Miss Maude Silver Book Titles

Now that you have read about Patricia Wentworth and her detective Miss Maude Silver let’s see how many of her book titles you can find. Good Luck!

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The Other Miss Marple

There is another female detective similar in style and nature to Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple. The other Miss Marple is Miss Maude Silver, the fictional character created by Patricia Wentworth. She appears in 32 classic whodunit crime novels in a traditional style of mysteries similar to Agatha Christie.

Patricia Wentworth introduced her character in the novel Grey Mask in 1928. That was before Agatha Christie wrote Murder at the Vicarage in 1930, where she presented her little old lady sleuth. However, Miss Marple appeared in a short story in 1926. Let’s take a closer look at our two lady sleuths.

They are avid knitters who use their craft to provide a sense of comfort to those affected by the crime and a means of allowing their minds to digest the information discovered.

While they are of a similar age, there is one significant difference. Miss Marple lives a quiet life and inadvertently finds crimes that need solving. She relies on her knowledge of village life and her nosy nature to identify clues.

After she retired as a teacher and governess, Miss Maude Silver became a professional detective. Clients hire her to solve cases, and the income from her work provides a comfortable life for her.

Police view Miss Marple as an interfering busybody when she engages in her sleuthing. Later after many successful solutions, she finally earns the respect of the police inspectors.

Miss Silver has a different working relationship with the police. The police often use Maude to get close to the potential victims and suspects since they often have limited access to the local social scene. When she’s working on a case, Miss Silver keeps the police informed, usually Ernest Lamb, a chief investigator, or Randal March, the county’s chief constable, where many of Miss Silver’s cases occur.

Miss Marple often relies on village residents and their activities to provide similarities for solving the current case. Miss Maud Silver quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson’s writings for her inspiration. The police are often lost as to how this information relates to the present case but quickly learn if they rely on the ladies, all will become clear.

Patricia Wentworth Bio

Patricia Wentworth (1878-1961) created Miss Maud Silver. She started publishing in 1910 and introduced Miss Silver, the character that brought her fame in the 1920s.

Dora Amy Turnbull (Wentworth) was born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India, to her father, General Edmond Elles, and her mother, Lady Clare Elles. She received a private education and later attended London’s Blackheath High School for Girls.

She married Lt. Col. George Frederick Horace Dillon. They had one daughter, and she was the stepmother to his three sons. Two of the sons died in World War I. Wentworth was the middle name of one of the sons who died, and she adopted that as her pen name. After the death of her first husband, she married Lt. Col. George Oliver Turnbull in 1920.

In addition to Miss Silver’s mysteries, she wrote 34 other books. She won the Melrose Prize in 1910 for her first novel, A Marriage Under the Terror, set during the French Revolution. Dora Amy Turnbull died on January 28, 1961, at age 83.

Miss Silver Books-Grey Mask (Book 10)

Miss Maud Silver is a minor character in the first book Grey Mask. She is not contacted to help with the solution of the case until much later in the book. Instead, the story focuses on the main character, Charles Moray, who has returned home after being jilted at the altar four years earlier.

He is staying at a London hotel while he decides what to do with the childhood home he has inherited. During a nighttime visit, he hears voices in the supposedly empty house. Moray uses a secret closet with a peephole he used as a child to spy on the gathering.

He witnesses a mysterious meeting led by a man in a grey mask. As other visitors arrive, they are greeted only by a number rather than a name. He’s about to call the police when the last attendee enters the room. It’s his ex-fiancé, Margaret, who has brought documents to the grey mask.

The members of the secret meeting are discussing a plot to steal an inheritance from a young girl, Margot Standing. Instead of going to the police, Moray turns to Miss Silver for advice.

“Miss Silver sat in front of a pad of pink blotting paper. She was a little person with no features, no complexion, and a great deal of tidy mouse-colored hair done in a large bun at the back of her head. She inclined her head slightly but did not offer to shake hands.”

The story shifts from Moray and Margaret to Margot. Margot is a naïve girl whose father has died without a will, and her birthright is questionable. She runs away to avoid an unwanted marriage to a cousin who has inherited the family fortune and, in a contrived coincidence, runs into Margaret. By the end of the story, Miss Silver solves the mystery. Moray reestablished his relationship with Margret, Margaret faces events in her past, and Margot regains her fortune.

Books-Miss Silver Comes to Stay (Book 16)

No sooner does Miss Silver arrive in a quiet English Village when a murder occurs. James Lessiter has also recently arrived in the village after a twenty-year absence. He is extremely wealthy and has now inherited his mother’s extensive property in the town. Rather than settling into village life, he embarks on settling scores with village residents.

He accuses Catherine Lee of selling items he claims were on loan from his mother. He broke up with Rietta Cray quite unexpectedly many years ago. Now he wants to renter and control her life. These two women are not the only ones impacted by his return. Several others do not mourn the departure of Lessiter when he is murdered.

With a full list of suspects, Miss Silver begins her interviews and observations and methodically assembles the puzzle pieces. And as always, she is there, not to compete but to help the local police force. “If she comes in on the case, the police come out of it in a blaze of glory.”

The Miss Silver Plots

Miss Silver books have a group of suspects with a motive for murder and alibis that don’t always hold up. She must sort through all the facts to determine the real killer. And typical of Golden Age mysteries, there are plenty of red herrings to stump the reader. As in the two examples above, most books concern a young couple who cannot proceed with their romance until the murder is solved.

Miss Silver is nearly an invisible player in the stories. When she enters the story, she knows what leads to follow and what questions to ask to trap the suspect. She keeps the police informed and manages to be in the right spot when important events occur.

The solution always relies on Miss Silver’s uncanny abilities. “She has the most extraordinary flair. No, it’s something more than that. She knows people. All the things they hide behind, appearance, manner, the show we all put up to prevent other people from knowing too much about us. She sees right through them and judges you on what’s left.”

