Monday, October 31, 2005

New Monthly Mystery Book Contest

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has introduced a new monthly mystery book contest where you can enter to win a free mystery book signed by the author. This month's mystery book is To the Nines by Janet Evanovich. One entry per person or e-mail address, please.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to enter this contest as well as check out the other features on the website: mystery book reviews, mystery trivia, new hardcover mystery titles, mystery bestsellers, mystery author and publisher links, and more!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

St. Martin's Press Mystery Book Contest Winners

The winners of the annual St. Martin's Press first mystery contest for Best Traditional Mystery and Best Private Eye Novel have been added to the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. The mystery book awards list also currently includes winners of the Edgar, the Agatha, the Anthony, the Shamus, the Macavity, and the Hammett.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (10/28/2005)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending October 28, 2005 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Featured Mystery: Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olsen

To honor Sara Freed, the former editor-in-chief of Mysterious Press who died last year, the Time Warner Book Group has established the Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award for a first mystery novel. Sacred Cows, an Annie Seymour mystery by Karen E. Olsen, was the first winner of this award.

After a late night on the town, New Haven police reporter Annie Seymour is yanked from her bed by an early morning phone call from her editor. Soon she's shivering on a wet, dark city street, staring down at the once beautiful, now broken, body of a Yale University coed.
Paid to observe and get just the facts before writing up her stories for the New Haven Herald, Annie finds herself drawn to the story of an Ivy League sophomore whose secret moonlighting led to her violent murder. But after Annie links the girl's death to a network of vice and fraud buried deep in the city's shadows, the cynical reporter is shocked to discover her own mother is involved.

With help from a sexy private investigator, Annie investigates but stumbles upon one obstacle after another. Her cop lover stonewalls her, her editor pulls her off the assignment to cover a surreal parade of fiberglass cows grazing throughout the city, and an overeager cub reporter nips at her heels to get the scoop for himself.

Caught in the center of a treacherous scheme, Annie must take the biggest gamble of her career-outwit a dangerous con man to uncover the truth that could win her that elusive Pulitzer…or a mention in the next day's obituary.

Sacred Cows is featured as one of the new mystery titles for September 2005 on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mystery Book Contests

Several publishers of mystery books offer contests or sweepstakes that you can enter to win. For example, Time Warner offers its "Deadly Web" monthly contest while Bantam Dell frequently includes sweepstakes for mystery books in its monthly newsletter.

There are also websites that feature contests and sweepstakes related to writing in general and often mysteries in particular. BookLoons, Writers Digest, and Writerspace each sponsor a variety of contests.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides links to each of these mystery book contest sites. Links are updated monthly. If you would like a website added to this list, please e-mail the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books with the details.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Author Profile: Elizabeth Peters

Elizabeth Peters is the author of the popular Amelia Peabody mysteries (as well as the Jacqueline Kirby mysteries, and the Vicky Bliss mysteries). Her website provides a wealth of information about Amelia as well as informative maps and timelines related to her books.

Elizabeth Peters (whose real name is Barbara Mertz) was born and brought up in Illinois and earned her Ph. D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute. She was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Awards in 1998. She lives in a historic farmhouse in western Maryland. She also writes non-series fiction under the pen name of Barbara Michaels.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books carries many hardcover first editions of Elizabeth Peters' books. Visit Amazon.com to find all of our featured author's works.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mystery Trivia Questions

Here are this month's mystery trivia questions from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books:

Annie Darling is proprietor of a mystery bookshop in a series by Carolyn Hart. What is the name of this bookshop?

This bookshop is located on fictional Broward’s Rock, a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina. Broward’s Rock is believed to be patterned after what real island?

See the answers to these questions as well as previous month's mystery trivia questions and answers at the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Featured Mystery: Jamaica Me Dead by Bob Morris

Today's featured mystery from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books is Jamaica Me Dead, published by St. Martin's Press.

It's the first game of the football season at Florida Field and Monk DeVane, one of Zack Chasteen's former Dolphins teammates, invites Zack and his girlfriend to a halftime party in one of the stadium's exclusive skyboxes. But they arrive to chaos--there's a bomb under the chair of Darcy Whitehall, Monk DeVane's boss and the rakish Jamaican owner of Libido, a chain of anything-goes Caribbean resorts.

The device under Whitehall's chair turns out to be a dud, but someone is putting the squeeze on Darcy Whitehall, and Monk DeVane enlists Zack to come to Jamaica to help protect his employer. But when Zack arrives at the airport in Montego Bay, Monk goes to retrieve his van and is blown to pieces--this time the bomb was no dud. For Zack, this trip has become more than a job. Now it's personal.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books for other new mystery titles published in October 2005.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mystery Book Awards - Lists of Winners

A list of mystery book award winners is available on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

These awards include:

The Edgar Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America;
The Agatha Award, presented by Malice Domestic Ltd.;
The Anthony Award, presented at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention;
The Macavity Award, presented by Mystery Readers International;
The Shamus Award, presented by the Private Eye Writers of America; and
The Hammett Prize, presented by the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (10/21/2005)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending October 21, 2005 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mystery Book Review: The Next Ex by Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richard's second Madeline Carter mystery is scheduled for release in December 2005. An advance reading copy was reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently; its review is republished below:

Title: The Next Ex
Author: Linda L. Richards
Publisher: Mira Books (Paperback Original)
Publication Date: December 2005
ISBN: 0-7783-2240-0
Series Character(s): Madeline Carter
Entry in Series: Second

On a chilly winter afternoon, start a fire in the fireplace, open a bottle of wine, curl up in an easy chair, and be prepared to thoroughly enjoy Linda L. Richards’ second Madeline Carter mystery, The Next Ex.

Former stockbroker and current day-trader Madeline Carter is offered the opportunity to teach the latest wife of powerful Hollywood producer Maxi Livingston the ins and outs of the stock market as quid pro quo for some upgrades to her living quarters. Madeline unexpectedly finds Keesia, the current Mrs. Livingston, to be as smart as she is beautiful, and the two soon become fast friends. When Madeline finds Keesia murdered at her own A-list party, one in which several of the previous Mrs. Livingston’s were also in attendance, she begins to wonder if there was some thing more to Keesia’s interest in the stock market. As Madeline sets out to investigate Keesia’s murder, it isn’t long before several of Maxi Livingston’s ex-wives are found dead, though how the murders are related is a mystery. And for reasons she doesn’t understand, Madeline finds herself the target of a ruthless killer.

The plot here is generally along the lines of a typical Nancy Drew mystery, right down to the Nancy (read Madeline)-in-peril chapter towards the end. Since the characterizations and dialog are so well written, this doesn’t detract from the overall satisfaction of the book, especially for readers who enjoyed Nancy Drew as children (or even now as adults!). But it does make the storyline somewhat predictable. If there’s a weak aspect to the book, it is Madeline’s relationship with Gus which seems a bit superfluous and distracting to the story; maybe the author was trying to add depth or conflict to Madeline’s persona by unnecessarily adding a love interest.

Madeline Carter is a very appealing and interesting character and The Next Ex a delightful mystery. It will be interesting to see where Linda L. Richards takes Madeline on her next adventure.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing the ARC of The Next Ex for this review.

Copyright © 2005 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Articles and Books on Writing Mysteries

Several short articles on writing books in general and writing mysteries in particular have been collected on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books web site. A selection of books available from Amazon.com are also listed with links for their purchase.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New Mystery Hardcovers for November 2005

A selection of new mystery hardcover titles for November 2005 is now available on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books web site (http://www.hsmb.com/).

 

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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