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Arsenic and Old Puzzles (Puzzle Lady, #14)
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Arsenic and Old Puzzles

(Puzzle Lady #14)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  97 reviews
The Puzzle Lady embarks on another adventure involving one classic movie and featuring new puzzles by Will Shortz

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 m
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Minotaur Books
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  499 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Nov 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was a cute and quick read. The chapters are short and fly by. I see people on here complain about typos and sentence structure. The copy I read was a library book and people had worked to correct some of the errors. I also agree that the blocks of dialogue with no clear speaking source are confusing. It is hard to believe that this is # 14 in a series. I wonder if the earlier books are just as bad. I found this book because it was laid out on a table of books at the front of the librar ...more
Kathleen Roberts
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was great fun! I recommend watching (or re-watching) the 1944 Cary Grant version of “Arsenic and Old Lace” before reading the book because it makes it that much more delightful to have the images in your mind. Don’t be fooled - the mystery here is much different than in the movie! But it moves quickly, Cora is a pretty good protagonist, and she’s surrounded by characters who almost all keep her on track and provide enjoyable dialogue.

The ending comes together quickly, and was unexpect
pammy 🍓
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this series! Fun, fast paced story line with likable characters
Sara Scraps
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Always light and fun..and this one was quite humorous too!
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Are you in the mood for an easy going and enjoyable cozy?

Do you like mysteries in which all the characters blend well together?

Have you ever read a mystery that makes you as happy reading it as it made the author writing it?

If you are looking for a cozy that moves forward without leaving you behind wondering what's going on...then "Arsenic and Old Puzzles is for you!

Cora is all tied up in the old movie "Arsenic & Old Lace"...or is she? It seems that someone is copying that movie and includin
크리스티 (Kristy)
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-rental
I enjoyed this book a lot. I realized after picking up this book that it was 14th in the series. I was hesitant at first but a review on the back of the book said you could read these books stand-alone so I thought I would try it since I love the movie Arsenic and Old Lace so a spoof of the movie in a book seemed neat. I enjoyed the sudko and crossword puzzles in the book that helped with the clues and I enjoyed the story line. Cora is a feisty character (I would benefit more if I read the other ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Arsenic and Old Puzzles Review

3 stars


I was walking through the library, casually glancing at the bookshelves, when Arsenic and Old Puzzles caught my eye. The title references the famous dark-comedy play and its movie adaptation, Arsenic and Old Lace, which is a story that I read and enjoyed when I was in high school. I ultimately decided to pick this up because I saw the tidbit on the cover that advertised interactive Sudoku. I read the book-jacket so I knew this book was one installme
Jun 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
The writing is still littered with comma splices that are mostly just downright annoying. The non-sentences are still present but play back fiddle to the bad grammar. All of which isn’t saved by the insipid characters who are lead along by the nose by an egoist whose only motivation is boredom.

The plot was basic ‘who dun it’, but it also took a backseat to the inanity that is Cora Felton’s character. Half the book is her spreading gossip and lies and basically leading all the other simpleton cha
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Liked this a lot in spite of it being pretty far from my usual sci-fi sweet spot. I picked it up off the new mystery shelf at the library (next to the new sci-fi) because it had “puzzles” in the title. Then got sucked in with sudoku in the first chapter and the overall premise of an old lady with a puzzle column in the newspaper who also happens to be the first person the police chief calls when he doesn’t know where to start with a murder mystery. I told myself I was reading to the end mostly t ...more
Anthony Yvonnica
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yet another very fun read. Well, five murders isn't exactly fun, but I had a very good time reading these books. I have a mental image of Cora and the other characters in these books. I can picture them and I know how they speak. I know how the town looks, it is very familiar to me. And very enjoyable to read.

These books are quick reads. They are for entertainment, not enlightenment. And the authors keeps them just on this side of too silly so that you can suspend your doubts and just enjoy them
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
It has been close to five years since I last read one of these "puzzle" books. I think I stopped because the heroine just became too ridiculous. I see that there are five more that have come out since I stopped reading the series and since they are such a quick read, I guess I'll go ahead and catch up on the story line. ...more
Andrea Johnston
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A delightful mystery that pays a wonderful tribute to the original stage play / movie. Cora Felton is an absolute hoot and is serving you some serious Grandma Mazur realness, hinny! Fabulous, clever, and full of wit, this is a wonderful work.
Harry Addington
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very clever whodunit with lots of humor. Murders appear to be copying the movie Arsenic and Old Lace. Good series especially if you like crossword or sudoku puzzles although that is not necessary.
Carole Hardinge
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Glad I stuck with this series. Cora has her mojo back in this installment.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Cute mystery read for those who enjoys puzzles.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an easy and pretty kitschy read. The puzzles turned out to be not very relevant to the story (except for one) and the sudokus were pretty tough.
Kristine Tymusz
Jan 14, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-my-thing
Not my thing!
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Puzzle Lady, Cora Felton, has been brought in by the Police Chief to calm down a couple of elderly ladies who run a rooming house after one of their residents falls dead at the dinner table after drinking a glass of elderberry wine. A sudoku puzzle is found by the body. Next, the local wino is found dead in the window seat, again after drinking some of the elderberry wine. Another sudoku is found near his body. Neither of these puzzles mean anything. Then the couple visiting for the weekend ...more
Gloria Feit
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Cary Grant movie, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” seems to be the basis for this murder mystery, except when it isn’t. And so, the plot is as mixed up as the Puzzle Lady, Cora, and the rest of the characters in this latest addition to the series.

