Read Death on the Diagonal Online

Authors: Nero Blanc

Death on the Diagonal

Table of Contents
“Crossword buffs will welcome Nero Blanc’s
Death on the Diagonal,
in which crossword editor Belle Graham and her P.I. husband, Rosco, investigate a suspicious fire at the stables of a prominent family in Newcastle, Massachusetts. Six crossword puzzles add to the detecting fun.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Treat yourself to a pleasant diversion . . .”
—Chicago Sun-Times
Praise for the
Crossword Mysteries
Another Word for Murder
“Catnip for crossword fans.”—
Kirkus Reviews
“Combines the cerebral (six puzzles tied to nursery rhymes) with a fine investigation . . . an entertaining, robust entry in a unique series.”—
The Best Reviews
“A solid mystery featuring likeable characters that keeps you guessing to the end.”—
Roundtable Reviews
Anatomy of a Crossword
“A delight for both amateur sleuths and crossword puzzle aficionados. Blanc provides a breezy mystery set against a realistic entertainment industry background.”—
“Crossword buffs won’t want to miss
Anatomy of a Crossword

Publishers Weekly
“An engaging, cerebral who-done-it for the armchair detective.”—
Midwest Book Review
Corpus de Crossword
“Another dandy puzzler.”—
Publishers Weekly
“The well-drawn characters in
Corpus de Crossword
are people we all know . . . The mood roller-coasters from pathos to laugh-out-loud funny, and the plot twists and turns before it delivers the final punch.”—
I Love a Mystery
A Crossword to Die For
“Nero Blanc serves up six actual puzzles and one solid mystery . . . Surprising revelations and ten-dollar words abound as another body turns up, a mysterious French woman causes problems, and the couple begins to receive hints via puzzles faxed from Belize.”—
Publishers Weekly
“A Nero Blanc mystery is always fun to read . . . This book, in fact this series, is highly recommended.”—
The Crossword Connection
“Unique entertainment.”—
Bucks County (PA) Courier Times
“Another neat whodunit, along with some clever crosswords . . . Blanc builds the suspense slowly and surely, challenging the reader with a dandy puzzler.”—
Publishers Weekly
Two Down
“A snappy, well-plotted story that combines the best elements of the puzzle mystery and the village mystery . . .
Two Down
works well as an homage to Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh as the solid plot never strays from its course and features a surprising yet plausible ending.”—
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“[An] engaging crossword mystery . . . The [six puzzles] are an interactive touch that add to the problem-solving fun.”

Publishers Weekly
The Crossword Murder
“Evoe! At last puzzle fans have their revenge . . . Super sleuthing and solving for puzzle lovers and mystery fans.”
—Charles Preston, Puzzle Editor,
USA Today
“A puzzle lover’s delight . . . A touch of suspense, a pinch of romance, and a whole lot of clever word clues . . . What’s a three-letter word for this book? F-U-N.”—Earlene Fowler
“Addicts of crossword puzzles will relish
The Crossword Murder
Chicago Sun-Times
A Crossworder’s Holiday
A lethal short story collection with crosswords included—and a bonus recipe!
“Wonderful . . . Even if you’re not a puzzle fan, the characters are so likable, you will have trouble putting this book down.”

Romantic Times
A Crossworder’s Gift
Five short stories for a long winter’s night—with puzzles included!
Crossword Mysteries by Nero Blanc
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibilty for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHERS NOTE: The recipes in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the authors
Berkley Prime Crime trade edition / July 2006
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2007
Copyright © Cordelia F. Biddle and Steve Zettler writing as Nero Blanc.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the authors’ rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-0-425-21637-8
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

A Letter from Nero Blanc
Dear Friends,
Connecting writers to readers requires a special talent, and we’d like to acknowledge the many people whose savvy, humor, and insight—not to mention business acumen—have made our mysteries a success story. Each of you deserves an Author’s Appreciation Award. Lacking a suitable lexical offering, we’ll simply list you and extend a multitude of kudos from two very grateful authors.
Thank you to: Mary Alice and Richard of Mystery Lovers Bookshop; Jim at The Mystery Company; Sharon at Books & Company; Barbara and The Poisoned Pen; Creatures ’n Crooks and Lelia; Bonnie and Joe of The Black Orchid Bookshop; Augie of Centuries & Sleuths; Bruce and Turn the Page; Mystery Loves Company’s Kathy; The Mystery Bookstore’s Sheldon; Ed and Jean at M is for Mystery; Partners & Crime and Marshall; Richard at Head House Books; Joanne at Murder on the Beach; Booked for Murder’s Mary Helen; Tom of Murder Ink; Bridge Street Books’ Suzanne; Debbie at Mechanics-burg Mystery Bookshop; Angie of Voices and Visions; The Book Garden and Esther; Barry of Book’em Mysteries; Katie of Village Books; Kate at Kate’s Mystery Books; the many kind folks at Chester County Books, The Bookworm, and Baker Books; and, last but not least, Nancy of The Virginia Festival of the Book.
Getting to know you has been a delight,
Cordelia and Steve
Although his name might suggest otherwise, Moon-dog was a proven champion. He was an eight-year-old gelding, a commanding seventeen-hand Dutch Warmblood and a world-class jumper, with enough blue ribbons to fashion a debutante’s satin ball gown. He had been foaled and trained at Glen-Rosalynne Farms in Louisville, Kentucky, then sold to an Oscar-winning film director with a three-hundred-acre ranch overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, California. The film director had jumped Moon-dog—shooting schedules permitting—in every major competition from coast to coast for a solid year before he’d suddenly grown tired of the entire equestrian thing and decided to scrap one toy for another and try his hand at offshore sailing instead. He sold Moon-dog for $100,000—about a quarter of the price of the boat—to an investment banker in Newcastle, Massachusetts, a medium-sized city just to the west of Cape Cod across Buzzards Bay.
The banker bought the animal for his sixteen-year-old daughter because her primary equitation horse, a gray Thoroughbred mare by the unlikely name of Willow-whisp, had yet to finish above second—meaning the beast had yet to win the banker’s daughter a single blue ribbon. Not one! And this despite Daddy paying a trainer one hundred bucks a day, rain or shine, show or no show. Naturally the situation was both galling to the banker and a source of extreme exasperation to his daughter, Tiffany.
Both mounts, Moon-dog and Willow-whisp, were now boarded at King Wenstarin Farms, a show and breeding stable fifteen miles outside of Newcastle. It was a top-drawer place, as befitted the pricey animals residing there, but the lower stable in which the gelding and mare were housed had one disturbing complication on this particular early October evening, and that was the unmistakable presence of smoke.

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