Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mystery Trivia for June 2006

Mystery BestsellersThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new mystery trivia questions for June 2006.

According to his website, this Wyoming native and author of the Joe Pickett mysteries has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, and a small town newspaper reporter and editor. Who is he?

He won the Anthony and Macavity awards for which title in his mystery series?

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to see the answers to these questions as well as previous mystery book trivia questions from prior months.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Profile: Louis Bayard Examines Poe's Character in West Point Mystery

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis BayardLouis Bayard, who recently published his second mystery, The Pale Blue Eye, was profiled this week by Regis Behe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bayard's previous book, Mr. Timothy, featured an adult Tiny Tim from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Pale Blue Eye features a young Edgar Allan Poe.

Behe writes that while other 19th century writers -- notably Mark Twain and Herman Melville -- loom larger in the contemporary literary consciousness, Poe's influence is ever-present. For The Pale Blue Eye, however, Poe's presence is initially as a secondary character, the central action of the novel involving Gus Landor, a retired New York City constable.

"[Poe] has so many layers and so many complexities," Bayard says, "and that's what makes him such a fascinating person to make a character out of. Not all writers necessarily would make good characters, but Poe has so many dark patches and grandiosities and excesses."

Behe continues that Bayard tried to mimic some of Poe's writing in the dialogue -- what he calls Poe's "garrulous, Latinate quality" -- juxtaposed against Landor's staid Anglo-Saxon voice. But the third central character in the novel is silent throughout. West Point provides a backdrop that, like Poe, is familiar to the public but is basically unknown to those who have not attended the academy.

Behe also includes a synopsis of the book: A retired constable investigates a murder of a West Point cadet, and a young Edgar Allan Poe -- who actually attended the academy -- assists in the investigation. Bayard deftly combines elements of Poe's style with his own story; especially jolting is an ending that shocks but, nevertheless, seems fitting.

Read Behe's entire profile here.

Reviews of The Pale Blue Eye have been stellar. Publishers Weekly states, "This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe." Kirkus Reviews adds, "Bayard's second offering is another literary tour de force ..."

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News: A Summer 2006 Reading List for Golfers

Kiel Christianson of TravelGolf.com has published a summer reading list for golfers, and two mysteries are among his recommendations.

Final Fore by Roberta IsleibFinal Fore is the fifth mystery in the Cassie Burdette series by Roberta Isleib. Burdette is an LPGA tour regular who spends as much time playing reluctant detective as she does playing golf. In this thriller, murder stalks the 2004 U.S. Women's Open. This mystery is a personal favorite of Christianson's not only because it's a gripping page-turner written by a clinical psychologist who knows her psychopaths, but also because he makes a cameo appearance on page 168.

From the publisher: At the bucolic Mount Holyoke College campus, Cassie Burdette is steeling her nerves for the U.S. Women’s Open, the most prestigious—and toughest—women’s golf event in the world. She’s already rattled by the absence of Laura, her favorite caddie, and by a controversial invitation to a men’s pro tournament. But then a rival is poisoned and Cassie begins receiving strange e-mails and messages. It seems that in high-stakes golf, competition can truly be murder.

Second on their list is Open Season by Jim MoriartyOpen Season by Jim Moriarty. This murder mystery is set on the PGA Tour. The story is driven less by the string of sometimes gruesome murders than by the personal dramas of photographer Nick Oliver, his Tour-press-officer ex-wife Julie, and associated PGA types. Sometimes you might forget there's a vicious serial killer lurking, but the realistic insights into the backstage machinations of the Tour are enough to keep any serious golf fan turning the pages.

Adds the publisher: From murder in Augusta, to death in peaceful Hilton Head, to a frenzied climax at the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst, Open Season is a riveting page-turner that will keep you up all night as you follow the trail of deceit and meet a lunatic eye-to-eye, all while golf's finest players pursue its greatest titles.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/29/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 29, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: This mystery by Jean Hager was the third in the Mitch Bushyhead series. 9 letters: A D G H L N O S T.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

News: Publisher HarperCollins Inks Fox TV Deal

The Hollywood Reporter writes that HarperCollins Publishers has signed a deal with Fox Television Studios to develop and produce original content based on the publisher's new and backlist mystery and romance titles.

The first deal involves the development of a television series based on Lisa Scottoline's series of legal thrillers about female partners in the prestigious Rosato law firm. The first mystery in this series, Legal Tender, was published by HarperCollins in 1997.

News Corporation owns both HarperCollins and the Fox Television Studios.

Read the complete Hollywood Reporter article, as published on Reuters, here.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Profile: Donna Leon, An American in Venice

Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna LeonDonna Leon's mysteries provide a key to a city of heartbreaking beauty, writes Bob Thompson of the Washington Post. Leon has written 15 mysteries featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, all set in Venice, where she makes her home. Her books are bestsellers in Europe, though she is less well known in the US. Her most recent mystery, Through a Glass, Darkly, was published last month.

Donna Leon's Venice is so popular in Europe, where her books are bestsellers, that specially organized tours bring fans from Austria, Germany and Switzerland to follow Commissario Brunetti's footsteps through the calles (lanes) and campos (public squares) of her adopted home, adds Thompson.