In Summary

While the books have similar plots, each one is a good read. And for readers who like a series, there are 32 books to devour. All are available from Amazon in both print and audiobook versions.

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Authors from Past Blogs Word Search- Solution

Wasn’t it great remembering all those great authors? I hope you found all the words, but if you need a little help, the answer is below.

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Authors from Past Blogs Word Search

Over several blogs, many authors were discussed. Here’s an opportunity to remember the authors by finding them in this word search.

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Books for Your Listening Pleasure Crossword-Solution

Here is the solution for the Books for Your Listening Pleasure crossword puzzle. I hope you’ve had the opportunity to complete the puzzle and find some audiobooks you would like to enjoy.

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Books for Your Listening Pleasure Crossword

Here is your final puzzle concerning Books for Your Listening Pleasure. If you get stuck you will find most of the answers in the blog of the same title. Good Luck!

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Books for Your Listening Pleasure Word Search-solution

Here is the follow-up to Books for Your Listening Pleasure Word Search. I’m sure you found all the titles, but in case you want to double-check, the solution is below.

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Books for Your Listening Pleasure Word Search

Below are the titles mentioned in the blog “Books for Your Listening Pleasure.” Remember, there is a separate word search for the Cherringham Mystery series.

So have fun finding all the great titles waiting for you to enjoy.

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Books for Your Listening Pleasure

During COVID, like many people, I was zooming my way through life. After a day of looking at a computer screen, my eyes needed a rest. Rather than reading, I found listening to audiobooks was an excellent alternative for enjoying my favorite titles. And at the end of long days when sleep can often be elusive, I set the timer on my reader and listened to an audiobook as I drifted off to peaceful sleep.

That’s why I called this blog “What I’m Listening To.” All the series listed below are available in print, but you might want to try the audio version.


The Lady Hardcastle Mystery Series

 by TE Kinsey, Read by Elizabeth Knowelden

In the opening book (A quiet Life in the Country), we meet Lady Emily Hardcastle (Lady H). After many adventures, she decides to leave London in 1908 with her maid Florence (Flo) Armstrong for the quiet of country life in Gloucestershire in the village of Littleton Cotterell.

On their first walk, as they enjoy the beautiful landscape surrounding their village, they discover a body hanging from a tree. The local police are anxious to solve the crime and make a quick arrest. But Lady H is sure they’ve arrested the wrong person. She brings her crime-solving skills to the case and starts making inquiries.

Flo has skills of her own, including precision knife throwing learned from her circus family, kicks that disarm assailants taught to her by a monk, and a mean right hook.

As they set out to solve the crime, they need to learn more about the villagers. One of Lady H’s sources of village information is Lady Gertie Farley-Stroud, who knew Emily’s mother. Gertie lives with her husband, Lord Hector, the local landowner of The Grange. Flo relies on her friend Daisy who works at the local pub, The Dog and Duck, for her village gossip.

These were Edwardian times, and there were social rules to follow. Lady H ignores one of them and treats Flo as an equal. Flo eats with Lady H and often accompanies her to social functions. However, her title remains Lady’s Maid versus Companion. This title allows her to snoop “below stairs” and interact with other servants from various wealthy families. The servants discuss information about the homeowners and their activities, which often provide clues.

With each additional book, we learn more about Lady Hardcastle. After the murder of her husband in Shanghai, Lady H and Flo have to escape through China. Her husband worked for the Foreign Service, and the Chinese suspected him of being a spy. In a later book, we learn Lady H was the actual spy. Her brother Harry also works for the Foreign Service and asks for his sister’s help with several cases.

The book provides lots of entertainment in the banter between Lady H and Flo, like when Lady H refers to Flo as “tiny servant person” and Flo calls Lady H “aging employer.” Aside from the lighthearted approach, don’t be fooled. There is a good solid mystery that needs solving.

The narrator’s skill makes an audiobook enjoyable, and Elizabeth Knowelden brings these books to life.

A Quiet Life in the Country (1)

In the Market for Murder (2)

Death Around the Bend (3)

A Picture of Murder (4)

The Burning Issue of the Day (5)

Death Beside the Seaside (6)

The Fatal Flying Affair (7)

Rotten to the Core (8)


Bunburry-A Cosy Mystery Series

by Helena Marchmont, Read by Nathaniel Parker

We first meet our main character, Alfie McAlister, in Murder at The Mousetrap. He has left London to recover from the loss of his girlfriend. As fate would have it, he has inherited a cottage in Bunburry and a snappy classic blue Jaguar from his late Aunt Augusta Lytton.

He spent summers and holidays in Bunburry with his grandparents. After they are tragically killed in an auto accident, he has not been back. Now, his new cottage provides the perfect escape. In addition to the material rewards, Aunt Augusta’s past provides another mystery for Alfie to solve.

In Bunburry, Alfie meets two elderly friends of Aunt Augusta. Marge Redwood and Liz Hopkins are the executors of his aunt’s estate. The friends who live together have a business of making “the best fudge in the Cotswolds.” After working with Alfie to solve their first crime, the three form the “Bunburry triangle,” known to the villagers as the local crime-solving team.

When Alfie left London, he also left behind his best friend Oscar de Linnet, who fashions his personality after Oscar Wilde. Alfie wonders if his friend is not a reincarnation of the famous author, especially when he compliments his stylish wardrobe with a green carnation just like Mr. Wilde.

And Helen Marchmont treats the reader to Oscar Wilde quotes in each book. The first quote applies to Alfie’s move to Bunburry. “Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.” There may not be temptations, but there seems to be plenty of murders for Alfie and the ladies to solve.

While Oscar prefers London to the country, Alfie keeps him informed of village life, the people, and the current crime he is solving. Bunburry village life also has its share of delightful characters.

In addition to Liz and Marge, we have Marge’s niece Police Constable Emily Hollis. The ladies secretly hope that Emily and Alfie will eventually get together. There is Police Sergeant Wilson who treats Emily shamefully but loathes Alfie even more.

