Four hours earlier, she starred in her first live radio show.

Now, she was frightened, confused, and a murder suspect,

and it was only Monday.

 

 

 
 

 

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REVIEWS: Puzzled by the Clues

 

“Fill me in, Nora. A dope-buying professor, a group of Nazi sympathizers, this is way beyond Chicago politics as usual.”

 

That quote seems to nicely encapsulate the ambience of the second book in the Nic and Nora series. Puzzled by the Clues is involved with a much more dramatic plot than its predecessor, She Overheard Murder, which I reviewed previously. This installment in the 1940’s lesbian noir mystery series follows two threads of action.

 

The first is an investigation into a suicide that Anna Owen, aunt of one of the series’ title characters, Nic Owen, strongly believes was actually a murder since it did not make any sense that the victim, an old friend of Anna’s, would take his own life. Charles Bohn worked creating crossword puzzles for the newspaper. After his untimely death, it is up to the Owen women and Nic’s girlfriend Nora to find the clue Charles left behind that could point to the real cause of his death.

 

The second plot thread involves a mysterious and sinister organization that causes mayhem at construction sites and attempts to murder not only a city official, but also Nic herself, for reasons that are not at all clear to begin with. Eventually it begins to seem as if this shady group might have had something to do with Charles Bohn’s death, for he was snooping around in their business, and the research he left behind becomes invaluable in the detectives’ investigation. But the case is not so cut-and-dried; aside from the suspicious nazi-like group he was investigating, it seems Charles Bohn had other enemies as well! The plot thickened continuously throughout, twisting and turning among Chicago’s myriad faces and conspiracies of corruption and hate, and keeping me interested while also keeping me guessing!

 

The characters were as engaging as ever. Just as in the first book, I felt a warmth for and connection with the main cast of characters, making me wish they were real people, people I could meet and with whom I could become friends. I love reading about kind and good characters with fun personalities and strong common sense. The dialogue is natural but lively, and the emotional journeys each character’s arc takes them on are realistic and at times quite relatable.

 

If you enjoyed the first book in this series, you have to read this one. I think you will love it. Puzzled can be read alone, however, and if you don’t have the time to start a new series, or if you just don’t think you will like reading a series of mysteries, then I recommend skipping the first book and at least reading Puzzled by the Clues. It has more adventure, excitement and fun packed into it and will keep you flipping the pages till you find you’ve finished it faster than you wanted and leave you hoping for the next book to be published soon!

Abigail in Lesbrary Reviews

 

 

Nic and Nora Strike Again

Jean Sheldon kept me hanging on, again, with this second historical mystery in her Nic and Nora series. The new couple find themselves waist deep in a mystery that confounded me to, up to the very end. The expert way in which Sheldon wove historical political significance with current social and political events was impressive. 

Sheldon's characters are unique but also endearingly human. Nic and Nora's relationship begins to blossom in a very organic way, in this second book. As dangerous as it is for the girls to be embedded into mystery after mystery, their relationship makes it possible for them to overcome all the challenges they face. At the same time, their standing as a lesbian couple in a time period where homosexuality was misunderstood makes their personal struggles equally fascinating. Sheldon does a great job revealing the unique worries that would accompany a same-sex relationship in her historical time period, while also revealing what has not changed in the mindset of society, after so many decades. 

Sheldon proves that she has mystery down to an art in this second book. This reader wanted a little more detailed descriptions of place and person, once in a while, but these little things did not keep me from falling in love with Nic and Nora all over again. 

If you love historical fiction and mystery, but have been yearning for something new and unique, give this series a try. You will not be sorry you did. I can't wait to get my hands on Nic and Nora's next mystery. Thanks, Jean Sheldon, for your tireless efforts in making your work polished, intriguing and smart. Elite Indie Reads

 

 

Characters are warm-hearted and likeable

Anna Owen reads of the suicide of an old friend Professor Charles Bohn and does not believe it's true. She convinces Nic to help find who murdered him. Officially, the police have closed the case but they enlist the help of their friend Detective Robert Wanjek to help along with a lot of their friends. Their investigation leads them to other crimes linked to the professor's murder, and to corrupt police and city and state officials. Now no one in their gang is safe. The book is easy to read so can be for young tween and adults. The mystery keeps you guessing on who and how many are involved. All the characters are warm-hearted and likeable. Cheryl

 

 

Good Read

Everyone from the first book is back. Relationships deepen and Nora is fleshed out more. The mystery was intriguing, with parallels to today's issues. KLH

 

 

Great Novel

I am a huge fan of murder mystery movies but I am a bit spoiled by the film industry, so I would like to add that most mystery books do not have what takes to seize my attention. One of the things that grabbed me the most about Puzzled by the Clues by Jean Sheldon, was how she masterfully developed each character while intertwining darkness and humor together in a way that never seemed as though it was being forced. Sheldon catapulted her two main characters, Nic & Nora, into in a web of political corruption, murder, but also into the intricacies of a relationship between two lesbians living in Post-World War II, Chicago. Prior to Puzzled by the Clues, I read She Overheard Murder, the first of the Nic & Nora Mystery series, and I was really concerned that the sequel would not be as good as the first novel, but this was not the case because of how Sheldon was able to assimilate historical facts from this specific time period in Chicago along with how she combined it into her fiction novel. My expectations of this book were met, if anything Puzzled by the Clues has crossed every boundary, which is what allowed this great mystery story to grow from beginning to end. If you like to read crime and detective stories, and like really good plots, then Puzzled by the Clues is perfect for you. My congratulations go out to the author for an exceptional and entertaining murder mystery. Daniel Larsen

 

Delightful!

If you love a mystery, you’ll love Puzzled by the Clues. The second book in the Nic and Nora series delivers another tale of murder, intrigue, and suspense. When family friend, Dr. John Bohn, professor and crossword puzzle creator, dies under suspicious circumstances, he leaves behind an intriguing clue. Unwilling to believe his death a suicide, Nic spearheads an investigation that becomes increasingly complicated. Then, just when you think you’ve figured it out, Sheldon delivers another clue that sets the pace for another plot twist. This book is bound to be a favorite for mystery aficionados. Alice Lynn

 

 

Highly Recommended

I just finished reading Puzzled by the Clues the second book of Nic & Nora Mystery Series, by Jean Sheldon. If you love reading a great mystery, that involves murder, intrigue and political corruption in Chicago during the post-World War II Chicago, you are in for a great treat. I highly recommend this book to all would be sleuths out there, who are looking for a story that entices their imagination while taking them back to a time period in history that surprisingly enough is still part of what’s going on around our county and the world. Time does not stand still in Puzzled by the Clues, be prepared to be involved with Nic and Nora, and the Owen gang on a masterfully written adventure. Veronica Esagui

 

 

 

 

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