When an elderly boarder at a bed and breakfast operated by two ditzy old ladies dies, with a Sudoku puzzle in his pocket, Cora is called in by the chief of police to solve the puzzle and a subsequent crossword that is found. It seems meaningless, but Cora al
Lucy Hannigan
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it
This was my first book in this series and in some ways I felt like I was coming in the middle of the movie--that I didn't have all the background I needed to "get" all the banter around the main story. I picked the book up because I love crossword puzzles, suduku, etc. Unfortunately it was a library book so I couldn't do the puzzles in the book.
It's a typical "lite" murder mystery--my favorite kind--an average citizen getting involved with solving crimes, having an "in" with the police departme
Text Addict
What this book has going for it: It's funny, it features an elderly sleuth who is unlike Miss Marple in every conceivable way (aside from being female and elderly), it revolves around a movie I've seen and enjoyed so I could actually follow the plot. And the plot was great, with a really unexpected twist that explained everything.

What it has against it: This is something like the 14th book in this series. Hall did a great job of dropping in details to give context without being obtrusive, but i
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fun an entertaining read with great, quirky characters. Yes, the spin on the movie with Cary Grant was definitely a draw for this classic movie fan. I would love to give it another star, but I was quite surprised to find this "#14" in a series, particularly with some of the editing issues. The VERY FIRST line of the book starts out with:

"So when's she going to walk?" Cora said.

Um, that's a question Cora ASKS, not a statement. And there are several times one completely loses who
An excellent mystery! This is my first time reading a Parnell Hall mystery and it won't be my last. Love his mixture of mystery, crossword & sudoku puzzles and humor. I laughed through most of the story at his mystery solving main character, Cora Felton stirring up a little trouble with Chief Harper, Dr. Nathan and DA Henry Firth. Nice nod to Arsenic and Old Lace as the backdrop for this story centered around two old sisters, their bed and breakfast, lodgers and elderberry wine! This a refreshin ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
When a puzzle is found with a corpse, the local police call Cora Felton. But although the dead man in the bed and breakfast has a sudoku stuck in his pocket, the answer to the puzzle doesn't seem to have a clue concealed in it. Neither does the puzzle that turns up later. After the autopsy reveals that the dead man was poisoned in elderberry wine, the link with the Cary Grant movie "Arsenic and Old Lace" becomes clear, but by then Cora has moved on, mentally, to a new entanglement, with a sudden ...more
Peggie Ross
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy the puzzle lady series. They are light, rapid reads, ideal when in need of something which is quick and doesn't require paying serious attention to the plot or characters. I also greatly enjoy the fact that most of the story moves along with conversations, not paragraphs of descriptive sentences. And the crosswords and sudokus give fun breaks in the reading and the chance for the reader to match wits with the characters to see if you can determine the meaning of the clues before t ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime, humor
I agree with other reviewers about the poor editing of the story--glaring typos and confusing dialogue structure. Also, I find Cora to be more irritating than adorably quirky. However, I loved the plot and the other characters. The puzzles were challenging, but not too hard, and much more exciting to complete in the context of the mystery. I felt like there was more at stake to solve them!

I am so happy that I picked this up on a whim while at the library! I plan to buy other books in the series
Peggy Huey
As a fan of puzzles, I was intrigued by the heroine of this series--a woman who creates puzzles for the newspaper. This particular escapade was particularly intriguing because it draws upon Joseph Kesselring's 1939 novel Arsenic and Old Lace that was made into a movie starting Cary Grant and a play that has been performed by numerous theaters around the country. But my expectations were disappointed as I worked my way through the clues hidden in the crosswords found around the bodies that keep c ...more
Mark Baker
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2013
Cora Felton has found herself involved in another murder when a Sudoku shows up on the body of a man poisoned at a boarding house in town. It's the usual verbal sparring and puzzles fans of the series will love. I was just bothered by one action Cora took part way through the book.

My full review at Carstairs Considers.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I would have given this only three stars for being too fluffy but the dialogue is so fast and funny you almost forget you are reading a mystery. I imagined the Puzzle Lady as Groucho Marx--that's the way it reads. I want to read some others in the series to see if they are as good. Oh, and I didn't figure out the murderer or the meaning of the key clue until the end. (I have seen Arsenic and Old Lace--if you haven't, watch it first. It will add to your enjoyment. ...more
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Other books in the series

Puzzle Lady (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • A Clue for the Puzzle Lady (Puzzle Lady, #1)
  • Last Puzzle & Testament (Puzzle Lady, #2)
  • Puzzled to Death (Puzzle Lady, #3)
  • A Puzzle in a Pear Tree (Puzzle Lady, #4)
  • With this Puzzle, I Thee Kill (Puzzle Lady, #5)
  • And a Puzzle to Die On (Puzzle Lady, #6)
  • Stalking the Puzzle Lady (Puzzle Lady, #7)
  • You Have the Right to Remain Puzzled (Puzzle Lady, #8)
  • The Sudoku Puzzle Murders (Puzzle Lady, #9)
  • Dead Man's Puzzle (Puzzle Lady, #10)

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