Cover Image: Lights! Camera! Puzzles!

Lights! Camera! Puzzles!

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for a honest review. This book was just ok, it didn't manage to capture my attention. I honestly haven't heard of it since. I don't think this was a book meant for me even though it is supposed to contain all the elements I enjoy.
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The Puzzle Lady's ex-husband has written a (mostly fictitious) tell-all about their marriage. The book has wrecked her image as everyone's grandma and the lucrative promotions have dried up. So Cora has made a deal with the devil and is a producer on the film the book is being turned into
 She's not happy to begin with and then the body of a staff member is found. And  then there's another.
I hadn't read this series in a while but I am glad to see that Cora has branched out and it made sense for her to find a body in a new place.

Four Stars
This book came out April 2nd
ARC kindly provided by publisher and NetGalley
Opinions are my own
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Books like this either catch the reader right or they don't, and this one didn't catch me. There is one running joke about how zany and energetic the main character is, the other characters exist either to annoy her into bouts of nuttiness, or to marvel at her antics. Done perfectly, it can be uproariously funny; but it's very hard to do perfectly. Done inexpertly, as I found to be the case here, it's just tedious and annoying.

The plot does not unfold or develop, stuff just happens whenever a scene runs out of steam. Some of the scenes are funny, or at least eccentric enough to generate some interest, but they don't lead anywhere. It's not really a mystery and certainly not a thriller, it's more of a cozy.

There are two puzzles in the book, a very easy Sudoku and one of those annoying crossword puzzles in which the clues are all straightforward definitions like, "Neeson of 'Shindler's List'," "Monte _____ (gambling Mecca)" and "Origami medium." Both quantity and quality are insufficient to interest most puzzle fans.

The author is very successful, so clearly there are many people who like this kind of thing. It's the first of his work that I've read and I don't think I'm one of those people.
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Cora Felton’s ex-husband Marvin has written a sensational tell-all memoir, Confessions of a Trophy Husband: My Life with the Puzzle Lady.  The scandalous details lead to several of Cora's major sponsors dropping her and now Cora needs money.  When the book is optioned for the movies, Cora signs up as an associate producer. to get some control over the project and get paid.  But when filming starts in New York City, Cora hates it all:  the script, the director and the actresses playing P.D. (present day) and historic Cora.  Things start to go wrong fast when one of the gofers is found dead, and then the hapless actor playing Marvin is found hanging in his trailer.  

I used to enjoy reading the Puzzle Lady mysteries but this one did not work for me.  There were not even many crossword puzzles in the book!

I received an eARC via Netgalley and Pegasus Books with no requirements for a review.  I voluntarily read this book and provided this review.
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Thank you to Net Gallery for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

This is an instalment in a series of books featuring a range of characters, the main character being Cora, the Puzzle Lady ... who solves crimes.

I’m kind of torn with this book.  I felt compelled to read it even though I despised it from the outset.  I didn’t like the way it was written, almost in a play like format with constant character narrative ... I didn’t know the characters and clearly this is a series of books you need to read in order to understand the characters better .... and I felt like I should give up on it immediately ... BUT and here’s the stupidity .... I couldn’t put the thing down and I did enjoy reading it .... it was in fact so bad that I just had to see where it was going .... one of the most bizarre books I’ve both enjoyed and hated at the same time!!  Go figure!!

I don’t think I’d go back and read the others though!!!! 🤭
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Fans of this long running series will enjoy this latest offering.
I strongly suggest you read the series in order to fully appreciate the characters.
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Hall's book sounded interesting, but I must admit I was not a fan of it. The characters are flat, dull, and boring. I don't understand the whole "The Puzzle Lady can't do a crossword to save her life" focus that permeates nearly every page in the beginning. The chapters are more dialog than anything else and didn't help create a connection between me and the book.
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I could not finish this book. I didn't like the writing style and while I really liked the idea of crossword puzzles integrated into a book, it is impossible to enjoy them on a Kindle! I felt no connection to any of the characters and everyone felt somewhat vapid and shallow.
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Cora Felton’s ex-husband, Melvin, has written a tell-all memoir, Confessions of a Trophy Husband: My Life with the Puzzle Lady, documenting their fiery marriage, though he’s kept secret the biggest scandal of all: Cora, the Puzzle Lady, can’t solve a crossword to save her life. Still, the book paints Cora poorly, and she’s lost an endorsement deal that provided most of her income. When she learns that Melvin's book is being made into a movie, she signs on as an associate producer, partly to influence how she’s depicted but mostly because she needs the money.

Cora’s first day on the movie began with auditions for “present day Cora” and she was grumpy as she compared herself to the parade of actresses ushered to and from the stage by a production assistant. She’s called back to the theater by her friend NYPD homicide sergeant Crowley when one of those PAs is found murdered. The screenwriter had given Cora a crossword puzzle he’d found; Cora was convinced it was supposed to be planted on the body.

As director Sandy Delfin tries to keep the shoot on track while Sergeant Crowley haunts the set, additional murders plague the production making everyone wonder who will be next and why a killer targeted the Untitled Puzzle Lady Project.

Lights! Camera! Puzzles! is an entry in the long-standing Puzzle Lady series, and while reading the previous books isn't necessary to understanding and enjoying this addition, I believe it would help give context to the returning characters and their relationships. 

Though there are multiple murders, the book doesn't have violence or gore so would be ideal for mystery lovers looking for those features. Solving the murders relies not on forensics or profiling but on observation and logic, and Cora excels at that, though her access to crime scenes strains credibility. 

Cora communicates through witty, raucous banter, primarily with Sergeant Crowley, an ex-boyfriend, and it’s often funny, though at times it can be quite cutting and a little harsh for my taste. The characters that populate the movie set are a little stereotypical, especially when it comes to sex and gender, and these conventions feel outdated, but even more almost in deliberate defiance of changing expectations around equality and sexual harassment.

As a Puzzle Lady book should, Lights! Camera! Puzzles! includes puzzles for the reader to complete—a crossword by Fred Piscop and a Sudoku by Will Shortz. The book is quick and light-hearted and a good choice for an undemanding airport diversion.
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