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Nero Blanc: The Perfect Crossword Puzzle Mysteries to Keep Your Sleuthing Skills Sharp While Under Quarantine

These delightful crossword cozies are packed with word games that you can actually solve!

Our days in quarantine continue, and many of us are feeling restless and stir-crazy. Of course, there are plenty of things to do—good mystery board games to play and mystery movies to watch—to keep us occupied during social distancing. Yet as the days drag on, you may be in search of thrilling reads that will keep your sleuthing skills sharp. So why not shake things up by cracking open Nero Blanc's engaging cozy crossword puzzle mysteries?

Related: 11 Puzzle Mysteries That Will Positively Perplex You

The Crossword Mysteries series follows crossword editor Belle Graham and her private investigator husband, Rosco Polycrates. Word puzzles play an integral role in the narratives; each book includes solvable crossword puzzles, available as downloadable PDFs, that ties into the mystery at hand. As Belle and Rosco solve mysteries on the page, you can jump into your own collection of puzzles and feel like you’re part of the action!

The incorporation of crossword puzzles stems from the genuine affection the author has for the word games—or should we say, authors. Nero Blanc is a pseudonym for husband and wife writing team, Steve Zettler and Cordelia Frances Biddle. Fascinated by the prospect of writing collaboratively, the couple devised their alias by using “Nero,” the Italian word for black, and “Blanc,” the French word for white. Black and white: the familiar color scheme of crossword puzzles. 

Related: 10 Mystery Book Series to Dive Into Right Now

In addition to the Crossword Mysteries they produce together, Steve Zettler and Cordelia Frances Biddle pen their own individual mysteries in distinct styles. Zettler is known for his more maturely themed international thrillers. Thus far he’s published two books in the Joe Bradlee series, The Second Man and Double Identity. Zettler has also written the novel Ronin, which was based on the Robert de Niro film of the same name, and Piece of Cake—both of which are available to read for free on the author's website.

Cordelia Frances Biddle is a force of nature in the historical mystery genre. She’s best known for her Martha Beale series, which sets out to explore the economic divide during the tumultuous times of 1840s Philadelphia. Readers may also be interested in her debut novel Beneath the Wind, centered on imperialism in 1903, or her keenly detailed recount of a Gilded Age luminary in Saint Katharine: The Life of Katharine Drexel.

Related: Historical Mystery Master Cordelia Frances Biddle’s Greatest Inspirations

Together, Zettler and Biddle have developed a unique and charming mystery series that can be read in any order. For the best of the best, check out our favorite Nero Blanc mysteries below—and get your pen ready. 

Buy Corpus de Crossword at Amazon

Corpus de Crossword

By Nero Blanc

When a developer buys an iconic homestead in a Massachusetts hamlet, the residents are outraged. But construction drags to a halt when the skeleton of a woman is discovered buried on the grounds. When Belle Graham and her P.I. husband are hired to figure out the whos and whys of this Jane Doe murder, they quickly find that the locals aren’t too keen to share info with outsiders. But when this mystery grows into arson and double homicide, Belle and Rosco may be in more danger than they bargained for.

Related: Spanning Decades: 10 Historical Mystery Books

Corpus de Crossword

By Nero Blanc

Buy Another Word for Murder at Amazon

Another Word for Murder

By Nero Blanc

Belle is on a delightful stroll with her new friend Kate Tacete when everything goes wrong. Kate’s husband, a beloved dentist, vanishes, and in his place is an ominous ransom note. Belle and Rosco hop on the case, but soon a simple kidnapping escalates to murder. Could the key to the whole thing be in the strange nursery rhyme-themed crosswords Belle has been receiving?

Related: 11 New Cozy Mysteries to Crack Open This Fall

Another Word for Murder

By Nero Blanc

Buy Death on the Diagonal at Amazon

Death on the Diagonal

By Nero Blanc

The trouble starts when Belle hears from the Evening Crier’s gossip columnist that one of the stables at King Wenstarin Farms has been burned to the ground. The property belongs to the Collins family, known for their past in prohibition bootlegging. The 74-year old patriarch is married to a much younger woman, and the rest of the family is bogged down by infighting. But what will Belle and Rosco discover about the case when a suspected arson turns to a brutal murder?

Death on the Diagonal

By Nero Blanc

Buy The Crossword Connection at Amazon

The Crossword Connection

By Nero Blanc

When a dead homeless man is discovered in an alley, what may typically be brushed off as a victim of a turf war turns into an investigation into a sinister developer plot. Rosco and Belle are hired to track down the recently adopted dog of the John Doe—an assignment that takes up much needed time in the lead up to the couple’s nuptials. But when a second murder rocks the town, it puts things into perspective. When Rosco suddenly goes missing himself, it’s up to Belle to follow the clues before he becomes the next murder victim.

Related: 9 Fun and Quirky Whodunits by Female Mystery Authors

The Crossword Connection

By Nero Blanc

Buy A Crossworder's Delight at Amazon

A Crossworder's Delight

By Nero Blanc

During The Holiday Decoration Competition, Belle discovers an old treasure—a crossword formatted book of recipes passed on from mother to daughter. But as Belle sets out to crack the secrets of delicious treats, a valuable poem has been stolen from the Paul Revere Inn. When Rosco is called in to investigate, he finds himself gaining the aid of the clever 12-year-old E.T. Whitman. As the three sleuths dig deeper into the case, they find themselves getting close to a long-forgotten truth.

Related: A Killer Countdown: 12 New Year’s Eve Mysteries to End Your Year With a Bang

A Crossworder's Delight

By Nero Blanc

Published on 24 Apr 2020

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