×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Missing Piece
     

Missing Piece

5.0 1
by Antoine Bello, Helen Stevenson (Translator)
 

See All Formats & Editions

When an American billionaire and media mogul decides to revive the fortunes of the jigsaw puzzle, he sets up an International Speed Puzzle Circuit. In this new twist, players from around the world compete against the clock to solve puzzles, while millions watch on television or stadium screens. A puzzle craze sweeps the nation.
It soon becomes clear that a

Overview

When an American billionaire and media mogul decides to revive the fortunes of the jigsaw puzzle, he sets up an International Speed Puzzle Circuit. In this new twist, players from around the world compete against the clock to solve puzzles, while millions watch on television or stadium screens. A puzzle craze sweeps the nation.
It soon becomes clear that a serial killer is targeting key players on the circuit. Each of the bodies is discovered missing a limb, with only a Polaroid of a corresponding limb from another body in its place. Suspecting that the killer is putting together a macabre puzzle of his own, the authorities rush to solve the case.
Given forty-eight "pieces" of evidence—including e-mail, newspaper articles, meeting minutes, media interviews, and letters—the reader is encouraged to find the solution to this bizarre and fascinating enigma. Intriguing, ingenious, and gripping throughout, The Missing Piece is part detective novel, part puzzle, and entirely entertaining.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
BRITISH PRAISE FOR THE MISSING PIECE

"Marvelously imaginative and original."—The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"A fascinating novel, wayward and witty, full of red herrings but scrupulously fair. Far more fun than a jigsaw."—Time Out (London)

Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Bello's intricate murder mystery satirically imagines an alternate 1990s world in which spectators tired of chess and Scrabble tournaments have made jigsaw puzzle competitions the latest craze of the nerdy set. The puzzle contests, requiring a great amount of dexterity, have swept through Europe, and now developer and millionaire Charles Wallerstein, president of the American Puzzle Federation, hopes to bring the "professional puzzle circuit" to the States. As if the puzzle craze wasn't perplexing enough, a deranged madman is systematically drugging and dismembering the high-ranking competitors in these contests. But who and why? Does it have something to do with Wallerstein's rival Upton Sutter and his ultra-conservative Puzzology Society? The society has turned up its nose at the jigsaw puzzle craze in favor of comically arcane experiments like the Gleaners Project, in which one man builds a brick wall while another follows behind him and disassembles it, as Puzzology members study their work patterns and the fluctuating configurations of the half-built wall. The novel's 48 chapters consist of newspaper articles about the slayings, magazine interviews with key puzzle-world figures, minutes from meetings of puzzle societies, and other documents relevant to the case, and the reader is invited to piece together these clues. Bello's conceit is clever and amusing, though the intrigue loses steam before the end of the novel. Some readers will find the story's hermetic world exhausting and claustrophobic, but those who love brainteasers will cheer. (Apr.) Forecast: Bello's novel, which was first runner-up for France's Prix Novembre, will no doubt find fans among the Games magazine set. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An American-born Parisian's debut is a high intellectual entertainment about jigsaw-puzzles: a galloping satire that's also a murder mystery to boot. The puzzle fad comes and goes. It was huge in the Depression (when the Society of Friends of the Puzzle was founded-later to become The Puzzology Society) and it has grown big again now, in the early 1990s, a fact looked upon with scorn by the likes of Upton Sutter, the smug and pretentious president of The Puzzology Society (with its tiny- remaining handful of members). The craze is seen very differently, though, by zillionaire Charles Wallerstein, who founds what's called the JP Tour: a breakneck endeavor that pits one speed-puzzler against another, draws Super Bowl-size crowds, and makes buckets and buckets of money. While the Puzzology Society discusses subjects like the relation between puzzles and mystery novels, the significance of "the missing piece" ("The final piece is, by definition, the one that precedes the missing piece"), and mounts "equilibrium" experiments (one worker forms bricks into a wall while another follows behind, taking them apart), Wallerstein and associates scout for talent the world over and make the JP Tour, year by year, ever the more successful and intense. So you can imagine the shock when, in 1995, no fewer than five people are murdered in that many months, all of them connected with the puzzling world, and all killed in the same way, though with puzzling variations. Whodunit? Bello tells his tale in 47 "pieces" (the 48th is missing) consisting of interviews, obituaries, news items, Puzzology Society minutes, scholarly works, extracts from board meetings, etc. It's not always easy keeping straight who'swho-Bello often fleshes his characters meagerly-but nothing can compromise the brilliance of his satire here of sporting events, literary theorists, academia, Bill Gates-size fortunes, overspecialized athletes, and even anthropology. Though with some longueurs, Bello's ride is generally swift, funny, and sharp-and, speaking of sharp, a "Solution" at end discloses method, motive, and murderer.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156013376
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/17/2003
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.59(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Born in Boston to French parents, Antoine Bello lives in Paris, where he runs an Internet company. The Missing Piece, which was first runner-up for France's prestigious Prix Novembre, is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Missing Piece 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Jon_Kellerman More than 1 year ago
An impressive attempt at reinventing the crime genre.