The Puzzle Lady Series usually is based on a convoluted plot, and this latest novel seems to embody the wackiest of them all. This is the 15th book since the author conceived the prototype, and the twists and turns in it make an Alpine road look like a straight superhighway. Of course, it gives Cora Felton, The Puzzle Lady who can’t solve crossword puzzles, free rein to propound all kinds of theories and barbs and amusing comments before the mystery is solved.
It all begins when a ditzy young woman retains Cora’s lawyer friend, Becky, because she fears her husband is having an affair and is planning to murder her. She says he took out a $1 million life insurance policy on her, with a double indemnity clause. Shades of the movie, Double Indemnity, which was serious. Not as amusing as “Puzzled Indemnity,” which is anything but. Cora is asked by Becky to investigate, and thus begins the strange journey.
Despite the levity and craziness throughout the novel (much less the series), it encompasses a first rate mystery, worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. All the novels, naturally, encompass crossword puzzle and sudokus containing clues to move the story forward. They are edited by Will Shortz, who performs a similar task for The New York Times. If you haven’t read any of this novel’s predecessors, this book is a good one to start with. Then go back and read the others.