Combine a crossword puzzle grid, numbers, and logic.  The result is Sudoku--a puzzle-craze now sweeping the U.S. that for decades has been popular in Japan.  Interestingly, this type of puzzle actually originated in the U.S. when Dell Magazines begain publishing puzzles called 'Number Place' in 1979.


Sudoku is the Japanese abbreviation for "the digits must remain single."

The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady
Parnell Hall.
New York : Minotaur Books, 2010.
It’s the battle of the century when Minami, the Sudoku Lady, shows up in Bakerhaven, Connecticut, to meet Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, whose sudoku books have just edged Minami’s off of the Japanese bestseller list. Before the rivals have a chance to square off, a killer strikes, and a sudoku puzzle is found at the scene of the murder. Now it’s a fight to the finish to see who can unmask the killer. Cora is eager to undo her Japanese counterpart---at least until the poor woman is arrested for murder and Cora realizes that she accidentally framed her for the crime. As if that weren’t frustrating enough, the publicity of her arrest drives Minami’s sales through the roof! Now it’s up to Cora to clear her rival’s name, get her off the bestseller list, and trap the real killer, but she’d better do it fast, before the cops find out what Cora did, and she winds up facing more jail time than Minami. Boasting an entertaining, fun-filled mystery, as well as several satisfying crossword and sudoku puzzles, the Puzzle Lady’s latest adventure makes for a rollicking good read.
The sudoku puzzle murders
Parnell Hall.
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008.
Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady (who actually couldn’t solve a crossword puzzle to save her life), is surprisingly good at sudoku, so it’s no problem when a Japanese publisher asks her to write a sudoku book. But when two Japanese publishers show up in Bakerhaven to vie for her services, Cora is a little confused. Which one did she actually sign with? Which one has the stunning geisha wife? And which one is about to be arrested for murder? The two men are archenemies and will go to great lengths to ace out each other. But would they stoop to murder? Someone is littering the town with sudoku, crossword puzzles, and dead private eyes. It’s up to Cora, with the help of her niece, Sherry, to solve the puzzle, the sudoku, and the murder, before the killer strikes again. Parnell Hall delivers another entertaining, puzzle-packed adventure with his delightfully untraditionalsleuth, featuring for the first time sudoku puzzles by New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz.
The sudoku murder : a Katie McDonald mystery
Shelley Freydont.
New York : Carroll & Graf ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2007.
Professor P. T. Avondale, proprietor of the Avondale Puzzle Museum, is found murdered at his desk, his own letter opener protruding from his neck, a half-finished sudoku puzzle in front of him. Katie McDonald, member of the Institute of Theoretical Mathematics and master puzzle-solver, has returned home to Granville, New Hampshire, only days before to save her childhood mentor's museum from being auctioned to make way for an outlet mall. Now she finds herself as curator of the museum, mentor to the professor's newest charge--a fourteen-year-old runaway--and the only one in town with the wits and determination to find the professor's killer. As Katic reacquaints herself with the museum, filled with puzzles from around the world and throughout the centuries, and searches for answers among the townspeople--plenty of whom had motives for murder--she becomes the chief of police's number-one suspect and the actual killer's number-one target. With the help of a handful of endearingly quirky allies and a clue left by the professor in his unfinished sudoku, Katie works to solve this puzzle before a ruthless killer catches her and applies his own deadly solution.
Mensa guide to solving sudoku : hundreds of puzzles plus techniques to help you crack them all
Peter Gordon ; puzzles by Frank Longo.
New York : Sterling Pub. Co., c2006.
Here it comes: a revolution in sudoku solving! This is by far the most complete guide to cracking these addictive puzzles ever produced, with tricks even the experts won't know. While most books might have a few pages of introduction before proceeding straight to the sudokus, this one covers it all: hidden pairs, naked pairs, X-wings, jellyfish, squirmbag, bivalue and bilocation graphs, turbot fish, grid coloring, and chains. Every single one is here, and much more too, including the exclusive Gordonian logic methods (Gordonian rectangles and Gordonian polygons) that will turn even the hardest puzzles into a breeze. Of course, there are hundreds of sudoku for practice. A very special addition is a reprint of the very first sudoku ever published in 1979, from "Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games" magazine!

Sudoku rules are simple.  Each puzzle is a grid with 81 squares--nine squares by nine squares.  Players must enter digits from 1 to 9 intoe each of the blank squares.  Every row must contain one of each digit.  So must column and every 3x3 square (sometimes called a region). 

Puzzles range in difficulty, but each has one and only one solution. Players spend about 10 to 30 minutes solving a puzzle.  The strategy for solving a puzzle consists of scanning, marking up, and analyzing

Sudoku puzzles can be found in books and newspapers and on websites. There are versions for cell phones, handheld devices, and personal computers.  Programs can be purchased that create customized puzzles.

Online play is becoming popular with players working alone or as part of a team.  Teams compete to complete puzzles in the least amount of time with the fewest mistakes.  Scores are recorded and tracked.  Times are compared with teams from around the world. 

Sudoku puzzles provide challenge and fun, and no math is involved.  All you have to know are the numbers 1 to 9.  Join the millions who cannot wait to successfully pit their logic and reasoning against against the latest puzzle. 

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff