet, here’s a list of the Puzzle Lady Mysteries in order.


  1. I haven't met Cora yet but I did enjoy the teasers you shared from this book. I don't think I'd do the puzzles either but it does make it a little more fun. I'll have to look for the first Cora mystery!

    1. If you enjoyed the teasers, the book is more of the same. You'll be quite happy you jumped into this series.

  2. Thanks! I think I'll check out this series. It's not one with which I was familiar but probably will be soon!

    1. Glad I could introduce you to it, in that case.

  3. I haven't met Cora or this series yet but sounds like I need to introduce myself. Thanks for sharing and glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Sounds like a fun concept! With so much else going on, I can understand the characters not being the main attraction. I like that solving the puzzles is optional - otherwise it might get annoying.

    1. Yes, if I had to solve the puzzles, I would have quit after book one. I just can't seem to handle crossword puzzles at all.

  5. 17th in a series and a 5 star rating, mixed with you laughing out loud, I need to look into this series!

    1. I'm actually a little surprised it took me until June to read this one. I usually fit it in much earlier.


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