Opera, even more than writing, is Leon's passion; the baroque orchestra Il Complesso Barocco owes its existence in large part to her involvement and support. What's more, she introduced her detective series with Death at La Fenice, in which Brunetti investigates the demise of a German conductor.

Read the rest of Bob Thompson's fascinating profile, as much of Venice as it is of Donna Leon, here.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (05/26/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending May 26, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New this week ...

The Hard Way by Lee ChildAt Risk, Patricia Cornwell's latest forensic thriller, debuts at the top of the mystery bestseller lists at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. A Massachusetts state investigator is called home from Knoxville, Tennessee, by his boss, an attractive but hard-charging district attorney, who is planning to run for governor, and as a showcase she's planning to use a new crime initiative called At Risk. Its motto: "Any crime, any time." In particular, she's been looking for a way to employ cutting-edge DNA technology, and she thinks she's found the perfect subject in an unsolved twenty-year-old murder-in Tennessee. If her office solves the case, it ought to make them all look pretty good, right? When a shocking piece of violence intervenes, an act that shakes up not only both their lives but the lives of everyone around them, the implications are bad, very bad indeed.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

The Deal Master by Gerald F. BiancoSynopsis (from the publisher): In New York City, women with red hair are being brutally murdered. Detective William Gillette and his team are on the case, but they remain clueless until a curious stranger proposes a series of tempting deals—an exchange of sorts—that will help solve the crimes.

Gillette accepts the offer and plunges into the game. One deal after the next, he draws closer to the killer. But each deal comes with a price. Soon the detective finds himself in a dark hole—one he can’t get out of without striking the ultimate deal. Is the Deal Master Gillette’s savior—or his worst nightmare?

Review: Gerard F. Bianco's debut mystery, The Deal Master, has a compelling premise with a plot that is generally well constructed but is fundamentally flawed by dialog and prose that could have used some professional editing.

Jonathan Hamlin is a deal maker. Rather, a deal master. He is the custodian of people's hopes and dreams, what they lust for, what they desire, and what they can't live without. When a serial killer strikes New York City, Detective William Gillette, himself the son of a famous NYPD detective, is convinced that Hamlin is involved in some way. But when months go by without an arrest, Gillette is desperate to prevent another murder and strikes a deal with Hamlin to deliver the killer to him.

To Bianco's credit, all events that take place in the book, while improbable, are plausible. And the ending is especially intriguing, with the reader asking the question, "Is it possible that ..." (To add anything more would give away too much.)

The problem with The Deal Master is with the writing. This could have been a stylish, atmospheric mystery, but instead was rather pedestrian. The dialog was artificial and the prose often insipid. The use of chapter titles in mysteries is tricky: they help define the plot in juvenile books and are charming in cozies, but in serious novels they often seem out of place. In The Deal Master, they are almost comical and detract from the tone the author was trying to set.

A decidedly mixed review for The Deal Master. On the one hand, such a promising outline for a psychological thriller; on the other, a mystery that could have been and should have been better written.

Special thanks to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of The Deal Master for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit Mysterious Reviews for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Mystery Hardcover Titles for June 2006

New MysteriesA preview of new hardcover mysteries for June 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. A few of the twenty new mystery titles listed in this first update ...

Shadow Man by Cody McfadyenCody Mcfadyen's debut mystery, Shadow Man, introduces Special Agent Smoky Barrett. In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him-a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers' attempts to understand him. And he's issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live. Publishers Weekly states, "This disturbing serial killer drama set in California marks a promising debut for McFadyen, who combines many conventions of the genre but with far more exquisite, intricate results than the norm."

The Highly Effective Detective by Rick YanceyInheriting a substantial fortune from his late mother, Teddy Ruzak quits his job as a night watchman to pursue his long-time dream of becoming a private eye in The Highly Effective Detective, the start of a new mystery series by Rick Yancey. Enlisting the help of his new secretary Felicia, a former waitress, to solve his first case, the hit-and-run of a family of geese, the case is soon complicated by an all-too-human murder. Publishers Weekly declares, "By turns touching, suspenseful and hilarious, this is sure to be one of the most well regarded-and enjoyed-mystery debuts of the year."

Twelve Sharp by Janey EvanovichAlready a bestseller even before it's published, America's favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, is back in Twelve Sharp and sure to win more fans than ever before. Trenton, New Jersey's premier troublemaker is once again struggling with her tangled love life, her chaotic family, and her gift for destroying every car she drives. Not to mention her attempts to bring in the sometimes scary bail jumpers of Trenton, and the sudden appearance of a mysterious female stalker—who turns out to have a close connection to Ranger.

Blue Screen by Robert B. ParkerSunny Randall meets Jesse Stone in Robert B. Parker's Blue Screen. Buddy Bollen is a C-list movie mogul who made his fortune producing films of questionable artistic merit. When Buddy hires Sunny Randall to protect his rising star and girlfriend, Erin Flint, Sunny knows from the start that the prickly, spoiled beauty won't make her job easy. And when Erin's sister, Misty, is found dead in the lavish home they share with sugar daddy Bollen, there doesn't seem to be a single lead worth pursuing. But then Sunny meets Jesse Stone, chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts, under whose jurisdiction the case falls. It immediately becomes clear that Jesse and Sunny have much in common. While searching for the killer, they learn an awful lot about each other-and themselves.

