ďFill me in, Nora. A dope-buying
professor, a group of Nazi sympathizers, this is way beyond Chicago
politics as usual.Ē
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 1940ís 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 seriesí title characters, Nic
Owen, strongly believes was actually a murder since it did not make any
sense that the victim, an old friend of Annaís, 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 Nicís 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 Bohnís death, for he was snooping around in their business,
and the research he left behind becomes invaluable in the detectivesí
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 Chicagoís myriad faces and conspiracies of
corruption and hate, and keeping me interested while also keeping me
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
characterís arc takes them on are realistic and at times quite
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 donít have the time to start a new
series, or if you just donít 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 youíve
finished it faster than you wanted and leave you hoping for the next
book to be published soon!
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
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
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
Characters are warm-hearted and
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
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.
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.
If you love a mystery, youíll
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 youíve 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.
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 whatís 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.