capsule review

James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet

There's a murderer loose in San Francisco. Thank goodness three smart women are on the case: detective Lindsay Boxer, forensics expert Claire Washburn, and hotshot crime reporter Cindy Thomas. In James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet you switch between the three characters as you move through the interactive mystery, finding clues and solving puzzles along the way.

Moody background music complements the beautiful graphics. There's no action in this game, in which you find hidden objects and solve puzzles to collect evidence and eventually solve the mystery. The little animation there is takes the form of special effects like whirring fans or interactive computer displays within the game.

I tried out the 60-minute demo and was able to complete the first investigation and move on to the second (there are nine in all). Even in that time, however, I came across similar puzzles, which could become monotonous. Luckily, you can skip puzzles and continue with the game if you wish. The game is relatively easy to figure out, and the well-designed Help page tells you everything you need to know on one screen.

A word about the game download: It's huge. Our link takes you to the Big Fish Games site, where you download a small installer. Click on that installer and you're asked to create an account with Big Fish Games in order to proceed--then the 74MB download begins. On my relatively slow connection it took almost an hour to download the file. In addition to the 60-minute trial program, the executable installs a separate Big Fish Games client and puts a link to the Big Fish Games site on your desktop.

The pricing also bears mention: On its own, the game is $20. However, discounted pricing is available: $10 gets you two downloads from Big Fish Games, $8 gets you six, and so on. Big Fish Games offers what looks like hundreds of high-quality games in dozens of categories--including children's. If you play PC games at all, the volume discounts are worth considering.

If you enjoy a good murder mystery and like solving puzzles, check out James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet. It's well worth the lengthy download.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet

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