Thursday, April 27, 2023

Poaching is Puzzling by Daryl Wood Gerber

 Poaching is Puzzling
Book Summary

In the cutthroat world of crossword solvers, Jenna Hart will have to decipher some puzzling clues to catch a killer . . .

The annual crossword puzzle contest has drawn contestants from near and far to Crystal Cove, and Jenna watches in amazement as puzzle-themed books fly off the shelves at the Cookbook Nook. Her aunt Vera is putting up a sizable cash prize, and no one is more surprised than Jenna to discover there’s bad blood between Vera and the prominent puzzle constructor who’s acting as master of ceremonies. And when the puzzle guru has his throat slit while he’s out hiking, the police instantly peg Aunt Vera as the culprit.
Jenna can’t stand by and watch her aunt take the fall. It’s been clear since the victim arrived that he had contentious relationships with a number of the contestants—even going so far as to steal puzzles from some of them and claim them as his own—and Jenna’s certain one of them is the killer. Trading puzzle solving for crime solving, she sorts through the convoluted clues and cryptic suspects, hoping to nab the guilty party before they decide she’s a problem they’ll solve with another murder . . .

Includes mouthwatering recipes!

My Thoughts

Poaching is Puzzling by Daryl Wood Gerber is a diverting cozy mystery.  We return to the scenic Crystal Cove, California where Jenna Hart and her Aunt Vera own the Cookbook Nook.  The story is well-written with developed characters.  This is a character driven series.  Jenna is back as well as her Aunt Vera, her husband Rhett, Bailey, Kate, Cary as well as Tigger and Rook.  I enjoyed the crossword puzzle theme for this story.  There are daily crossword puzzles for the townspeople to solve, a crossword puzzle tournament, crossword themed merchandise (cookie jars for example), and the murder of a cruciverbalist (crossword puzzle designer).  The death of Wesley Preston, a renowned crossword puzzle designer, puts Aunt Vera in the crosshairs of Chief of Police Cinnamon Pritchett.  Aunt Vera asks Jenna to investigate.  She knows that the crossword puzzle visitors and contestants will talk to Jenna because she speaks their language.  There are multiple suspects in Wesley’s death.  Wesley managed to antagonize several people in the days leading up to his death.   Jenna asks questions, searches for helpful clues, and gets useful gossip.   The whodunit can be solved before the reveal (the devil is in the details).  The case is neatly wrapped up at the end (thanks to Jenna).  

A crossword puzzle cookie!

I learned a couple of novel words while reading Poaching is Puzzling (like cruciverbalist and turophile) and I enjoyed the addition of the fifty cent words (my favorite type). There are details on how crossword puzzles are crafted along with the crossword puzzle trivia.  I also learned about the different types of knives and their names (there is one for each type of cheese—soft, hard, smooth, and semi-hard).  There is some repetition of minutiae (a pet peeve of mine).  We get to spend time with the cutie Tigger and the clever Rook.  I like that the author includes adorable furbabies in her books.  I look forward to my next visit to Crystal Cove.  Poaching is Puzzling is the twelfth A Cookbook Nook Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone, but you will miss out on the background of the characters and how the couples came together.  Poaching is Puzzling is a crossword centric cozy with clever conundrums, a slain cruciverbalist, enticing appetizers, luscious cheeses, a sparkly spirit staff, shrewd wordsmiths, and a triumphant tournament victor.

Poaching is Puzzling is available from Amazon*.  The other A Cookbook Nook Mysteries can be found here.  You can find Daryl Wood Gerber's other delightful cozy mysteries here.  Thank you for stopping by today. It is hard to believe that April is almost over.  I will return on Tuesday, May 2 with Dressed to Drill by Kate Carlisle.  It is the tenth A Fixer-Upper Mystery.  I hope that you have a delightful weekend.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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