The Crossword Murder (Crossword Mysteries)

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9780425177013: The Crossword Murder (Crossword Mysteries)

When colorful crossword editor Thompson C. Briephs turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, private detective Rosco Polycrates joins forces with a beautiful crossword editor from the victim's rival newspaper to find the killer before he or she strikes again, in an entertaining mystery accompanied by six crossword puzzles. Reprint.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Designed to delight both crossword puzzle enthusiasts and mystery readers, this pseudonymous novel, the first in a projected series from the husband-and-wife team of Cordelia Frances Biddle (Beneath the Wind) and Steve Zettler (Double Identity), features adroit wordplay and high society intrigue. Wealthy Thomas C. Briephs is a crossword puzzle editor for the Newport, Mass., Herald, and a man-about-town whose immoral private life has made him an easy target for blackmail. Yet when he dies under unusual circumstances (strangulation in his bed), the police declare the death accidental, the result of a kinky sex game gone wrong, and try to hush up the affair in order to protect the reputation of Briephs's uncle, a U.S. senator. Briephs's mother, however, asks Greek-American private detective Rosco Polycrates to conduct a discreet investigation. Seeking background information, Rosco interviews Mrs. Annabella "Belle" Graham, the crossword editor for another Newcastle paper. The deeper Rosco investigates, the murkier the case gets, especially when two of Briephs's crosswords are published posthumously. At first Rosco is inclined to scoff at Belle's idea that the puzzles hold vital clues to the murder, but he reconsiders after Briephs's assistant is brutally attacked and three remaining puzzles disappear. Fighting a growing attraction, Rosco and Belle fill in the blanks as they edge toward the killer's true motive. Though Blanc's descriptions are awkward in spots and his secondary characters tend to be overblown, he delivers an enjoyable, complex solution and likable protagonists who are strong enough to carry the series forward. In a clever innovation, the text includes Briephs's final crosswords, which puzzle buffs can try to decipher before Rosco and Belle do. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

Evoe! At last puzzle fans have their revenge... super sleuthing and solving for puzzle lovers and mystery fans. -- Charles Preston, Puzzle Editor, USA Today

If life were a crossword puzzle, everything would be black and white. Life and death are a cryptic - as crossword buffs call them - in The Crossword Murder (Berkley Prime Crime), and Nero Blanc (Black White) is the perfect pen name for local authors husband and wife Cordelia Frances Biddle and Steve Zettler. In this mystery, wealthy self-appointed genius crossword author Thompson Briephs is murdered. He leaves behind five puzzles that may point to his killer. An eccentric cast of characters (all with 15-letter names to fill an entire line of a puzzle grid) keep the pot boiling with well-paced breaks for puzzle solving. But which words in the puzzles are important clues and which are just... words? Theres no real pattern. The authors smoothly gloss over this logical gulf, and if you too can ignore it, The Crossword Murder is good summer entertainment. A romantic subplot is deftly handled and the settings, particularly Briephs kinky (historically dubious) Cretan-maze-mansion, are fun. Although I suspect the puzzles wont challenge the skills of world-class word-wranglers, I enjoyed them. -- Philadelphia City Paper

The Crossword Murder is a witty story of murder and skullduggery. The crosswords used to solve the crime are included so that the reader can solve the puzzle and the mystery right along with the detectives! -- Romantic Times

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