The dead man lay to one side, between the front pew and the altar. On the wall above him, over a little ledge on which the Puzzel motto was carved, could be seen the discoloured cobwebbed outline of the shield which had fallen to kill him. It lay face down, obscuring the man's head. Two halves of its chain hung from rings on each side. At the end of one was a broken link. Jack Tarrant is a newly retired Scotland Yard detective recovering from a bullet wound and bored with doing nothing but crossword puzzles. His girlfriend Maria hopes that a festive holiday weekend at the snowbound Country House Hotel, Puzzel Manor, will lift his spirits. But Jack can't seem to get away either from his career or the puzzles he loves so much. Soon after he and Maria arrive for their weekend, they find a corpse - and a series of mysterious, fiendish puzzles pitting them against the unknown murderer. The game is murder and the rules are dead simple. To avert further bloodshed, Jack and Maria must find out who among the guests or staff is the Puzzel Manor murderer by following the trail of devious clues before it's too late. Each chapter ends with a puzzle - sometimes an anagram, sometimes a crossword or other word game, sometimes a logic puzzle - and each subsequent solution brings Jack and Maria (and the reader) closer to the murderer's identity.
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Used availability for Simon Brett's The Christmas Crimes At Puzzle Manor
November 1992 : USA Hardback
November 1993 : USA Paperback