And many more including the 13th Gideon Oliver mystery (Unnatural Selection) by Aaron Elkins, the 2nd Faye Quick mystery (Too Darn Hot) by Sandra Scoppettone, the 3rd Cottage Tale Mystery in the Beatrix Potter series (Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood) by Susan Wittig Albert, and others!

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Mystery Book Contests

Mystery BestsellersTwo new giveaways have been posted on The Mystery Book Contest Website.

Cryptid by Eric PenzThe Cryptozoology Contest features a hardcover copy of Cryptid inscribed and signed by Eric Penz. Cryptid tells the riveting story of conspiracy theorists who have new evidence of a centuries-old cover-up. When a cryptozoologist, a paleontologist, and a Jefferson descendant begin connecting the dots, they threaten to do more than unveil the well-guarded scientific discovery that lies at the heart of the ancient secret; they threaten to rewrite American history. Included in the prize package are several other resources to help in your search of other mysteries of nature.

Green 61 by Cody Fowler DavisThe Green 61 Contest features a hardcover copy of Green 61 signed by the author Cody Fowler Davis. Green 61 is a real “I know it’s late, but I just don’t want to put it down” kind of a book. It’s all the more so because it was written by a successful attorney who knows the legal system inside and out, and is well acquainted with the tactics—savory and less so—of those who work in it. It’s authentic, it’s believable, and it’s absolutely engaging from the first sentence through to the last. Included in the prize package are other products that feature locations mentioned in the book.

Both contests may be entered daily, one entry per person or e-mail address.

The December in Florida Contest, featuring three prize packages including signed copies of Blondes Have More Felons by Alesia Holliday, concludes at the end of this month.

Visit The Mystery Book Contest Website daily to enter your name into our contests. And please pick up copies of these fine mysteries at your local bookstore or order directly from Amazon.com by clicking on the book titles or images.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

News: BrilliantButCancelled.com, a New Broadband Service from Bravo

In a recent press release by Bravo TV, the cable network announced it will launch BrilliantButCancelled.com, a new broadband service that celebrates the small screen's best-loved but short-lived series.

BrilliantButCancelled.com will be anchored by a critically-acclaimed line-up of some of television's most daring programs, described by Bravo as "too smart, too edgy or too hip for TV" when they hit the airwaves.

Included among the series expected to be available is "Gideon Oliver" which aired on ABC in 1989 and starred Louis Gossett Jr. as an anthropology professor at Columbia University who uses his knowledge of other cultures to solve crimes, aided by his daughter/assistant Zina. Gossett has won an Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe. Features pre-"ER" performance by Eriq LaSalle. Based on Aaron Elkins' award-winning series of novels. Shot in exotic locales including the Caribbean, Central America, etc.

Read Bravo TV's entire press release here.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/22/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 22, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: This John Connelly thriller had Charlie Parker unraveling a brutal crime committed in the Deep South: (9 letters).

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

News: Novelists Weaving Real Recipes into Books

When Diane Mott Davidson wrote her first mystery novel, she had to fight with her editors to include recipes. Now, 12 books later, readers identify Davidson’s novels, which feature a crime solving caterer, with tasty recipes, writes Paige Lauren Deiner on TheMonitor.com.

Recipes and writing about food give authors a chance to develop characters, plot or setting, said Carolyn Marino, senior vice-president and executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers. “There are writers who use food as a metaphor. They are able to use food the way a different writer uses a setting,” she said.

Davidson said she always tries out the recipes she puts in her books a couple of times at least. She said she asks the UPS man, the post man and anyone who stops by, “Do you like cookie A or cookie B? Did you like this cake filling?” And when Davidson started writing her books about caterer Goldy Schulz and her culinary misadventures, she worked with a caterer to learn the business. “It’s not just about the cooking. You’re running a business,” she said.

Read the entire article on novelists weaving real recipies into books on TheMonitor.com here.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (05/19/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending May 19, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New this week ...

The Hard Way by Lee ChildThe Hard Way: Lee Child's 10th mystery features ex-military cop Jack Reacher who sees more than most people would ... and because of that, he's thrust into an explosive situation that's about to blow up in his face. For the only way to find the truth- and save two innocent lives- is to do it the way Jack Reacher does it best: the hard way. Publishers Weekly states "... the author's atmospheric descriptions make Manhattan a leading player, with menace lurking at every intersection." And adds, "The inevitable showdown ... ranks as one of Child's most thrilling finales."