William, his mother, Edith, and his wife, Carlotta, manage the local pub, which is a source of good food, village information, and gossip.

Betty Thorndike, daughter of a famous fashion model, is a green activist and a minor love interest for Alfie. He works to clear her of murder in a Taste for Murder.

Debbie Crawshaw, who owns Deb’s Beauty Salon, needs help when a wealthy customer is discovered dead in the locked salon in Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Bunburry vicar, Philip Brown, must explain a mysterious stranger and his silence when accused of murder in Sinners and Saints.

In Deadlier than Fiction, Alfie enjoys volunteering in the Bunburry community library. The library is home away from home for eleven-year-old Noah, an Agatha Christie fan who sees murder around every corner but also has an uncanny ability to spot clues.

We meet two new characters, Tara Davies and Sumi Chong, who are refurbishing a local mansion into an upscale hotel in Murder at the Magnolia Inn, to mention a few characters and plots.

After a featured role in a particular story, many characters continue to weave in and out of other adventures.

And if the murders don’t provide enough intrigue, there’s a subplot as Alfie searches to learn more about the father who abandoned him and his mother. In Lost and Found, the story takes a new path as Alfie discovers more information about his past.

Nathaniel Parker, whom many mystery fans will recognize as Inspector Lynley from the PBS series, does a beautiful job narrating the books.

  • Murder at the Mousetrap (2018)
  • A Murderous Ride (2018)
  • A Taste of Murder (2018)
  • Death of a Ladies’ Man (2019)
  • Drop Dead, Gorgeous (2019
  • Murder in High Places (2019)
  • Sweet Revenge (2020)
  • Sheep Secrets (2020)
  • Deadlier than Fiction (2020)
  • Sinners and Saints (2021)
  • Murder at the Magnolia Inn (2021)
  • Poison Ivy (2021)
  • Lost and Found (2022)
  • When Night Falls (2022)


Cherringham- A Cozy Crime Series

By Neil Richards and Matthew Costello, Read by Neil Dudgeon

Jack Brennan is a retired ex-cop from New York, seeking a simple life in Cherringham, living on a Dutch barge called the Grey Goose on the river Thames. Sarah Edwards is a single mom raising two children, Chloe and Daniel. She has returned to her home village and started a web design business. But their lives are anything but quiet as the two team up to solve mysteries in this sleepy English village.

This unusual duo combines Jack’s old-school professional police work with Sarah’s amateur sleuthing using her internet skills.

They first meet when the body of one of Sarah’s friends is discovered in the river, and her death is ruled an accident. Sarah doesn’t believe it and starts to ask questions of potential witnesses, including Jack. Initially, Jack is not interested in helping, but soon his police instincts kick in, and he joins forces with Sarah, and the partnership begins.

Amazing how many crimes occur in this small English village to keep our sleuths engaged. And whether they are raising a pint at the local pub, The Ploughman, or having a fancy dinner at the Spotted Pig, they are often faced with interviewing their neighbors and friends as they uncover clues and look for the solution to the crime.

As the series progresses, Jack and Sarah have established their reputation as competent crime solvers. Now the villagers seek them out to solve problems. Even the local police constable has come to recognize they are an asset in helping him close cases.

Although Sarah is raising two children and could use the additional dollars, the couple does not charge a fee. Based on the client’s circumstances, they might suggest contributing to a charity that needs some financial help.

Listeners will recognize the narrator, Neil Dudgeon, who plays John Barnaby on the popular Midsomer Murder Series. He has the perfect voice for charming the listeners of the Cherringham series.

Jack is an American, Sarah is English in the stories, and the co-authors bring the same experience to the stories. Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (living in the US) have been writing together since the mid-’90s.

For a list of the over forty Cherringham titles, check the Word Search Puzzle in another blog.

Note: Both the Bunburry and the Cherringham series books are usually under 20 chapters. It makes it easy to complete the book within a few sessions.


Beryl and Edwina Mysteries

By Jessica Ellicott, Read by Barbara Rosenblatt

This is my favorite audiobook series from the ones I recommend in this blog.

Edwina has lived comfortably in the village of Walmsley Parva for over three decades. But due to taxes after her mother’s death and changes in investment income, Edwina finds herself in a difficult financial situation. She decides one solution is to rent a room.

She can’t be happier when her old school chum and American adventuress, Beryl, appears at her home, The Beeches, and announces she would like to be her roommate.

To help Edwina save face with the local merchants about overdue accounts, Beryl implies that Edwina has requested her presence to help solve a case. Soon after Beryl’s comment, there is a murder, and the ladies discover they’re good at finding clues and solving the murder.

After their first case, they begin a business as Private Inquiry Agents. Local constable Doris Gibbs doesn’t initially welcome their interference, but she begins to respect their skill as more cases are solved.

In addition to Beryl and Edwina, the stories have many interesting characters, including their elderly gardener Simpkins. He starts as a part-time gardener and ends up as a silent partner in the business when he unexpectedly inherits a fortune.

Beryl Helliwell and Edwina Davenport are the odd couple of the 1920s. I enjoy the banter between them as they approach situations from the British and American perspectives.

Throughout the books, the reader gets glimpses of the ladies’ early days together and their current likes and dislikes. Beryl arrives in a sporty red car that she won in a card game and loves to take “the old bus” for a good country run that includes pushing the speed limit. Although Edwina eventually learns to drive, she prefers walking or riding her bicycle around the village.

When a challenging situation arises, Edwina turns to a cup of strong tea while Beryl reaches for the cocktail shaker. In another incident, Beryl dons old clothes to help the housekeeper do the annual housecleaning. Edwina must intercede and soothe the feelings of the housekeeper, who sees the offer of help from Beryl as an insult to her ability to perform her duties. Fortunately, the ladies have a new case to solve, and Edwina and Beryl leave the housekeeper to her tasks while they do what they do best — solve murders.

