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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Blanc, Nero: Another Word for Murder

  Amazon  

4 stars

In this tenth installment in Nero Blanc's Crossword Mystery series, cruciverbalist Belle Graham and her P.I. husband Rosco Polycrates investigate the disappearance of a friend's husband. Dan Tacete, a local dentist and all-around nice guy given to donating his time to treat charity cases, fails to return home one evening after leaving work in his Ford Explorer--the least expensive vehicle in his private fleet. Dan's wife Karen naturally turns for help to her friends Rosco and Belle. While Rosco steals time from his current investigation of a car theft ring to help her, Belle begins to receive a series of crossword puzzles which she suspects may be related to the Tacete case. Certainly the clues in the third puzzle Belle receives seem to refer to one of the primary suspects in Dan's disappearance, the victim's surly business partner Jack Wagner. But Jack isn't alone in attracting the attention of Rosco or his former partner, Newcastle's chief homicide detective Al Lever: among the other suspects in the case are a number of Dan's down-and-out patients, his secretary Bonnie and her wayward brother, and Karen Tacete herself, who is suspiciously hostile to Belle and Rosco after requesting their help and who is unwilling to share everything she knows about the case with the police. Who among these, if any, dunnit? Readers are unlikely to figure that out before the clues--both forensic and linguistic--lead Belle and Rosco to a startling conclusion.

As usual in the Nero Blanc series, a handful of crossword puzzles related to the crime punctuate the book--the very puzzles Belle receives in the course of the story--but the six puzzles included in Another Word for Murder are less intimately connected to the solution of the crime than is usual in the series.

Another Word for Murder is yet another good read from the husband and wife writing team of Cordelia F. Biddle and Steve Zettler, a.k.a. "Nero Blanc." The book's tightly plotted mystery and the surprising twist it offers alone make the book worth the read, and crossword enthusiasts will appreciate the authors' linguistic playfulness and the inclusion of puzzles in the storyline. But I keep coming back to the series for its homey ambiance: the happy, pun-filled relationship of Rosco and Belle themselves, and the clutch of Newcastle denizens who join the couple in holding down a table at Lawson's Coffee Shop every Saturday morning. The murder rate in Newcastle may be startlingly high, but Rosco and Belle's home town is nonetheless a pleasant place to spend one's time.

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