The King of Lies by John HartThe King of Lies: A debut mystery by John Hart who has written a literary thriller that is as suspenseful as it is poignant, a riveting murder mystery layered beneath the southern drawl of a humble North Carolina lawyer. Publishers Weekly calls The King of Lies "... [a] stunning debut, an exceptionally deep and complex mystery thriller, [that] compares favorably to the best of Scott Turow."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Editorial Reply: Susan Wittig Albert - Books Truly Can't Be Judged by Covers

Last week we posted a summary of an editorial by Linda Brazill of the Madison (WI) Capitol Times where she took a critical look at gardening mysteries. One of the mysteries she took exception with was Bleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert. Ms. Albert wrote a letter to the editor, which was published on The Capitol Times (on madision.com), and is summarized here:

Dear Editor: In Linda Brazill's recent review of my book, Bleeding Hearts, she complains that the book's cover depicts one species of a plant while the text refers to another, "a mistake that only a non-gardener would make," she says.

Ms. Brazill needs to know that fiction writers are rarely consulted about their cover art. It is downright unfair (as well as uninformed) to attempt to judge the author's gardening experience from the artist's cover design. In fact, I've gardened extensively for over 20 years.

There are lots of things about plants that I don't know, and I'm just as capable of making an error as the next person. But I do know enough about the publishing business to be wary of judging a book by its cover.

Susan Wittig Albert
Burnet County, Texas

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Profile: Antiques Lover Mystery Author Deborah Morgan

Will people kill for antiques? Whitmore Lake (MI) crime writer Deborah Morgan certainly thinks so, writes the Ann Arbor News.

The Majolica Murders by Deborah MorganMorgan has just published her fifth antiques lover mystery, The Majolica Murders, in which Seattle-based ex-FBI agent and antiques picker Jeff Talbot investigates the murder of a local antiques dealer.

Majolica is a type of colorful, glazed earthenware that originated on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Morgan chose it for the series after watching TV. "I'd seen the turtle reservoir and bowl on Martha Stewart and fell in love with that particular set. Just seeing something like that can trigger an entire mystery for me,'' Morgan says.

The Majolica Murders may be the last of the antiques lover's mystery, adds Morgan, who is still deciding what to do with the series. However, whatever happens, you'll still be able to spot her at the Ann Arbor Antiques Market on a weekend.

Deborah Morgan is married to mystery author Loren D. Estleman who writes, among other series, the long-running and well-received Amos Walker mysteries.

Read the rest of profile of Deborah Morgan, as published on Mlive.com, here.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Press Release: Hard Case Crime's "Say It With Bullets" Optioned By Caribou Films

Say It With Bullets by Richard J. PowellNew York, NY; Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 15, 2006 -– Hard Case Crime announced today that Caribou Films has optioned the movie rights to Richard Powell’s classic comic crime novel Say It With Bullets and has attached veteran filmmaker Blaine Novak as screenwriter and producer. Films written by Mr. Novak include They All Laughed, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Audrey Hepburn, and Strangers Kiss, starring Peter Coyote. Mr. Novak also wrote and directed Good to Go, starring Art Garfunkel, as well as Blue Champagne, produced by Jack Nicholson.

Originally published in 1953 and reissued for the first time in half a century by Hard Case Crime earlier this year, Say It With Bullets tells the story of Bill Wayne, an army officer who tries to shut down a smuggling operation and winds up shot in the back and left for dead by one of his fellow soldiers. When he recovers, Bill sets off to find out which of his former army buddies was behind the shooting, using a bus tour of the west as camouflage. But when the beautiful tour guide stumbles onto Bill’s scheme and a mysterious figure starts picking off the suspects at each stop along the way, events spiral out of control.

"Say It With Bullets combines the best elements of great comedy and great suspense storytelling,” said Blaine Novak. “It’s got an irresistible plot, characters you just love, fantastic dialogue, and a breathtaking climax at Yosemite National Park that’s just begging to be put on film. This is one hell of a book and I’m very excited to work on bringing it to the screen.”

For more information about Hard Case Crime or Say It With Bullets, visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.

Read the entire press release here.

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Press Release: 22nd Annual Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair Announces Featured Authors

CHICAGO, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- From toddler-wielding parents to antique book collectors to fiction aficionados, the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair has something to please book lovers of all kinds. The Fair -- the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest -- is expected to draw nearly 90,000 visitors to the two-day showcase, set in Chicago's historic Printers Row neighborhood June 3-4.

As always, the Fair tackles timely topics, including immigration, the death penalty and the environment; features panels of au courant bloggers-turned-authors and graphic novelists; and welcomes more than 100 literary luminaries. Among the authors scheduled to appear are:

Michael Connelly: The bestselling mystery author switches to nonfiction for a collection of articles written during his tenure as a crime reporter in "Crime Beat." Readers will learn how real life influences fiction.

The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair is presented in association with the Chicago Public Library. Sponsors of this year's fair include Target, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Jewel-Osco, C-SPAN and Columbia College Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune operates the Printers Row Book Fair as part of the company's ongoing commitment to the written word and its support of literacy and literary endeavors. For more information about the Fair and a complete list of programs and exhibitors, go to http://www.printersrowbookfair.org.

Read the entire press release which lists all featured authors here.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

News: Elmore Leonard Gets Lifetime Nod

Elmore Leonard, the doyen of crime thriller writers, received a lifetime achievement award Wednesday, May 10th, from the UK Crime Writers Association, writes the Hollywood Reporter.

