Book Review: Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall

Presumed Puzzled
A Puzzle Lady Mystery #17
Parnell Hall
Minotaur Books, January 2016
ISBN: 978-1-2500-6123-2
Hardcover

The Puzzle Lady novels are meant to be cute, and this one has some light moments, but since the lady in question ends up tried for murder it turns out to be anything but.  Actually, there are two courtroom scenes. First, the wife of the murder victim is initially charged with the crime, but halfway through the trial those charges are dismissed when a witness for the prosecution provides an alibi for her and another implicates Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady.

It seems Cora was having an affair with the murdered man, and the irony is that she is employed by the wife’s attorney to find him after the wife reports him missing when he doesn’t come home from work.  And, to add insult to injury, Cora accompanies the Police Chief to his home only to discover him lying on the floor, having bled to death, and his wife covered with blood holding a butcher knife.

A series of clues appear to indicate Cora is guilty, and the courtroom drama plays out until she unravels the mystery by testifying for the prosecution in her own trial in typical Puzzle Lady fashion. While events throughout both trials are dramatic and push the story forward, it is unlikely that such occurrences could possibly take place in a real trial.  Of course, there is always a last minute fact or witness that occasionally pop up in real life, but hardly to the extent that this plot requires.  Other than this objection, the Puzzle Lady mysteries are always cute and fun, and so is this novel.

Recommended.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, January 2017.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall

  1. Sounds like Parnell has delivered again, though I am a bit puzzled by the “criminal” involvement of the Puzzle Lady, even in a “fake news” way. (IF!)

  2. This sounds like a fun series. I don’t mind if they take a more serious turn either. And I enjoy court room scenes. Makes me think of the old Perry Mason shows.

  3. The first mystery I remember reading was one I checked out from the school library. It was based upon notes found here and there that were actually pieces to a puzzle. After that, for a long time, I thought a book could not be a mystery without a puzzle (which is partly true of all mysteries). This book sounds good.

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