The Cryptic Crossword Caper: A Cozy Mystery by Russell Atkinson
In THE CRYPTIC CROSSWORD CAPER, author Russell Atkinson brings the reader a new novel--but this time with a twist. Yes, there is still a murder to be solved, but this time, the main sleuth, "Mags," is a puzzle afficiando. Mags teams up with her book club friends to solve a cryptic crossword puzzle. The group hopes that the answer to this puzzle will lead them to the murderer.
I downloaded both the Sudoku and the cryptic crossword using the URL provided. The puzzles downloaded just fine, and I was able to print out both. I had a fun time solving each; the Sudoku was pretty easy, but some of the clues on the cryptic crossword had me baffled. (What--there really is such as word, "CARGOS?")
As always, the author writes clearly and concisely. It was a nice change to have a woman as the main character (Maybe she is Cliff Knowle's sister?)
The tone of the book is lighthearted--just what one would expect from a "cozy." There is one line in the book that really made me chuckle. After a policeman is slightly injured, a neighbor cries out, "Should I call the police." The officer responds, "No, ma'am. I am the police."
So all in all, I found THE CRYPTIC CROSSWORD CAPER to be a fun read. There's no gore or violence--remember, this is a "cozy" mystery, so the murders are bloodless (well pretty much, anyway.) The puzzles were well-constructed and fair. (Well, mostly fair!)
Remember that the author is an expert at cryptography, so don't expect to just breeze through the crypto crossword. They are not "expert level," but neither are they simple. As the book club team works on the crossword, the reader can follow their logic, and glean tips on how to solve cryptograms.
Finally, I appreciate the simple declarative sentences and the clear dialogue. I have come to expect nothing less from the author. It is refreshing to see an author actually understand correct grammatical construction (e.g., no "comma splices.") I found Mr. Atkinson's latest book easy and fun to read. If you like puzzles, I think you will enjoy this book.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of Mr Atkinson