On December 15, 2020; author Parnell Hall died from complications related to the COVID 19 Virus. We at Rabid Readers Reviews extend our sympathy to his family, friends and fans (in which we include ourselves). He is truly missed.
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Puzzle Lady, Cora Felton, is thrilled when baseball player, Matt Greystone, has just been traded to her favourite team invites her to a pool party and she gets to meet Derek Jeter. Of course, when people die and she is called upon to solve a puzzle to solve the case; things gets complicated.
A Puzzle to be Named Later is the 18th book in the Puzzle Lady Series.
The Puzzle Lady series is a cozy mystery that really doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Parnell Hall, has developed the characters of Cora and her niece, Sherry, naturally over time. If you started in Book 1, by Book 18 you’ve seen a pretty consistent relationship between them, natural change and growth in their lives and know what to expect. That isn’t to say that these novels don’t stand on their own. If we’re honest, because there are no blanks to be filled in with who they are hanging on for the series, we know someone like Cora – headstrong, loads of vices, a bit reckless and never able to admit she might be wrong. She may sound like someone you don’t want to get to know but the humanity Hall lends her character makes her easy to love. And in A Puzzle to be Named Later, as in most books, Cora’s natural curiosity, bullheaded pushiness and sometimes just general luck lead her to be in the middle of just about everything that happens in her little corner of New England.
I’m not even a little bit of a baseball fan and while, it does seem like Hall wrote Cora with someone of his own interests (as the old adage goes, “write what you know”). A Puzzle to be Named Later is a murder mystery. Because the victims died at his party/were found near his home, he is the #1 suspect so Cora is eager to clear him to save her beloved Yankees. There is ALWAYS a puzzle in the mystery. In the case of A Puzzle to be Named Later, the main suspect’s wife gives Cora a puzzle to solve when they return to his hometown so that he can heal after breaking his arm. Readers know that Cora, the Puzzle Lady, is not a puzzle person and the panic it brings with puzzles involved in every story (everyone thinks she’s a puzzle phenom but it’s actually her niece, Sherry, who isn’t always going to cooperate with her) is pretty funny.
The brilliance of Hall’s writing is in his characters and not the construction of the mystery. You may see the ending coming or may not but I assure you, the trip there will be funny. One of my favourite elements is seeing Cora’s influence on Sherry’s toddler daughter. The Puzzle Lady Series is naturally interspersed with crossword puzzles which I never do but I know a lot of readers, like my Dad, enjoy. My Dad loves baseball and really enjoyed this book. He liked the short chapters that make it easy to put down and pick up again.
Hall, after 18 books in this series (more at the time of this writing) and with another couple series under his belt, is a polished professional. The flow of his writing is engaging and the banter quick, witty and worthy of Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. The Puzzle Lady series is one you will either love or hate; there’s no in between.
Look, these are tough times. I work in an essential business so have still been going to work everyday but lots of us are still at home and (hopefully) suspending our social lives giving us lots of time to read. If you need sunshine in this dreary day, try Parnell Hall, he won’t let you down.
Read an excerpt and buy A Puzzle to Be Named Later (Puzzle Lady Mysteries) by Parnell Hall on