Parnell Hall is the author of the Puzzle Lady crossword puzzle mysteries, set in the fictitious town of Bakerhaven, Connecticut. Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, has a nationally syndicated crossword puzzle column, but couldn't construct a puzzle if her life depended on it. Her niece Sherry Carter writes the column for her. The much married Miss Felton is much happier solving crime. She made her debut in 1999 in A CLUE FOR THE PUZZLE LADY, and has since romped through LAST PUZZLE & TESTAMENT, PUZZLED TO DEATH, and A PUZZLE IN A PEAR TREE, WITH THIS PUZZLE, I THEE KILL, AND A PUZZLE TO DIE ON, and STALKING THE PUZZLE LADY. Cora is herself a suspect in YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN PUZZLED.
Though poor at words, Cora proves most adept at numbers in THE SUDOKU PUZZLE MURDERS. New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz constructed the sudoku puzzles that help solve the mystery.
As research for the Puzzle Lady books, Parnell competed in the National Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Connecticut, where out of a field of 254 contestants he finished 250th, just ahead of the four people who failed to turn in a paper. Parnell composed the puzzles for his earlier books. He now has them created by New York Times constructor Manny Nosowsky, and edited by National Tournament winner Ellen Ripstein.
Parnell also writes the Stanley Hastings mystery novels, and the Steve Winslow courtroom dramas. His first novel, DETECTIVE, was nominated for an Edgar award by the Mystery Writers of America, and a Shamus award by the Private Eye Writers of America. His tenth Stanley Hastings novel, MOVIE, was nominated for a Shamus award for Best Private Eye Novel of 1995, and for a Lefty for the funniest mystery novel of 1995. Recently, Stanley and his wife Alice vacationed at a New England bed-and-breakfast in COZY, a takeoff on that subset of the genre; the book is full of recipes and the cat solves the crime. Stanley returned to the mean streets of Manhattan in MANSLAUGHTER and HITMAN.
Parnell worked for two years as a private detective in New York City. His experiences form the basis for his Stanley Hastings series. He has no courtroom experience, however, and owes his Steve Winslow series to a childhood spent reading Erle Stanley Gardner.
Parnell is an actor, who has done summer stock and regional theater, and appeared in a number of movies, including Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie, Hercules in New York (in which he appeared clad in a leopard skin) and A New Leaf with Elaine May and Walter Matthau.
Parnell is a member of the Writers Guild of America East with several screenplays to his credit, including the underground horror movie C.H.U.D., which has been satirized on Saturday Night Live, the Simpsons, Pushing Daisies, The Dailey Show, and The Colbert Report.
Parnell's career as a professional songwriter began at the age of sixteen, when Pete Seeger sang The Literacy Test Song on the Folkways album, Gazette, Volume 2. Parnell has performed his songs at several mystery conventions, including the Edgar Awards, Magna Cum Murder, Malice Domestic, and the Bouchercon. This year he is performing The Ballad of Alferd Packard,
a song celebrating Denver's most famous cannibal, at the Left Coast Crime banquet.
Parnell Hall is a former President of the Private Eye Writers of America, and a member of Sisters in Crime. He lives in New York City.