Reviews: The Sudoku Murder

Starred Review.
" Given the current popularity of sudoku puzzles, a mystery incorporating the game was due. Katie McDonald leaves her job at a Washington think tank to return to her small New Hampshire town to help her old friend and mentor, professor P.T. Avondale, save his puzzle museum. But he is found murdered lying on his desk with a half-finished sudoku puzzle. Someone wants the old Victorian house that also functioned as the professor's museum. Now Katie must find his killer and rescue the museum where she spent the best days of her unhappy childhood. In this captivating series debut, Freydont, author of the Linda Haggerty mystery series, introduces a new sleuthing heroine with plenty of spunk. Think Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady novels when looking for a read-a-like. For cozy and puzzle fans. Freydont lives in Ridgewood, NJ."
--Library Journal


"This intriguing first in a new series from Freydont (A Merry Little Murder and four other mysteries featuring dancer Linda Haggerty) introduces mathematician and Sudoku whiz Katie McDonald. Katie, a self-professed geek who works for a hush-hush government think tank, returns to her hometown of Granville, N.H., at the behest of her former mentor, P.T. Avondale. Katie is shocked to find Avondale frail and preoccupied, his beloved puzzle museum in serious disrepair and dire financial straits. Before Katie can make sense of the situation, she discovers Avondale murdered in his office—slumped over an unfinished Sudoku puzzle that may provide a clue to the killer's identity. She tops the brash new police chief's suspect list and decides to solve the case on her own, not only to clear her name but to save the Avondale museum from the wrecking ball. Readers will want to see a lot more of the intelligent and endearing Katie."
--Publishers Weekly


"Mathematician and puzzle master Katie McDonald takes some time off from her job at the Institute of Theoretical Mathematics to return to her hometown and help her mentor try to save the Avondale Puzzle Museum. When Katie finds her friend dead at his desk, she becomes the de facto curator of the museum and chief suspect in the professor's murder. Solving the unfinished Sudoku puzzle that the deceased was working on becomes the key to proving Katie's innocence. Entertaining fare for mystery-reading Sudoku addicts."
-- Barbara Bibel, BookList


"A puzzling case indeed: Professor P.T. Avondale is found dead at his desk in the Avondale Puzzle Museum. The curator and founder of the unique facility was in the middle of a high stakes struggle to keep his museum from being torn down to make way for a new mall. Avondale's protégé , Katie McDonald, has returned to New Hampshire from her job in Washington , D.C. , in order to help her mentor save the museum. Unfortunately, after his untimely death, she heads the list of suspects. Katie's reputation as being the class geek is dredged up as the mathematician employed by the Institute of Theoretical Mathematics becomes reacquainted with some of her former classmates. Relying on her analytical mind and the half-finished Sudoku puzzle Avondale was working on a the time of his death, Katie works feverishly to not only clear her own name but also find her friend's murderer. The closer she gets to solving the mystery, the more precarious her position becomes, since her name has been penciled in as the killer's next victim. Although Shelley Freydont doesn't challenge the reader to take an active hand in unraveling the case the way Parnell Hall does in the Puzzle Lady series, there are plenty of quirky elements in this caper. As one would expect, the contents of the puzzle museum play a pivotal part in solving the mystery but the reader won't have to match wits with the author. As she's done in her previous novels, Freydont (who also writes under the pseudonym Gemma Bruce) adds a little romantic tension between her brainy heroine and the local police chief. The first in what is projected to be a new series for Freydont, this initial Katie McDonald mystery will appeal to many readers. Where Katie's relationship with Chief Brandon Mitchell goes will probably be of as much interest as the next application of her considerable cerebral skills."
- Bob Walch


5 Angels
"Katie McDonald is a brilliant mathematician who works for a secret government think tank until, the man who introduced Katie to the love of puzzles writes and ask for her help. Katie immediately heads back to her hometown to help the Professor with his problem. But before Katie can get a handle on how the Professor managed to lose his puzzle museum’s money, and the last three mortgage payments, he is murdered. Can Katie solve her friend’s murder and save the puzzle museum or will the new Chief of Police have her in jail for the murder or at least for interfering in his investigation?

The Sudoku Murder is the first of this new mystery series by Shelley Freydont and I think it will become a favorite of mine. The heroine is spunky, brilliant, and even though she finds it difficult to fit in with her neighbors she still cares about them. Her Aunt Pru on the other hand is interfering and annoying and I would move back to Washington, if I were Katie, just to stay away from her constant trying to set Katie up with men she deems as “stable.” And then don’t forget the hardnosed, stubborn new Police Chief, Brandon Mitchell, who seems determined to believe Katie is responsible for many of the problems in her little hometown and maybe even a murder. And there are a slew of other interesting and humorous secondary characters to add charm to the story. Katie doesn’t spend all of her time working Sudoku puzzles either and even if you don’t enjoy doing the puzzles yourself you will still enjoy the intriguing mystery. If you love Sudoku puzzles there are a number you can solve sprinkled throughout the book and of course part of the solution to the mystery comes from a Sudoku puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed this charming new mystery series and can’t wait to read the second book!"
--Stephanie B., Fallen Angel Reviews


"Puzzles…puzzles….and puzzles, galore. Any puzzle lover will be very interested in this book. Puzzles not your thing? Then this definitely won’t be up your alley.

This is the first in a new series from Ms. Freydont. Our main character is Katie McDonald – a mathematician and, you guessed it, a Sudoku puzzle whiz who just happens to work for the government. After being asked by a former mentor to help him rescue his beloved puzzle museum from developers who want to bring a mall to town, Katie rushes back to her home in Granville, New Hampshire. She wants with all her heart to save the treasured museum. And who can blame her? Aren’t there enough malls already?

Another character I just loved was Katie’s, Aunt Pru. A strong woman who loves Katie to death, but wants to see her ‘married off’ to a nice man. As dedicated to puzzles as Katie is – Aunt Pru is just as dedicated to her job of matchmaker. We are also introduced to a new police chief in Granville. A new man to the area, he has a very hard time making friends with anyone. Hmmm. Maybe he likes puzzles?
Intelligent and endearing spring to mind in describing Katie McDonald. And, again if you’re into puzzles and the world of questions and answers – this is most definitely your thing. In addition to the story, the author includes Sudoku puzzles to solve. (I, myself, am a crossword puzzle fan so Sudoku is not really my cup of tea), but I know those brainiacs are out there just waiting for a book dedicated to their favorite game. This is it. Enjoy."
--Mary Lignor,


"I’ve never been bitten by the Sudoku bug, but must say this is one of the most fascinating cozy mysteries I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Shelley Freydont sets up the characters, locale, and storyline with the precision of a natural gamer. There are surprises, large and small, forcing Katie to make some life altering decisions. THE SUDOKU MURDER is a pleasant and entertaining way to spend a few enjoyable hours with sharp, believable characters."
--Betty Cox,


"THE SUDOKU MURDER is an expertly crafted whodunit with heart. Katie is an inspiring heroine, as she grows into her predestined role in life. The sexual tension between her and the Chief has the reader silently screaming, "Oh, for Pete's sake, get a room, will ya?" Shelley Freydont writes with a sense of humor and a brisk plot. Her characterization of Katie's hometown is smack dab on, and the sweetness of the murdered professor permeates the entire novel. We'll look forward to more Katie!"
--Shelley Glodowski, Senior Reviewer


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The Sudoku Murder