It is good fun to see the prim and proper Edwina, the adventuress, and boisterous Beryl interact with each other and English customs. And there seem to be multiple murders and cases for the ladies to solve in the idyllic English countryside.

Another reason I enjoyed listening to the Edwina and Beryl series is the narrator, Barbara Rosenblatt. She is a delightful talent whose many voices bring the characters to life.

  • Murder in an English Village (2017)
  • Murder Flies the Coop (2018)
  • Murder Cuts the Mustard (2019)
  • Murder Comes to Call (2020)
  • Murder in an English Glade (2021)
  • Murder Through the English Post (2022)

And I hope there are many more to come in this series.

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Cherringham A Cozy Crime Series Titles Word Search Solution

There’s nothing better than a series you enjoy with many offerings. The nice thing about the Cherringham series is the forty-two titles listed below for your listening pleasure, with more to come. In case you had trouble locating these titles, check this solution.

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Cherringham A Cozy Crime Series Titles Word Search

During COVID, like many people, I was zooming and computing my way through life. After a day of looking at a computer screen rather than reading a book, I found listening to audiobooks was an excellent alternative for enjoying my favorite titles.

One of the series I enjoyed listening to was the Cherringham Cozy Mystery Series by Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US). Titles for the series are listed below. Look for the capitalized word in the puzzle.

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Sherlock Holmes Crossword #2 – Soultion

This puzzle was a little more challenging than previous crosswords since not all the answers were in the blog. However, I know you had no problems with the solution because of your knowledge of Sherlock Holmes. In case you want to check your answers, the key is below.

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Sherlock Holmes Crossword #2

We’ve featured a blog on Sherlock Holmes and his use of forensics plus a couple of word search puzzles listing the various story tiles in the last few months.  Below is a crossword puzzle to close out the blog series. Many of the answers are in the blog, but some test your Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock knowledge. Have fun!

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Sherlock Holmes and the Science of Forensics

Note: Spoiler alert. Since Sherlock uses forensics to solve the crimes in the stories featured in this blog, it isn’t easy to discuss these elements without, in some cases giving away the solution.

Sherlock Holmes drew his crime solutions from his observations and logical deductions. His use of forensics often backed up these conclusions. And while the forensics sited in the stories may be in their early stages of development, they added a fascinating feature.

Sherlock Holmes periodically references the various monographs he has written on particular forensic subjects in the stories. A monograph is a scholarly paper on a single topic for those unfamiliar with the term.

The analysis of fingerprints, serology (blood serum), ciphers, trace evidence, footprints, and even typewriters was mentioned by Arthur Conan Doyle long before the police force used them.

Arthur Conan Doyle credits much of Holmes’s knowledge and passion for forensics to his professor at Edinburgh College surgeon, Dr. Joseph Bell.

Let’s take a look at some of the forensics employed by Sherlock Holmes.

Blood Work

In the first Holmes story, Watson has returned from Afghanistan wounded and possessing limited funds. He runs into an old friend, Stamford, who indicates he might have a way to help him with his finances. Another acquaintance, Sherlock Holmes, is looking for a roommate to share expenses.

They meet Holmes in the St. Bartholomew Hospital lab, where he is working on a chemical experiment with hemoglobin that will help the police identify criminals through blood droplets.

“A man is suspected of a crime months perhaps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or mud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what are they? That is the question which has puzzled many an expert., and why? Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes test, and there will no longer be any difficulty.”                                                                                                                                                                           A Study in Scarlet

Later in the story, Watson has moved in with Sherlock at Baker Street. He is reading an article about the science of Deduction and Analysis. The article states:

 “By a man’s fingernails, by his coat-sleeves, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuffs… a man’s calling is plainly revealed.”

Upon finishing the article, Watson remarks, “What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the magazine down on the table, “I never read such rubbish in my life.”

Holmes reveals he is the author of the piece.

Tobacco Ash

Sherlock is considered an expert in the study of cigar ash and wrote a monograph entitled Upon the Distinction Between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos.

“I have made a special study of cigar ashes–in fact, I have written a monograph upon the subject. I flatter myself that I can distinguish at a glance the ash of any known brand either of cigar or of tobacco.”                                                                  A Study in Scarlet

In “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-nez,” Holmes is called in by Scotland Yard to investigate the murder of Willoughby Smith, a young man working for the elderly bed-ridden Professor Coram. Upon arriving at the scene, Holmes first checks the path leading to and from the house for footprints. Holmes suspects the murderer may not have left the house.

After meeting Professor Coram, a chain smoker, Holmes begins smoking the professor’s specially prepared cigarettes from Alexandria. Holmes is smoking so many cigarettes that the professor comments Holmes smokes more than himself, and Watson questions Holmes’s actions.

“Have you a clue,” I asked at last.“It depends upon those cigarettes that I smoked,” said he. “It’s possible that I am utterly mistaken. The cigarettes will show me.”

Later we learn that Holmes was smoking the cigarettes because he deliberately left a trail of ashes on the floor to help him determine where the killer was hiding.

I, therefore, smoked a great number of those excellent cigarettes and dropped the ash all over the space in front of the suspected bookcase.

The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez


In “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” Holmes and Watson are summoned by Lestrade to Herefordshire. The murder of a wealthy landowner has occurred, and his son is the prime suspect. Holmes’s footprint analysis is the main factor for solving the case. The crime scene in the Sherlock spots Lestrade’s footprints and others. He can distinguish the differences between them and admonishes Lestrade for the condition of the crime scene.

That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place… Oh, and how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Another Holmes story that relies on footprints is “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.” In this story, Holmes shares with the reader that he has retired to Sussex and is spending time with a new friend, Harold Stackhouse. They are taking a walk when a young man approaches them from the lake, partially dressed with whiplash-type wounds on his back. Before they can help him, he dies, and Holmes is no longer retired but on the case.

