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Jigsaw by Jerry Kennealy

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books  ISBN: 978-0-312-35475-6

Reviewed by Robin Thomas, New Mystery Reader

A rare ruby necklace created for Marie Antoinette is stolen from its current owner, Gineen Rosenberry, the “Satin Widow” of San Francisco.  Carroll Quint, entertainment critic for the San Francisco Bulletin appears to be the police’s prime suspect.  His troubles with the police mount when he begins to receive emails from someone using the alias of Thanatos, the Greek god of death, which contain cryptic clues from Alfred Hitchcock movies.  Unfortunately each of the clues is quickly linked to real murders of people that all have ties to Quint.  The police conclude that Carroll is the killer and that he is sending the emails to himself to confuse the police.  He relies on his mother, a former actress and movie buff to unravel the clues.  While the police build a case against Quint he realizes that he is being followed by a bumbling private investigator, who also winds up dead.  Quint has no choice but to solve the crimes in order to clear his name.  Joining him to solve the whodunit are a wide array of eccentric but funny characters, led by his sultry girlfriend, Terry Greco, restaurant reviewer for the Bulletin.

Jerry Kennealy has written other mystery books under the pen name James Brant.  Jigsaw is the first in the Carroll Quint mystery series.  It is not only a fun read but a very well-crafted, intricate mystery laced with wonderful Hitchcock trivia.  The secondary characters are just delightfully funny adding to the entertaining value of the novel.  One of the more memorable characters is Quint’s father who is absent until the end of the book having taken a “gig” as a lounge singer/pianist on a cruise ship, but he is fondly mentioned and missed by a wide array of female companions.  For those who have been longing for a more traditional mystery series with a nice touch of humor, Jigsaw is a must read.