Leonard, who has seen many of his novels such as Get Shorty, Rum Punch, and 3:10 to Yuma turned into movies, received the 21st Diamond Dagger during a packed reception at London's Savoy Hotel.

The Michigan-based Leonard, who has previously been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, released his latest book, The Complete Western Stories, this month.

Read the entire article, as published by Reuters UK, here.

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New Mystery Hardcover Titles for May 2006 (updated)

New MysteriesAn updated list of new hardcover mysteries for May 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. Twelve additional titles have been added including ...

In Plain Sight by C. J. BoxThe sixth outing for Wyoming game and fish warden Joe Pickett in C. J. Box's latest mystery, In Plain Sight. Kirkus Reviews states that Box "... continues to write the sharpest suspensers west of the Pecos. " Publishers Weekly adds that the author "... expertly evokes Wyoming's landscape, wildlife, people and politics."

Cold Mooon by Jeffrey DeaverThe seventh Lincoln Rhyme mystery, Cold Moon by Jeffrey Deaver, pits the quadriplegic NYPD detective against a brilliant criminal mastermind called the Watchmaker. Kirkus Reviews asks the question, "Which of the leads, revelations, twists and confessions can be trusted, and which have been planted for purposes best known to the Watchmaker? Deaver, an old pro at pulling rugs out from under readers, adds a piquant complication this time ..."

Bishop's Reach by Kathryn R. WallKathryn R. Wall's sixth Bay Tanner mystery, Bishop's Reach, finds the Hilton Head Island (SC) inquiry agent up to her lovely green eyeballs in clients with hidden agendas. Adds Publishers Weekly, "Oozing Southern charm, this whodunit flows like hot molasses to a deliciously clever conclusion."

Bishop's Reach by Kathryn R. WallAnd though it is folly to judge a book by its cover, sometimes a dust jacket evokes powerful yet subtle images of mystery. Such is the case with The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl. Baltimore lawyer Quentin Clark explores the puzzling circumstances of Edgar Allan Poe’s demise and discovers that the writer’s last days are riddled with unanswered questions.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/15/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 15, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: Holly Winter became a dog trainer to the Mob in this mystery by Susan Conant (with “The”). 9 letters: A D E F G H O R T.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Editorial: Garden Whodunits Need to Get Details Right

Linda Brazill of the Madison (WI) Capitol Times recently took a critical look at gardening mysteries, and concluded that several came up a bit short, horticulturally speaking.

"Gardens seem like the perfect setting for mysteries.", she writes. "There are any number of poisonous plants, like foxglove and monkshood, that make ideal murder weapons to say nothing of deadly cocktails conjured up to kill weeds. There are mazes to hide in, borders to bury the body in, and an endless supply of historical allusions and poetic inspiration."

She adds that three recent horticultural whodunits all have something to recommend them but none of them quite made a compelling argument for setting their stories in gardens.

Of the three books mentioned, Brazill notes that in Susan Wittig Albert's most recent mystery, Bleeding Hearts with China Bayles, she gets all the garden and herb information correct. In addition, "The very last pages [of the book] contain the lovely lemony recipes that China's catering crew made during the course of the story."

Anthony Eglin's second English Garden mystery, The Lost Gardens, is more problematic. She notes that, "On a visit to the famed English garden Hidcote Manor to show the American homeowner what a grand estate garden looks like, our sleuth points out cherry trees, cannas, oriental poppies and skunk cabbage all apparently blooming at the same time. I don't believe that even the Brits could manage that gardening sleight of hand."

Finally, Brazill looked at Carol Goodman's The Ghost Orchid. She found that the sense of the garden and the detail and description of it overwhelmed the characters. Goodman's earlier mysteries were complex but not confusing, a critical distinction and one that mars The Ghost Orchid. In short, "A glorious mix if a bit of a mess."

Read the entire article, as published on Madison.com, here.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Profile: Domenic Stansberry, North Beach Noir

The Big Boom by Domenic StansberryWith the publication this month of the second entry in the classical noir North Beach mystery series by Marin County resident Domenic Stansberry, The Big Boom, San Francisco Chronicle writer Carolyn Jones ran a brief profile of this local mystery author.

Stansberry was born in Washington, D.C., but lived in North Beach for many years before moving to Corte Madera. The Big Boom is his sixth published novel. Last year, his book The Confession won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best paperback original mystery novel.

The Big Boom takes place in North Beach during the dot-com heyday, when illusions of never-ending wealth melded with the illusions of San Francisco's most literary neighborhood. Private investigator Dante Mancuso gets a call from the Italian American parents of his childhood sweetheart, a dot-com publicist who's gone missing. Shortly thereafter, a woman's corpse washes up from the bay, and the mystery begins.

Read the entire profile by Carolyn Jones of Domenic Stansberry here.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (05/12/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending May 12, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

(The original text of this posting was inadvertantly deleted; the links, however, have been restored.)