I walked slowly down the path. There was clay or soft marl mixed with chalk, and every here and there, I saw the same footstep, both ascending and descending. No one else had gone down to the beach by this track that morning.

The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane


Holmes also published a monograph on tracing footprints, and it includes information on using plaster of Paris as a means to capture the impression before it is lost.


Note: The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, indicating the father, was also published as the Reigate Squires to include the son. Later, it was published as The Reigate Puzzle, Arthur Conan Doyle’s original working title.

There has been a longstanding dispute over ownership of estate lands between the Actons and the Cunninghams. While Holmes is resting at the estate of Colonel Hayter, a friend of Watson, he learns of a burglary at the nearby Acton estate. They also learn a butler, William Kirwan, is murdered at another estate. One clue is a torn piece of paper found in William’s hand.

“It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise, your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated. Now, in this case, there was not the slightest doubt in my mind from the first that the key of the whole matter must be looked for in the scrap of paper in the dead man’s hand.”

By analyzing the note, Holmes determined it was written by two different men—one older and one younger.

You may not be aware that the deduction of a man’s age from his writing is one that has been brought to considerable accuracy by experts.

Holmes also deduces that other characteristics show that the two writers of the note are related.

There is something common between these hands. They belong to men who are blood relatives. It may be most obvious to you in the Greek e’s, but to me, there are several other points that indicate the same thing. I have no doubt at all that a family mannerism can be traced in these two specimens of writing.

The Reigate Puzzle

The commonality in the writing samples allows Holmes to solve the murder and the case.


In “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder,” Holmes is engaged by John Hector McFarlane, a young lawyer. Jonas Oldacre, a builder, has contacted McFarlane to write a new will that makes him the sole beneficiary. He creates the document and then travels to his benefactor’s home with the papers. When he leaves the builder, he is alive and well.

The following day, McFarlane reads about the builder’s murder and the burning of his body. McFarlane realizes he is the prime suspect and asks Holmes to prove his innocence.

Holmes determines a wax seal from a document was covered with some of the builder’s blood and pressed onto the wall to incriminate McFarlane.

“But how in the world did you know that he was in the house at all?” The thumb-mark, Lestrade. You said it was final, and so it was, in a very different sense. I knew it had not been there the day before. I pay a good deal of attention to matters of detail, as you may have observed, and I had examined the hall and was sure the wall was clear. Therefore, it had been put on during the night.”         The Adventure of the Norwood Builder


The “Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” begins with Sherlock Holmes using a microscope to examine glue found on the cap next to a murdered policeman. The existence of the glue implicates a gentleman who makes picture frames.

Sherlock Holmes had been bending for a long time over a low-power microscope. Now he straightened himself up and looked around at me in triumph.“It is glue, Watson,” said he . . . “Those hairs are threads from a tweed coat. The irregular grey masses are dust. There are epithelial scales on the left. Those brown blobs in the centre are undoubtedly glue . . . Since I ran down that coiner by the zinc and copper fillings in the seam of his cuff, they [Scotland Yard] have begun to realize the importance of the microscope.”

The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place

However, the actual crime in this story is not solved by the microscope or other forensic evidence because there is little tangible evidence. Head trainer John Mason from Shoscombe Old Place, a racing stable in Berkshire, comes to Holmes about his master, Sir Robert Norberton. Mason thinks he has gone mad. Sir Robert’s sister, Lady Beatrice Falder, owns Shoscombe, but it will revert to her late husband’s brother when she dies.

The stable has a horse, Shoscombe Prince, who Sir Robert hopes will win the Derby. He would be out of debt before the transfer of the estate. This case is solved not by forensics but by a dog that does not recognize its owner.

Note: This is the last of the Sherlock Holmes short stories published only three years before Arthur Conan Doyle’s death. He’s buried with his second wife, Jean, in Minstead, Hampshire. The inscription on his gravestone reads: “Steel true, Blade Straight.”


Miss Mary Sutherland asks Holmes and Watson to find her fiancé, Hosmer Angel. He has disappeared on the very morning of their wedding. Miss Sutherland, while she lives with her mother and her mother’s second husband, James Windibank, she supports herself with interest from an inheritance which she gives her mother and Windibank for her living expenses. Holmes notes that Miss Sutherland has received only typewritten letters from Angel with no signature.

“It is a curious thing,” remarked Holmes. “that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man’s handwriting. Unless they are quite new, no two of them write exactly alike. Some of the letters get more worn than others, and some wear only on one side… in every case there is some slurring over the ‘e,’ and a slight defection the tail of the ‘f.’ There are fourteen other characteristics to which I have alluded are there as well.”

A Case of Identity

It becomes evident that the letters from the suitor Mr. Hosmer Angel and the note from the stepfather James Windibank were all written on the same typewriter. Holmes comments during his disclosure that based on his intensive study of the typewriter; he had entertained writing a monograph on the subject.


I am fairly familiar with all forms of secret writings and am myself the author of a trifling monograph upon the subject, in which I analyze one hundred and sixty separate ciphers.

The Adventure of the Dancing Men

“The Adventure of the Dancing Men” begins when Holmes is sent a note from Mr. Hilton Cubitt, a simple country squire. The message contains a series of stick figures representing several letters and chalk drawings left for his American wife, Elsie. The notes frightened Elsie, but she does not share their meaning with her husband. Holmes takes on the case and breaks the code.

For two hours, I watched him as he covered sheets after sheet of paper with figures and letters, so completely absorbed in his task that he had evidently forgotten my presence. Sometimes he was making progress and whistled and sang at his work; sometimes he was puzzled, and would sit for long spells with a furrowed brow and a vacant eye. Finally he sprang from his chair with a cry of satisfaction, and walked up and down the room rubbing his hands together.

Later Holmes explains how he broke the code and sent a message to a nearby farm to lure the criminal to the estate where murder and a shooting occurred.

