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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Friday, January 6, 2012 5:06 pm
Puzzle Noir
Posted by: Bill Ott

You never know what will appear on a Booklist mail truck. Today, along with the usual 200 galleys, Donna Seaman found a jigsaw puzzle–not just any jigsaw puzzle, mind you, but a puzzle made up of pulp-era paperback covers. I wouldn’t have expected such a thing from Harlequin Books, and in fact, there are other puzzles in the series drawing on classic Harlequin romances. But I’m thrilled they chose to send us the noir version. Now, if only I had the slightest amptitude (or interest) in putting together jigsaw puzzles. I’m sad to say that the only puzzle I successfully put together was one of the U.S. map. There were 48 pieces (this was a long time ago!), and each piece was shaped exactly like a state. Then, if you needed more help, the puzzle had a bottom on which were outlined the shapes of all the states. I nailed that one with no problems, but my puzzle record since then (circa 1954) has been zero for life.

So, clearly, I need help with this one, which is why I’ve enlisted the entire Booklist staff to join in. I’ve dumped the 1,000 pieces on an empty desk in the office and have instructed the staff to stop by whenever inspiration strikes and assemble a few pieces. The early line on our chances to see this project through to completion varies dramatically, depending on who’s talking. Dan Kraus believes this could be a two-year ordeal and is worried that the desk might not be empty for that long. Ian Chipman, on the other hand, a self-professed “puzzle guy” looked it over and noted, “A thousand pieces? That’s not bad at all.” I’m encouraged. With Ian taking the lead, we might just have a chance.

Stay tuned for updates on this blog and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. The game is afoot! (If the next few issues of Booklist are late appearing, you’ll know why.)

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