The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr #review

Book cover of The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers by Samuel Burr

Today’s book review is of The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, the debut novel by Samuel Burr. Read on to find out what I thought…

Title: The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers
Samuel Burr
Publisher: Orion Books


An extraordinary, gloriously uplifting novel about the power of friendship and the puzzling ties that bind us

Clayton Stumper might be twenty-six years old, but he dresses like your grandpa and drinks sherry like your aunt. Abandoned at birth on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, he was raised by a group of eccentric enigmatologists and now finds himself among the last survivors of a fading institution.

When the esteemed crossword compiler and main maternal presence in Clayton’s life, Pippa Allsbrook, passes away, she bestows her final puzzle on him: a promise to reveal the mystery of his parentage and prepare him for life beyond the walls of the commune. As Clay begins to unpick the clues, he uncovers something even the Fellowship have never been able to solve—and it’s a secret that has the potential to change everything.

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My review:

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is a fun, engaging and surprisingly cosy read, packed with clues, a bit of mystery, and some wonderful characters.

The novel is split across two timelines: the present day, when Clayton Stumper sets out to find out who his birth parents are following the death of his adoptive mother Pippa; and many years ago as Pippa starts up ‘The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers’, which goes on to become such an integral part of many of its members’ lives. In the past timeline, we see how the fellowship became established and what led to the day when Clayton was left outside for Pippa in a hatbox – but left by who? This puzzle is what occupies Clayton as he sets out to follow the clues Pippa has left for him to solve after her death, in true puzzlemaker’s style!

There’s plenty of character development in both timelines, as we see not only Pippa, but her friends and Clayton, develop new friendships and relationships, and find out what’s really important to them. There’s such a wide range of eccentric but loveable people in this novel that I would have happily read much more about them.

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is a sweet novel that offers some wonderful escapism – and a good few puzzles at the start of each chapter to solve! And what an impressive debut novel too!

My rating: 4/5

Many thanks to the publisher, Orion Books, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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