Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cherringham - The Last Puzzle (Mystery Shorts Book 16)

Author:  Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Genre:  Mystery

Kindle
Bastei Entertainment
116 pages
$1.99 Amazon
June 1, 2015
Five Stars

When amiable old village eccentric Quentin Andrews dies, the good folk of Cherringham are astonished at the crowd that turns up to his funeral.  But even more astonished are the beneficiaries of his will:  Quentin has left a veritable fortune to whomever is the first to solve an intricate 'Cherringham crossword.'  That puzzle is only the first of many that Jack and Sarah will uncover as they follow the treasure hunt for clues and learn the truth about who Quentin Andrews really was...and the biggest mystery of them all...was he - in fact - murdered?

(Cherringham is a serial novel a la Charles Dickens, with a new mystery thriller released each month.  set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuting duo:  English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack.)   

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Sarah's father Michael has a standing weekly chess game with his friend Quentin Andrews.  Upon arriving at Quentin's home, he finds the lights on, door open, and no Quentin.  He searches for his friend and finds him apparently asleep, until he looks closer and realizes he is dead.  It seems like a natural death for the old man, at least to him...

At the reading of the will, Sarah and Jack are asked to be 'observers' for a crossword puzzle that Quentin has laid out for four possible heirs, with a ten thousand pound prize for the winner - and only two days to solve it.  As Jack and Sarah follow along the game, they also begin investigating and find that it was very possible Quentin was murdered.  So which, if any, of the four people involved caused the old man's death?

This is a delightful, quick read.  For a novella, it keeps you on your toes.  The plot is well written and the characters likable, and solving the murder along with Jack and Sarah, you solve your own puzzle as well.  When the answer comes at the end, it is believable and a nice twist to the story.

I have not read any of the other Cherringham mysteries, but will definitely go back and start at the beginning.  Highly recommended.



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