“Having once recognized, however, that the symbols stood for letters, and having applied the rules which guide us in all forms of secret writings, the solution was easy enough…

As you are aware, E is the most common letter in the English alphabet, and it predominates to so marked an extent that even in a short sentence, one would expect to find it most often.

It occurred to me that if these appeals came, as I expected, from someone who had been intimate with the lady in her early life, a combination which contained two E’s with three letters between might very well stand for the name ‘ELSIE.’

The Science and Use of Forensics

 In so many of the stories, Holmes uses multiple methods for solving the crime. It’s his observations that others often miss. Then Holmes takes the clues and applies the logic of deduction and forensics science. This combination of techniques allows him to put everything together to solve the crime.

“And the murderer?” Is a tall man, left-handed, limps with the right leg, wears thick-soled shooting boots and a gray cloak, smokes Indian cigars, uses a cigar holder, and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket.”

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Dr. Watson sums up Sherlock’s forensics and science to solve crimes.

You have brought detection as near an exact science as it will ever be brought in this world.

A Study in Scarlett

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Sherlock Holmes- Titles #2- Solution

Here’s the solution to Sherlock Holmes Title #2. Hope you had fun with the Word Search

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Sherlock Holmes Story Titles #2

Here is the second of our Word Searches of Sherlock Holmes Titles.

The 56 short stories mentioned below are collected in five books:

  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes(1892)
  2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes(1894)
  3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes(1905)
  4. His Last Bow(1917)
  5. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes(1927)

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Sherlock Holmes Titles #1 Solution

In case you need to check your puzzle IQ, here are the answers for Sherlock Holmes Titles Puzzle #1.

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Sherlock Holmes Story Titles #1

The 56 short stories of Sherlock Holmes are collected in five books. We will look at two of them in this puzzle and the other three books in a different Wordsearch puzzle.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) features12 stories published in The Strand between July 1891 and June 1892. These stories had original drawings by Sidney Paget.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893–94) contains 12 stories published in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures between December 1892 and December 1893 featuring Sidney Paget l illustrations. Doyle included The Adventure of the Cardboard Box separate from The Strand collection.






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Firearms in Mysteries – Word Search – Solution

I always like to include the solution in case you had trouble finding any of the words. However, since you are a mystery blog expert, I’m sure you found them all.

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Firearms in Mysteries – Word Search

So often we read a mystery where a particular firearm is mentioned. Below you will find a list of different firearms including both pistols and rifles. Remember to look for the capitalized words.

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Mysterious Cats Word Search – Soultion

Here is the solution for the Mysterious Cats Word Search. Although I have no doubts that you found all the answers.

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Mysterious Cats Word Search

I hope you enjoyed reading the cat blog in the previous post. Now you can test your skills by searching for words related to our feline friends. Find the words listed with capital letters.

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Cats in Mysteries

I’ve noticed that today’s cozy mystery book covers often feature a cat as part of the art. Many times, the cat pictured is there for decoration and does not play a role in the story. In other books, the cat may be the feline companion of the principal character, and in some stories the cat is an integral part of helping the detective solve the crime.

The frequency of cats on the covers got me thinking about the history of our fury companions, and also some of my favorite movies and books that have a cat in the story.

History of the Cat

When cat fossils were first discovered, it was difficult to determine specific species or origins. The only distinguishing characteristic was a slight difference in size. But with the development of DNA research in 2006, scientists had additional information to help establish origins.

From this research, scientists believed a cat that lived in Asia traveled to North America by the Bering land bridge and then returned to Asia. Each time the cat migrated, a new species developed and one of these new species became the common house cat. Many experts believe Felis libyca, an African wildcat, is the original ancestor of our domestic cats.

Originally, researchers thought the cat’s domestication was about 4000 years old and part of the ancient Egyptian culture. More recent research shows cats lived near Chinese farmers some 5300 years ago. These farming villages attracted the cats because of rodents and other small animals living in the area. This was a mutually beneficial relationship as the farmers didn’t have to deal with pest control and the cats had a ready source of food.

In the Middle Ages, the fate of the cat changed from being a respected hunter to one of persecution. During this time, many people believed that witches and black cats formed alliances. This alliance allowed the witches to transform themselves into a cat so they could cast spells without their victims being aware.

Settlers brought these same beliefs to America. When an unexplained event or death occurred, people believed the devil, using witchcraft, was responsible. The result was the era of the Salem Witch trials.

After such a negative beginning in America, it took many decades for the cat to elevate its status beyond superstitions. Today, cats enjoy the number two spot as the most popular pet in America behind the dog. Even though cats are in second place in pet popularity, they can take comfort in knowing their cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex than in dogs. Cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs.

Cat Superstitions

The Black Cat

There are many superstitions associated with black cats. As mentioned above, written documentation supports the superstition between black cats, witches and witchcraft.  Not only black cats, all cats are nocturnal and people believed they roamed freely during the dark hours doing mischief.

Throughout early 13th century Europe until the 17th century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, they killed black cats along with those charged as witches. Black cats continue as icons of anything related to witchcraft, especially during the Halloween season.

 Do Black Cats Bring Bad Luck?

Do black cats signal death? In medieval times, they believed that any animal with black fur or feathers, including ravens and crows, signaled death. Several countries believed if they found a black cat on a sick person’s bed, death was imminent. And if they spotted a black cat during a funeral procession, another family member would pass away within a short period.

Medieval times were not the only era with cat superstitions. Even today many people still believe it’s bad luck if a black cat crosses your path or you spot one walking away from you. But it’s good luck if a white cat walks towards you or crosses in front of you.

Black Cats Aren’t all Bad Luck

While Americans associate black cats with bad luck, other cultures find black cats a source of good luck.

Sailors believed a black cat on a ship could be lucky. If the cat walked on and stayed on the ship, it meant good luck. Although, if the cat walked on and then off again, it was a sign that the ship would sink. Wives of fishermen often kept a black cat at home as good luck charms to help the sailor make a safe return.

