Authors: Parnell Hall
“DEFT … CLEVER … FUN.”
“The real lure here is the mystery, whose ingenuity takes quite unexpected forms en route to the final unmasking. HEAVEN FOR CROSSWORD FANS, who’ll rejoice over the solve-as-you-go puzzle!”
“CORA FELTON IS A DELIGHTFULLY DIFFERENT SORT OF SLEUTH—hardly the decorous, tea-sipping village spinster. In truth, she’s a hoot. I hope her niece can keep her out of too much trouble so that we can all savor future adventures of The Puzzle Lady.”
—Joan Hess, author of the Claire Malloy and Maggody mystery series
“Parnell Hall’s superb new series DAZZLES LIKE THE 4th OF JULY, CRACKLING WITH FUN WORDPLAY, more twists than a maze, and a clever, vulnerable, wild woman sleuth—Cora Felton, The Puzzle Lady. Sheer delight!”
—Carolyn Hart, author of the Death on Demand and Henrie O mystery series
“A twisting plot, an intriguing puzzle, and a surprisingly satisfying romance. THIS ONE IS HARD TO BEAT.”
“A fresh series with an engaging sleuthing duo … A LIGHT-HEARTED ROMP.”
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
“A fun and entertaining story to challenge all mystery readers … A great premise … lively characters, an intriguing plot and well written story.”
A Clue for the Puzzle Lady
is GOING TO PLEASE PUZZLE FANS AND MYSTERY LOVERS ALIKE.”
A Clue for the Puzzle Lady
Last Puzzle & Testament
Puzzled to Death
A Puzzle in a Pear Tree
With This Puzzle I Thee Kill
This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition.
NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN OMITTED.
A CLUE FOR THE PUZZLE LADY
A Bantam Book
Bantam hardcover edition / 1999
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1999 by Parnell Hall
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address: Bantam Books.
Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada
Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, New York, New York.
who loved a good puzzle.
I am pleased to be able to include the following crossword puzzle, compliments of the Puzzle Lady. Miss Felton and I hope you enjoy it.
A word of caution: Since solving the puzzle will identify the killer, you should not do so until after reading the book. You would probably not be able to anyway, as several of the clues are based on a knowledge of the story.
The answers may be found in the back of the book.
1 Sonny, or lead singer of rock group mentioned on CRUCIVERB-L
5 Minimal lot size on Cold Springs Road
12 Sherry to Cora
13 Ed Sullivan’s really big ones?
15 Lounge or pony
16 Crime scene
18 Surprise attack
19 Open on the victim
20 A long time
21 A-frames, for instance
24 Very French
25 The 60s, e.g.
28 Foamy wave
34 Soft drink
35 Early man
36 Fork end
37 Motel rental
38 Finish last
39 Skating locale
40 _______ off (repel)
41 Probable action of Barbara Burnside’s car
43 Pined for or played college prank
44 Skin rash or small dwelling
45 John Dickson
46 Ebert milieu
53 Type of code
54 Graveyard Killer
57 What this book should be
59 Put up
60 Type of training
61 Shade of color
62 Night light
1 What Aaron wouldn’t dare call Sherry
2 All right
3 Shoes worn by murder victim
4 Number of shots fired
5 Not at sea
7 Guns the engine
8 Answer to 14) A
9 Surface left by Kevin Roth
10 “I Cannot tell____ ”
11 Gets sleepy
15 Chief Harper’s antagonist
23 Murder weapon part
24 What Oscar winners seem obliged
25 What Billy Spires undoubtedly offered
28 What Johnnie done to Frankie
29 Schwarzenegger role
30 Not dead
31 Narrow on one end, wide on the other
33 Salt water
36 None of your business
42 Vigor’s cohort
45 Songwriter Leonard
46 Give a damn
48 Way to drink whiskey
49 Child’s building set
50 Hamlet, for one
51 “Do not go gentle____that good night”
52 Garden for 35 across
55 Tipped to show respect
The first clue came with a corpse.
The body lay next to a gravestone in the Bakerhaven Cemetery.
Police Chief Dale Harper stood in the pouring rain and looked down at it with displeasure. What was a corpse doing in the cemetery? Chief Harper was not unaware of the humor in the question. A body in the cemetery—the press would have a field day. Chief Harper frowned and wiped the water off his face.
The body was that of a young girl in her late teens or early twenties. She was lying facedown with her head twisted to the side. Her left eye was open. Chief Harper wished he could close it. It was eight in the morning, he had barely had his coffee, and the sight of her made him queasy. What in the world was she doing there?
And why was she in the cemetery? If she’d only been on the other side of the fence, not a hundred yards away, she’d have been in the township of Clarksonville, and he wouldn’t have gotten the call that dragged him away from the breakfast table before his toast had even popped, on a rainy Monday morning the last day in May.
But, no, this corpse fell under his jurisdiction. The good citizens of Bakerhaven would expect him, as chief of police, to do something about it. It was up to him to find out who killed her and why. At the moment, he didn’t even know who she was.
“Never seen her before,” the caretaker said.
It was the fourth or fifth time he’d said so. A shriveled little man with a somewhat belligerent nature, Fred Lloyd had found the body when he’d arrived for work this morning. He’d driven in the gate, and his headlights had picked up the girl’s silhouette. He’d called the police station, the cop on duty had called the chief, and now Lloyd and Harper were standing together in the cemetery in a drenching rain.
“So you said.” Chief Harper knew he should interview Mr. Lloyd, but at the moment he couldn’t think of a thing to ask him. The guy had found the body, he’d never seen the girl before, and what else was there?
Chief Harper wasn’t entirely up on procedure because murders just didn’t
in Bakerhaven, Connecticut. Waterbury or Danbury, sure, those were big cities, they had their share of crime. Bakerhaven was one of those small, quiet, respectable towns where nothing much happened. There had not been a murder in Bakerhaven in the year and a half that Dale Harper had been chief. So he was not entirely sure what to do.
One thing he knew was he couldn’t touch the body until the medical examiner got there. The ambulance he’d called for had arrived, and the paramedics had confirmed what he already knew, that the girl was dead. But they couldn’t take her away until the medical examiner saw her, and Barney Nathan, the notorious stick-in-the-mud who served that function, was undoubtedly taking his own sweet time finishing up
breakfast before venturing out on a morning like this to stand in the cemetery in the rain. The paramedics had gone back to the shelter of their ambulance. Chief Harper hunched his orange slicker up over his neck, wished he were somewhere else.