Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr 
4/924; 368 pages
Knopf Doubleday

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr is a tale about the joy of puzzles and a young man solving a puzzle and finding himself. It is a highly recommended feel-good novel.

As a baby Clayton Stumper was left in a hatbox on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers in Bedfordshire, England. Now 25, he was raised by Fellowship founder Pippa Allsbrook, the esteemed and prolific maker of crossword puzzles, along with the other older members, all enigmatologists living together in the commune. Now Pippa has passed away, and Clayton wants to know who his birth parents were. Lucky for him, Pippa left a series of puzzles that will provide him with the answers he seeks if he can solve them.

The narrative follows dual story lines, alternating between the past, when Pippa started the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, and the present, as Clayton solves the puzzles and clues left for him. The past allows us the meet Pippa and the other members of the Fellowship before Clayton arrived. It's a look into who raised Clayton. The present follows Clayton's quest to find out who he is as an individual apart from the Fellowship.

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is a sweet-tempered, gentle, cozy tale that has pleasant, appealing characters, and many types of puzzles. The main focus of the novel are puzzles of all types and varieties. They are embedded in the novel and part of all plot threads in the narrative with the characters circling around the puzzles. The pace is slow, almost glacially at times, but if you adore puzzles and novels about finding your family, then this will be a good choice. Thanks to Knopf Doubleday for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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