In Japan, black cats and all cats are symbols of good fortune and prosperity. The Japanese Maneki Neko cat statue, which can be black or white, sits inside almost all businesses. It raises one paw to wave in good fortune. Also, many young, single women in Japan own black cats, because they believe it will bring them many suitors.

Do Cats have 9 lives?

One of the best-known superstitions is that cats possess nine lives. We may base this myth on the cat’s ability to leap and make safe landings that would normally injure other animals. The association with witches who could turn themselves into other creatures and bring them back from the dead may also have added to this belief.


Cats on the big screen

There are many examples of cats in the movies starting with the early monster flicks like The Black Cat starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. And who can forget Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s white Persian cat in the James Bond movies, or Cat Woman as the thorn in Batman’s side, or the interesting scenes created by Crookshanks, Hermione Granger’s pet cat, in the Harry Potter movies.

There are many choices, but I’m going to focus on two of my favorite movies where cats play a significant role and reinforce the supernatural element of the feline.

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is a movie which exemplifies the witch trials and the use of a cat for casting spells. Young Thackery Binx sees his young sister, Emily, captured by witches. The witches are trying to regain their youth, but in the process, they kill Emily. They also cast a spell on Thackery, condemning him to an immortal life as a black cat named Binx. The movie follows the return of the Sanderson sisters—Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, who play the witches executed in the 17th century.

The plot focuses on a group of local teens, trying to eliminate the witches, break the curse on Binx and reunite him with his sister during a series of Halloween events.

Bell, Book and Candle

In the movie Bell, Book, and Candle, Gillian, played by Kim Novak is a witch who uses her cat, Pyewhacket, to cast spells. This includes casting a spell on Shepherd, Jimmy Stewart, so he will fall in love with her. We get an inside look at the world of witches and warlocks as Shepherd attempts to reverse Gillian’s spell. We learn that when Gillian falls in love; she loses her powers as a witch, and her formerly faithful cat leaves as he can no longer help her with spells.

Besides Novak and Stewart, the movie has a wonderful supporting cast which includes Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Janice Rule, Hermione Gingold, and Elsa Lancaster


Mystery Books with Cats

There are many books available with a feline assistant, so it was difficult to select just four. However, these four examples, all series, feature cats in different ways.

Lilian Jackson Braun, The Cat Who… Series

It’s hard to discuss any series with a cat without first mentioning Lilian Jackson Braun. I might add this was my first blog for this website highlighting this remarkable author.

The series features former city crime reporter Jim Qwilleran, with his large moustache, his baseball cap and his two Siamese cats, Kao K’o-Kung (nicknamed Koko) and Koko’s companion, Yum Yum.

In later books, this unlikely trio leaves the city and shares a converted old apple barn in the town of Pickax in Moose County, which readers learn is located 400 miles north of everywhere. And like the residents of Pickax, I looked forward to Qwilleran’s Qwill Pen column in the Moose Something newspaper.

While Qwilleran was the chief character in the stories, most readers knew the actual hero of the series was Koko. Koko had a “sixth sense” which enabled him to assist Qwill in solving mysteries. This special cat knew in advance when something dire was about to happen. Koko not only predicted the future, but aided Qwilleran, usually by knocking a book off a shelf, to the clues that would help him solve the crime.

This is one of the most famous long-running cozy mystery series begun in 1966 with The Cat Who Read Backwards and continued for twenty-nine mystery novels and three related collections. Ms. Braun was still writing at the time of her death at 97. This should also be an inspiration to all writers: it’s never too late to write a story. 

Miranda James Offers A Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series 

 This was a new read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this series featuring librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. Unlike the cat series with Qwill and Koko, Charlie and Diesel aren’t a crime-solving team. Diesel has no special powers, but he seems to understand what his owner says and offers comfort to others. He’s Charlie’s best friend, which makes these books a fun read.

Charlie Harris is a librarian who gets involved with solving murders in the small town of Athena, Mississippi. He lives in his deceased Aunt Dottie’s house and rents out rooms to college students. Charlie, is a retired widower who spends his time working at the Athena College library in the books and archives department, and volunteering at the local public library.

The first mystery, Murder Past Due, involves one of Charlie’s borders, a first-year student Justin Wardslaw, who unwittingly becomes mixed up with the murder of a local author. While James writes several mystery series, he currently has twelve additional books in the Cat in the Stack group.

Rita Mae Brown and the Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series

My third pick is the long-running book series by Rita Mae Brown featuring tiger cat Mrs. Murphy and her companion, Tee Tucker, a corgi and a fat grey cat named, Pewter.

The stories feature postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen, and her pets solving a series of murders occurring in the town of Crozet, Virginia. As postmistress, Harry knows everyone in the town and she’s not afraid to ask questions as she tries to solve the crime. However, the reader soon learns that her pets are usually one step ahead of her and try to lead her in the right direction for the solution.

We get to read the story from both the human and the animal’s perspective as each follows a path to uncover the clues and the suspects. The first book in the series created in 1990 is Wish You Were Here, followed by 28 additional Mrs. Murphy books. One additional fact, we are told that another cat named Sneaky Pie Brown is the actual author of the books.

H.Y. Hanna Offers the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries

I started this series with the audiobook version. I found these books a great way to end the day with a bedtime story listening to narrator Pearl Hewitt’s lovely English accent.

The series features Gemma Rose, owner of a tearoom and her somewhat naughty tabby cat, Muesli. Gemma earned her degree at Oxford and the reader learns about the various colleges and the traditions the institution follows, along with visits to the surrounding Cotswolds villages.

Although Gemma runs the Little Stables Tearoom featuring traditional English treats, what’s not so traditional are the dead bodies that keep turning up. Helping her solve all the murders is boyfriend Devlin O’Connor—CID detective, four elderly patrons known as the Old Biddies, her best friend Cassie and of course Muesli.