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Press Release: A Mystery You Can Only Find in the Public Library

Announcing the release of Glass Chameleon, seventh mystery in the Deets Shanahan Mystery Series. This release discusses the significance of library edition publishing within the context of the mainstream publishing industry.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 11, 2006 — They are rarely reviewed in the mainstream newspapers and seldom found on the bookshelves of Borders or Barnes & Noble. Though available through such online bookstores as Amazon.com, they are books specifically published for libraries.

This is the case for Ronald Tierney’s Deets Shanahan mystery series, the seventh of which — Glass Chameleon — will be released in the U.S. in July. Severn House, a U.K. publisher noted for high-quality, hardback library editions of mysteries, thrillers and other books, picked up the series ten years after the original publisher dropped it.

“This was during the time when many mid-list writers disappeared,” Tierney said about his series that featured a septuagenarian Indianapolis private eye. “I’m glad he’s back. Of course I hope for wider distribution. Nonetheless it’s reassuring that he’s in the libraries. But what this says to mystery lovers who might want to go beyond the mainstream mysteries is ‘Check out your local library. They have books you won’t find anywhere else.’”

Tierney’s new book takes place in his native Indianapolis and pre-Katrina New Orleans.

“I think Glass Chameleon is the most provocative of the Shanahan books,” Tierney continued. “As we’re growing up, we are often advised not to discuss sex, politics and religion in polite company. That’s pretty much what the book is about. It’s not polite. It’s still funny, I hope, but it doesn’t shy away from current controversial issues in the process of finding a murderer.”

Booklist said this about the new book: “A plot chock-a-block with unexpected twists, a succinct writing style…unusual characters, and deadpan humor add up to a top-notch read in Tierney’s still-stellar series.”

To find out more about Severn House and its authors, visit www.severnhouse.com. For more information about Tierney’s Shanahan series, visit www.ronaldtierney.com. Tierney, an Indianapolis native, currently lives in San Francisco where he is working on several fiction projects.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

News: Tom Selleck Hoping to Star as Jesse Stone for a Long Time

Cynthia Littleton of the Hollywood Reporter writes that Tom Selleck is hoping to continue with the Jesse Stone telefilms as a recurring franchise for CBS. The most recent installment, Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise, was broadcast last week on CBS and earned the best reviews of the three movies so far. It also ranked as CBS' second-most-watched movie of the season with nearly 15 million viewers.

Selleck is quick to give CBS credit for allowing him to make the kind of movies he wants to make with the Stone franchise.

"I don't think you need an explosion in the first 10 minutes," Selleck said. "You don't need to do ripped-from-the-headlines stuff. If the audience likes the character enough, they'll go with you when he goes into a dark room at home alone, pours a scotch and sits down to think a while."

The Jesse Stone mysteries on CBS are based on the novels by best-selling mystery author Robert B. Parker.

Read the entire Hollywood Reporter article, as published on Philly.com, here.

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New Feature: Weekly Updates of Online Mystery Reviews

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has added a new feature for our visitors.

In addition to mysteries that we review, every Wednesday we'll post links to other online reviews of recently published mystery books. A brief summary of the review is also provided. (Book titles will be linked to Amazon.com where reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, among others, are also posted.)

We recognize the value of the diversity of opinions reviewers have for mysteries, and look forward to your visits to Mysterious Reviews to keep current on your favorite mystery books, authors, and series characters.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth HydeSynopsis (from the publisher): Two weeks before Christmas, Diana Duprey, an outspoken abortion doctor, is found floating in her pool, a bruise the size of a golf ball visible through her dark curls. A national figure, Diana inspired passion and ignited tempers, never more so than on the day of her death.

Her husband, Frank, an attorney in the D.A.’s office for more than twenty years, had fought bitterly with her on the day of her murder. Yet to reveal the nature of their fight would cost him not only his career but something greater still—a relationship he will go to any lengths to protect. Diana’s daughter, Megan, a college freshman, had also quarreled with Diana that day, and her role in her mother’s murder will prove more significant than she ever could have anticipated. The Reverend Stephen O’Connell, founder of the town’s pro-life coalition, obviously had issues with Diana, but his anger extended beyond the political to the personal—namely, Dr. Duprey’s involvement with his own troubled teenager. Meanwhile, the detective on the case grapples to make sense of it all. His investigation implicates many in this town and reveals a series of gross miscalculations, each one challenging what we know, or think we know, about community, fidelity, justice, and love.

Review: "... some people had the power to dig themselves into the very deepest part of your brain and stay there until you paid them the attention they demanded."

This passage, from Elisabeth Hyde's stellar mystery The Abortionist's Daughter, a complex character study of people brought together by the murder of Diana Duprey, an abortion provider for a small town outside Denver, can be applied to most of the people in the book and is one of the reasons this is such an intriguing story. As the police investigate the murder, the relationships Diana had with her family and associates are carefully disclosed in a way that adds credibility to the plot and depth to the characters. The conclusion, though not unexpected, is nonetheless startling and dramatically revealed.

