Cover image for The crossword murder
The crossword murder
Blanc, Nero.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Prime Crime, [1999]

Physical Description:
306 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Text includes six crossword puzzles.
Geographic Term:
Format :


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When crossword puzzle editor Thompson C. Briephs is found dead under suspicious circumstances, private investigator Rosco Polycrates enlists the aid of rival crossword editor Annabella Graham to help him complete five puzzles written by Briephs before his death which may contain clues to the identit

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved