Tile M for Murder by Felicia Carparelli is a cozy mystery set in Chicago.

During a bi-weekly Scrabble get together with a new group of friends, Jayne Marple is shocked when one of her guests drops dead before the last tile is played. As a retired golf pro and one half of Elsinore Detective Agency, she has time to search for the killer with her girlfriend and business partner Arnie Palmer. The killer continues to send haikus that are both dire threats and clues to a solution. Chicago PD Detective Perry Shultz can’t decide if he wants to arrest Jayne for obstruction, or work together to find the elusive killer.


Beginning with the title, there is a lot of cleverness going on in this book. There is an old noir film titled Dial M for Murder and, as with the title, there are a lot of references to older film and literary characters. Jayne Marple is an older amateur detective, Arnie Palmer, Fred and Ethyl, Nick and Noreen are some characters, and the name of the detective agency is Elsinore. Not being a Shakespeare scholar I was educated and now know that is a reference to Hamlet. This isn’t a fantasy, where no one notices the odd similarities, which I also found to be clever.

The narrator changes according to the need of the plot, so Jayne Marple isn’t the only speaker in the book. I thought this was well done, giving the story more flexibility than if it had stayed with a single narrator.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Beyond character and place names, the cleverness continues with things like making the word game Scrabble an actual character, and giving each chapter subtitle a value. The characters meet each other through a bi-weekly Scrabble game that generates a lot more competition and drama than one would expect from a word game. The theme is continued with the killer playing word games through a series of threatening haikus. I always enjoy when the author challenges the reader to keep up. Mostly I was able with this book, but other readers may also find themselves googling.

This book is a foray into a fantasy world of back biting bitchiness. I wouldn’t want to live there, but I found it a fascinating culture totally foreign to me. I chose the word fantasy because no real police detective would allow a citizen to hinder a murder investigation as much as Jayne does. But Pericles “Perry” Schultz, is a great composite of several famous detectives and easily my favorite character. There were so many characters that I found it easier to keep them straight in my head by “hearing” their voice the same as their namesake, especially with Perry, who I kept expecting to say, “Just one more thing.”

Heads Up


The Conclusion

New couple Jayne Marple and Arnie Palmer have retired from their old jobs and started a new private investigation business. During one of Jayne’s bi-weekly Scrabble games, one of the players drops dead and involves the couple and the people around them in a confusing and possibly dangerous game with the killer.

From the title to character names, this book is for people who enjoy a murder mystery starring a stable of interesting individuals set in a vibrant part of the world.

Excerpt from Tile M for Murder by Felicia Carparelli

What is the theme for tonight’s snacks?” She, like Lucia, sniffed appreciatively.

“1950s hors d’oeuvres,” Jayne said. “Deviled eggs, onion dip and chips, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and salmon mousse with Ritz crackers.”

“I am in charge of the cocktails?”

“Yes, please. Your summer bartending jobs are really paying off, pleasing this group. Do you know any appropriate cocktails?”

“Tom Collins?”

“A tad too summery,” she said, stuffing eggs with the deviled mixture, bright yellow yolks mixed with red pimento.

“Singapore sling?”

“Too pink.”


“Too predictable,” she said, and tossed Lucia a bit of bacon.

“How about a sidecar?”

“Refresh my memory about the ingredients?”

“Cognac, lemon juice and triple sec. Then a vigorous shake in the cocktail shaker.” She looked in the liquor cabinet. “You’ve got it all here. Maybe I’ll add some shaved ice.”

“Sounds good. The tart drink will balance all this gooey, dippy, mayonnaise-y food.”

“And some beer for Fred, of course.”

Jayne looked at the clock. “I’ll change my clothes,” she said and dashed into the bedroom. She emerged in minutes, tucking a chocolate-brown silk blouse into slim black trousers.

“You look great,” Arnie said, smiling. “You always do.”

“Thanks, my dear.” Jayne gave her a full body hug just as the doorbell rang.

“Ignore it,” Arnie groaned, nuzzling her neck. “Can’t,” Jayne sighed. Lucia barked, ferociously. “Damn it. I’ll get the door.”

Jayne opened the door with a big smile on her face. “Nice to see you, Fred and Ethel. Right on time.”

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-64247-512-8

Publisher: Bella Books

Felicia Carparelli Online

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Proper English by KJ Charles












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