Gemma calls Muesli naughty because of his nature for constantly getting into things and straying away from Gemma to do his own snooping. However, most of his antics lead to a clue that helps advance the solution. Muesli is also very protective of Gemma and on more than one occasion has leaped to her rescue.

Cats in Mystery Books Wrap-up

With these examples, we have four different roles for our feline helpers. Koko provides a sixth sense to help Qwill solve the crimes in Lilian Jackson Braun, the Cat Who… series. In the Cat in the Stack series, Diesel is a pleasant companion to Charlie and a comfort to those caught in the current crime. With our third example, the reader relies on Mrs. Murphy and Tee Tucker to help guide Harry and the reader towards the correct solution. And our final feline assistant, Muesli, helps find clues while protecting his owner.

If you are a fan of cats or you just want to read a good mystery, check out these four authors along with the many other mystery books with a cat in the story.

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Saint Book Titles #2- solution

Here’s the solution for Saint Book Titles #2. Hopefully, you don’t need the cheat sheet.

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Take the Spirit of Murder – Faraday Murder Series Book #4

Baffling incidents, ghostly sightings, and murder confront Carrie and Charles Faraday in the latest entry in my cozy mystery series. I’d like to tell you a bit about the plot. But don’t worry, I’ve been very careful not to give away the ending.


Carrie and Charles Faraday are looking forward to a much-needed vacation in this fourth book in the Faraday Murder Series.

The couple married late in life, but since their marriage, they’ve solved three murders. They met while searching for the murderer of Charles’s brother Jamie in Take a Dive for Murder. Then Carrie faced charges for the murder of the playboy son of a prominent family in Take Stock in Murder, and last summer the couple solved a murder that involved her father’s computer company in Take a Byte Out of Murder. Now they’re ready for some relaxation and are trying to decide where to go on vacation.

While selecting reading material to take on their holiday, they get an unusual invitation from the owners of the Tri-County bookstore, sisters Maddy Luther and Marge Millford. The sisters’ family owns a century old country inn, Millford Manor, with a rich history in the northern part of the state.

Perhaps because of all the history, Manor guests have always reported seeing fleeting apparitions. These include a Civil War soldier in uniform and a woman in fifties style dress dancing through the hallways. There are also unexplained sounds of music and mysterious voices.

The sisters report these previously friendly spirits are now causing problems. Guests are being told to “get out,” property is being destroyed, and reservations and event bookings are falling. The incidents are having a financial impact on the Manor’s bottom line. The sisters implore the couple to spend their vacation at Millford Manor to see if they can discover who or what is behind all these negative events.

Carrie and Charles consider Maddy and Marge good friends and feel like they want to help. The sisters, unlike other members of the Nottingham community, were supportive when the police charged Carrie with murder.

The couple decides this is a perfect situation for them. They can enjoy a holiday at Millford Manor and have the challenge of an intriguing puzzle to solve. They will be undercover with Carrie posing as a writer hired by the family to create a new marketing brochure. This will give her access to all the behind the scene locations.

Based on the original advertising brochure the sisters showed them, the couple assumed the inn was an oversized bed-and-breakfast. They are both shocked and pleasantly surprised to find that Millford Manor is a large resort with several restaurants and multiple amenities. They’re hoping they can find a quick solution to the unwanted activity and then enjoy their holiday.

The couple starts their investigation by meeting the cousins of Maddy and Marge, who handle the day-to-day management: Beatrice, Albert and Elizabeth (Lizzie) and also Albert’s son, Ryan. They learn from them the incidents continue to escalate. This unwanted activity is happening while the Manor is in the middle of a massive construction project to add a conference center and other buildings to the property.

Carrie and Charles have barely started their investigation when there’s a murder. The killing of Ken Harvey, the hotel’s event manager, changes everything. Was Ken part of the problem, or was he murdered because he uncovered the reason for the plot against the family?

While trying to solve the murder, Carrie is also experiencing some of the ghostly activity guests have reported. She believes she has encountered Roxie, the murdered girlfriend of the former Manor manager and family member, Bernie Millford. Carrie can’t explain what she’s seeing, and Charles is sure there must be a reasonable explanation. Surely ghosts aren’t causing Millford Manor’s problems, but how do they explain Carrie’s experiences.

The pressure is on the Faradays to solve the crime and save the hotel before someone else dies. Carrie and Charles must use all their sleuthing skills to uncover clues and suspects, both human and ghostly. Not until a final deadly confrontation are the culprits revealed and the problems for Millford Manor solved.

Take the Spirit of Murder

ISBN Numbers for the print book: 978-1-7346234-0-6

ISBN Number for the eBook: 978-1-7346234-1-3

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-the-spirit-of-murder-millie-mack/1138455910?ean=9781734623406

Amazon: (Use this link for Amazon) https://tinyurl.com/y5r4m3v8

Check out all the books in the Faraday Murder Series

Take a Dive for Murder 

Take Stock in Murder

Take a Byte Out of Murder



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Methods of Murder #4 – Word Search – Solution

Here’s the solution for Methods of Murder #4 in case you need a little help. Although I’m sure you found all the words, since you’re a mystery expert.

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Methods of Murder #4 – Word Search

There seems to be no limited to the number of methods for taking a person’s life. Here is another list of methods for you to discover in the word search below. Look for the words in capital letters to solve the puzzle.

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Mystery Shows #5 Word Search – Solution

Here is the solution in case you want to check your answers for the latest in Mystery Shows.

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Mystery Shows #5 Word Search

It’s been a while since we offered a word search with a list of the latest mystery shows. And the good news is there is a wonderful selection of shows available on cable as well as the streaming channels. Remember, to search for the capitalized words.

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Leslie Charteris – The Saint Titles #2

Below is the second Word Search of Saint Titles. Leslie Charteris wrote nearly 100 Saint novels, so there were plenty of choices for the puzzle. Be aware sometimes you are looking for the French and not the English title. Have Fun!

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