Arsenic and Old Puzzles

Arsenic and Old Puzzles

Large Print - 2013
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When an elderly boarder at a Bakerhaven bed-and-breakfast drops dead during afternoon tea, there's nothing particularly suspicious about it except for the Sudoku in his jacket pocket. But when a second body turns up in the window seat and an autopsy shows both men were poisoned with elderberry wine, the Puzzle Lady suspects she's dealing with a cold-blooded killer who for some reason is copying the Cary Grant movie Arsenic and Old Lace. More murders, more puzzles, and a grave dug in the cellar seem to cement the theory.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, 2013.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781410459107
Branch Call Number: L.P. Fic Hall
Characteristics: 401 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


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May 16, 2019

Once again, a book with great reviews doesn't live up to the expectations. I found the story rather lacking in coherence and the protagonist, Cora, hard to believe. First of all, she is a fraud. She is known as "the puzzle lady" but in reality that is her niece's job. I could not understand why Cora was called by the Sheriff to help in solving a crime: how could a policemen let her put her hands on evidence - that she could not understand anyway - is beyond me. How old is Cora? Not clear, because the references to her age don't match with what she actually does. The finale was also rather strange: one of the rules of detective novels is that the reader must have the same clues of the investigator, but I didn't feel this was the case. I had the distinct impression that Cora (and the narrator) knew much more than the reader. There were several attempts to make the story humorous, but honestly I found the dialogues repetitive and overall boring. I was intrigued by the title's obvious reference to "Arsenic and Old Lace," but the story has very little to do with the play or the movie. So, I gave this book two stars and don't think that I am going to read other books in the series.


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