Reviews for Arsenic and Old Puzzles

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
As might be guessed from the title, this entry in the Puzzle Lady series has a plot reminiscent of the play and the 1944 Cary Grant film, Arsenic and Old Lace. A nephew comes home to visit his aunts, who run a bed-and-breakfast in the Connecticut town of Bakerhaven, with the B&B conveniently located next door to the home of the nephew's heiress girlfriend. An elderly guest dies after drinking poisoned elderberry wine, a nice, genteel sort of crime. The chief of police calls in Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, because left with the body is a Sudoku puzzle, and then a crossword puzzle turns up under the doormat. Oddly, though, the crossword is an old one, published in the Puzzle Lady's column some years earlier. More bodies and more old puzzles turn up, and the list of suspects grows, along with echoes of the film. The nephew gets one thing right when he declares that Cora's zaniness rubs off on everyone, to the delight of fans old and new. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
Since every murderer in Bakerhaven, Conn., seems to leave a puzzle with the corpse, Police Chief Harper considers himself lucky that the Puzzle Lady is on hand to solve them. If only he knew. Cora Felton, who's been married at least six times, has started a relationship with the unhappily married Dr. Nathan but covered herself by getting people to think he's romancing local attorney Becky Baldwin. The deception would be impossible for anyone but Cora, the face of a syndicated crossword empire who can't construct or solve crosswords--her niece Sherry is the person who actually creates them--though she's a whiz at sudoku. The latest puzzling victim is a tourist staying at a bed and breakfast run by the elderly Guilford sisters. Always looking to help out Becky, Cora has her represent the sisters and their nephew Alan Guilford, who claims to have just arrived from New York. His girlfriend, Arlene, who lives next door, bursts onto the scene with a crossword she found on the doorstep. Once the crossword is solved, all the clues point to Arsenic and Old Lace, including the exact poison used by the fictional sisters in the well-known play and movie. More bodies and more crosswords add to the confusion. The town drunk is found dead in the Guilfords' window seat. He's followed by one of the sisters, then another couple staying at the B&B. Is the logic of the play dictating the killer's actions, or are all the deaths just a coverup for one? Clever, manipulative Cora ($10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles, 2012, etc.) provides laughs and an ingenious mystery along with the obligatory puzzles for those who can't figure out whodunit. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 January #1

When a number of old men die suddenly, Cora can't help but notice parallels to the movie Arsenic and Old Lace. This is number 14 (after $10,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles) for the Puzzle Lady. Sudokus and crosswords included.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #3

Feisty Cora Felton, who fronts as the Puzzle Lady for niece Sherry Carter, is at her cantankerous, obfuscating, trouble-stirring best in Hall's delightful 14th Bakerhaven, Conn., romp (after 2012's ,000 in Small, Unmarked Puzzles). When the body of an unidentified tourist is found at the bed-and-breakfast of elderly sisters Charlotte and Edith Guilford, police chief Dale Harper calls Cora for help with the sudoku puzzle in the tourist's pocket. Cora is no good at puzzles, but quickly notices the smell of almonds, which suggests cyanide and thus foul play. As additional puzzles, bodies, and clues pile up, a connection to the 1944 Frank Capra film Arsenic and Old Lace becomes clear. Even more fun than the whodunit is the romantic confusion Cora sows among pretty lawyer Becky Baldwin; the Guilfords' nephew, Alan; and Alan's girlfriend, Arlene Winnington. (Jan.)

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