The title is something of a misnomer, and unfortunately tends to be erroneously suggestive. Though the daughter plays a prominent role in the book, the title implies the story is about her. It isn't. Furthermore, the use of the word "abortion" in any form is provocative. Some prospective readers may shy away thinking that the story is about abortion. It isn't. When a detective on the case calls the victim an "abortionist", her daughter quickly corrects him: she was an "abortion provider". It was her profession, but Hyde wisely doesn't take sides on the issue primarily because it is largely a plot device, to set up a professional and personal relationship between Diana and the founder of the town's pro-life coalition. It's unclear why either the author or the publisher chose this title as it unnecessarily detracts from an otherwise outstanding work of mystery fiction.

Special thanks to Random House for providing the ARC of The Abortionist's Daughter for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit Mysterious Reviews for other reviews of current and older mystery books.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

News: Mystery Novelist Herbert Burkholz, 73

Herbert Burkholz, 73, a mystery novelist who briefly was a speechwriter at the Food and Drug Administration in the 1990s, died of lung cancer April 30 at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown (MD), reports the Washington Post.

Burkholz wrote several mysteries, including a series with a group of mind-reading CIA agents known as "the Sensitives". He also collaborated with Clifford Irving on a number of spy thrillers.

Read the Washington Post's profile of Herbert Burkholz here.

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News: "Lost" Book Clues in Fans

Bad Twin by Gary TroupBad Twin, written by fictitious Oceanic Flight 815 passenger Gary Troup (an anagram of "purgatory") on the ABC series "Lost", is being billed as the last manuscript from the author, who supposedly dropped the book off at his publisher just days before perishing on the flight.

The plot centers on the detective Paul Artisan who is hired to track down the "bad twin" Zander Widmore by his "good twin" Cliff. Along the way, Artisan enlists the help of a good buddy who just so happens to be well-versed in biblical parables and metaphors on the meaning of life.

Gina Serpe, writing for E! Online, reports that, as expected, Bad Twin is full of references to the prime-time series, including several mentions of the 17th century philosopher John Locke, a makeshift boat named Escape Hatch, allusions to life being complicated and unable to be boiled down to something as simple as, say, "a string of numbers," and of course, most of the action takes place on a mysterious--and fictional--island.

Serpe adds, "For those fans wishing to check out more of Troup's work, they may want to dig up his first novel, The Valenzetti Equation. That is, if it actually existed they might. The book is described as centering on a mathematical equation that predicts the apocalypse, and while no more specifics have been released, it's likely 'Lost' fans could hazard an accurate guess as to which numbers may be involved in the solution."

Read the rest of the E! Online story here.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/08/2006

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for May 08, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: This is the title of James O. Born’s second mystery that features FDLE agent Bill Tasker. 9 letters: A C E H K O S V W.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Profile: Elaine Viets, author of the Dead-End Job Mysteries

Murder Unleashed by Elaine VietsNo animals were harmed in the creation of Murder Unleashed, the fifth entry in Elaine Viets' award-winning Dead-End Job mystery series and her first hardcover whodunit. The former St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist-turned-serial mystery writer commits murder in her mind only.

Viets researches all her Dead-End Job mysteries by working the jobs she writes about. Such research doesn't just give Viets an inside look at the occupations in question. It also gives her a megacast of characters.

Viets is a native of St. Louis, though she now lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, Don Crinklaw, and her "writing companion," Harry, her rescue cat. She also is the mastermind behind five other mysteries, which are packaged into two other series. Her next book, High Heels Are Murder, is due out in November and features "Mystery Shopper" Josie Marcus.

Read the entire profile of Elaine Viets by Sarah Newman in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and featured on STLtoday.com, here.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

News: Oxygen Network 2007 Lineup to Include Mystery Series

The Oxygen network announced that it is continuing to re-write the rulebook for womens television with its most ambitious development slate to date for 2007. Included in its plans are pilots for two new mystery series.

Nicky Velnet, a one hour scripted action, drama. Nicky Velvet is a picky crook, who steals the seemingly valueless for a hefty fee of course. Need the water stolen from a swimming pool or the rare ivory comb from a dangerous thugs back pocket? Nicky will execute the job using her intuition and intellect to outsmart her dupe. Based on the 88 mystery books by Edward Hoch.

Robin Hudson Mysteries, a one hour scripted dramedy, mystery. Robin Hudson is a quirky, third-string reporter for the All News Network and just can't seem to win. When she becomes involved in a New Year's Eve murder mystery she discovers her uncanny ability to solve crimes better than the police. Based on the series of books by Sparkle Hayter.

Read about all of the Oxygen network's planned series and movies in The Futon Critic.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (05/05/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending May 05, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Beach Road by James PattersonNew this week is James Patterson's latest "Beach" thriller, Beach Road. Reviews have been decidedly mixed, with Publisher's Weekly stating, "Bestseller Patterson shows signs of having gone to the well too often in this slapdash collaboration with de Jonge, his coauthor on The Beach House (2002). ... Fans can only hope that Patterson soon returns to the level he achieved with his Alex Cross series."

Bad Twin by Gary TroupAlso new is Bad Twin , the book tie-in to the ABC series "Lost". Though Gary Troup is a fictional author (the book was written by "a well-known mystery writer"), Hyperion has released the following statement regarding Troup: "It is with a mix of pride and sorrow that Hyperion presents Bad Twin, the last novel by a wonderful author who was taken from us in the very prime of his writing life. As many readers are already aware, Gary Troup has been missing since September 2004, when the jetliner that was carrying him from Sydney to Los Angeles crashed somewhere over the South Pacific. While nothing is more human than to hope for miracles, reason tells us that the author and his fellow-travelers cannot have survived this disaster."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Online Mystery Book Reviews

Margaret Cannon, Crime Book reviewer for the Globe and Mail, recently published her reviews of 6 new mystery books.

Promise Me, by Harlan Coben, Dutton: "After six years, Harlan Coben brings him back in a story so solid, a plot so complex, that it's one of his best."

Nicotine Kiss, by Loren D. Estleman, Forge: "This is a superb novel, and Estleman's lovely, lyrical writing style makes it a pleasure. There's not a thing to improve."

The Death of Achilles, by Boris Akunin, Random House: "The joy of Akunin's novels isn't just in the plot, although these are superior. He has the same zest for the chase and the sheer fun of it all that makes Holmes so wonderful."

Prior Bad Acts, by Tami Hoag, Bantam: "The opening chapter of this novel is so chilling, some readers will wonder if they can read the whole thing. But I can promise that, by page six, they will be gripped, spellbound, held to the page. Hoag is a fine writer, but this is her best book by far."

Debts of Dishonor, by Jill Paton Walsh, St. Martin's Press: "This novel marks the return of her Cambridge sleuth, Imogene Quy, and it's as good an update of Dorothy L. as you are ever likely to see."

Oh Danny Boy, by Rhys Bowen, St. Martin's Press: "This is a slight novel with a bit of a romance in the plot, a lot of fun and some terrific historical writing. Fans of the British cozy will love it, and so will readers of historical fiction."

Read her complete reviews here.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mystery Trivia for May 2006

Mystery TriviaThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new mystery trivia questions for May 2006.

What well-known mystery author has been published under the pseudonyms Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samual Holt, and others?

What is the title of his first book published, under his real name, by Random House in 1960?

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to see the answers to these questions as well as previous mystery book trivia questions from prior months.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Press Release: Top Mystery Author to Head "Line-Up" for Murder in the Grove

(OPENPRESS) April 26, 2006 -- One of the world's best known and best-selling mystery authors, Anne Perry, will make a rare visit to Boise to take part in a bit of murder, mayhem, and fun at Murder in the Grove 2006, to be held June 2-3. Murder in the Grove, the northwest’s only annual mystery conference, caters to both fans and writers of mystery fiction.

Perry has sold more than twenty million books. She writes the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, and the Inspector William Monk series, both set in Victorian England, a third series which takes place in England during World War I, and has written a number of stand-alone books as well. Born in England, Anne Perry has lived in the United States and New Zealand. She presently makes her home in Scotland.

The public is invited to meet Perry and the other mystery authors at a book fair and dessert party at Barnes & Noble on Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m. On Saturday, June 3, Murder in the Grove convenes from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Centre on the Grove with programs for both mystery fans and writers. Agents and editors will meet with authors looking for representation.

Local mystery authors Joanne Pence, Deborah Donnelly, Catherine Mulvany, and Kelly Jones plus authors C.J. Box, Carolyn Wheat, Bob Wiebezahl, Kirk Russell, Aileen Baron, Mary Buckham, Sylvia Hubbard, Larry Karp, Con Lehane, Rae Monet, Twist Phelan, J.D. Rhoades, Michael W. Sherer, Denise Swanson, Pari Noskin Taichert, and Pat White will join Perry as presenters at Murder in the Grove. Author/editor Denise Dietz will represent Five Star Press. Literary agents Meredith Bernstein and Jo Grossman will speak with aspiring writers. Forensic artist Carrie Stuart-Parks, DNA expert Dr. Greg Hampikian, and private investigator, Valerie Agosta will present workshops on crime investigation. For her contribution to the field of mystery, Sara Paretsky will receive the 2006 Ridley Award in absentia due to a recent injury.

For more information about the two-day conference, local authors Joanne Pence ([email protected] or 208/938-5995, website: www.joannepence.com), and Tammy Cooper ([email protected] or 208/375-8230, website: www.tlcooper.com) may be contacted at any time, or visit www.murderinthegrove.com.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Titles for May 2006

Mystery Book Contest
The Mystery Bookshelf has updated its list of new paperback titles to include those to be released in May 2006.

Visit The Mystery Bookshelf to browse mass market paperback mysteries published since December 2005. (Older mysteries are moved to the archives which are searchable and still available from The Mystery Bookshelf.)

For each mystery, you can see the book cover, an overview of the book (synopsis), and notes about the book. For example, if the mystery is part of a series, the entry in that series is given.

Please visit The Mystery Bookshelf often! We are commited to providing readers of popular mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.


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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/01/2006

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for May 01, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: Theresa Monsour's 3rd mystery featuring St. Paul homicide detective Sgt. Paris Murphy had this title. 9 letters: A D E H K O R S U.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!


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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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