Friday, March 30, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Christine Falls by Benjamin Black. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
A Quirke Mystery

Henry Holt (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-8050-8052-6 (0805081526)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-8052-7 (9780805081527)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $25.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): It's not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It's the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse--and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious--and very well-guarded--secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society, among them members of his own family.

Review: Booker Prize winner John Banville, writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, delivers in his first mystery, Christine Falls, a stylish, atmospheric thriller that is both beautifully written and solidly plotted.

The central character is a Dublin pathologist, known only as Quirke, who is good at his job but but seems to barely tolerate it. He lives alone and drinks far too much. One night he finds his life-long friend, now a physician working at the same hospital as Quirke but who is rarely in the morgue, altering the autopsy report of a dead woman, Christine Falls. Curious as to why he would do this, Quirke embarks on a journey to discover the circumstances of Christine's death, and finds an organization that is "planting souls", sending orphaned Irish babies to America to be raised.

The book has a mysterious, decidedly noir feel to it, evoking images of darkness and black-washed colors in the reader's mind. There's a persistent sense of intrigue in the story: who was Christine Falls, why are people trying to get Quirke to back off looking into her death, and how are Quirke's friends and family involved? Just as Quirke seems close to answering these questions, they drift further away, again out of reach.

Christine Falls loses some of its momentum whenever Quirke is not in the picture. The related side story that takes place in concurrent with Quirke's investigation in Dublin is important to the plot, but seems to be written in a more simplistic, less artistic manner. It's possible Black intentionally took this approach in writing, drawing a distinction between the two environments, but it seems a bit incohesive nonetheless.

All the clues to the mystery of Christine Falls are presented in due course, and the drawn out resolution is not unexpected. Still, this elegantly crafted book with its haunting story is deeply satisfying.

Special thanks to FSB Associates for providing a copy of Christine Falls for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Bestsellers for March 30, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending March 30, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Obsession by Jonathan KellermanNew this week: Obsession, the 21st Alex Delaware mystery by Jonathan Kellerman, debuts at the top of both the Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com mystery hardcover bestseller lists.

Tanya Bigelow was a solemn little girl when Dr. Alex Delaware successfully treated her obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Now, at nineteen, she still seems older than her years -- but her problems go beyond hyper-maturity. Patty Bigelow, Tanya's aunt and adoptive mother, has made a deathbed confession of murder and urged the young woman to seek Delaware's help. Armed with only the vaguest details, the psychologist and LAPD detective Milo Sturgis follow a trail twisting from L.A.'s sleaziest low-rent districts to its overblown mansions, retracing Patty and Tanya's nomadic and increasingly puzzling life to the doorsteps of a sullen heroin addict; a randy real-estate broker; and a brilliant, enigmatic physics student. Suddenly a very real murder tears open a terrifying tunnel into the past, where secrets -- and bodies -- are buried.

The Alibi Man by Tami HoagAlso new on the lists this week: The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag. Elena Estes, a former undercover cop turned private investigator, exists on the fringes of her old life of wealth and privilege, training horses for a living. But a shocking event is about to draw her back into the painful vortex she's fought so hard to leave behind. First she finds the body-a young woman used, murdered, and dumped in a canal. Not just a victim, but a friend. As Elena delves into her dead friend's secret life, she discovers ties not only to the Russian mob but also to a group of powerful and wealthy Palm Beach bad boys known for giving each other alibis to cover a multitude of sins. A group that includes a man Elena once knew very well-her former fiancé, Bennett Walker, a man she knows has already escaped justice at least once in his life.

A couple of other newcomers: Hunter's Moon by Randy Wayne White, the 14th mystery in the Doc Ford series, and The Alpine Scandal by Mary Daheim, the 19th mystery in the Mary Daheim series.

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback Titles for April 2007

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback Mysteries to Read and Enjoy
The Mystery Bookshelf has updated its list of paperback mysteries available for purchase to include 32 new books for April 2007.

New titles include Bleeding Hearts, the 14th mystery in the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert, Pretty Girl Gone, the 3rd mystery featuring former St. Paul policeman Rushmore "Mac" McKenzie by David Housewright, A Mold for Murder, the 3rd mystery in this series with soapmaker Benjamin Perkins by Tim Myers, and The Lost Van Gogh by A. J. Zerries, a new series introducing Clay Ryder of the NYPD Major Case Squad.

Paperback mysteries on The Mystery Bookshelf published within the past 6 months can be conveniently be browsed by author, series character, or date of publication.

Browse by AuthorBrowse by Series CharacterBrowse by Publication Date


Browse by AuthorBrowse by Series CharacterBrowse by Publication Date



Older mysteries are stored in the archives, which may be searched using The Mystery Bookshelf Search function.

Thanks for visiting The Mystery Bookshelf, your source for to read and enjoy!

Please also visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens

The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens
Non-Series

MIRA Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7783-2428-1 (0778324281)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2428-7 (9780778324287)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): In Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, a terrible secret is about to be uncovered by a woman whose daughter vanished seven years ago without a trace ...

And now a new clue has surfaced ... a doll that is the spitting image of Claire Doucett's missing child, right down to the tiny birthmark on the girl's left arm. A chance sighting of the eerily lifelike doll in a French Quarter collectibles shop leaves Claire shaken to her core ... and more determined than ever to find out what happened to her beloved Ruby.

When the doll is snatched and the store's owner turns up dead, Claire knows the only person she can turn to is ex-husband Dave Creasy, a former cop who has spent the past seven years imprisoned by his own guilt and despair. He let Claire down once when she needed him the most. Can she make him believe the doll really exists? She'll have to if they're to survive an encounter with a brutal psychopath—the dollmaker—who stole their future to feed an obsession that will never die.

Review: From the genteel shops lining the French Quarter of New Orleans to the forbidden bayous in the surrounding parishes, The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens is a terrifying thriller that works equally well as an investigative detective story.

A parents' worst nightmare: their child disappears, apparently the result of a kidnapping. The first 48 hours are critical: if the child isn't located within that time frame, the chances of their returning safely are remote. For Claire Doucett, it's been 7 years since her daughter Ruby was taken from her, yet she still believes she may be alive. Then, suddenly, Claire spies a most life-like doll in a store window, a doll that eerily resembles her daughter. Even the doll's dress matches what Ruby was wearing when she disappeared. In her haste to visit the store, Claire is involved in an accident that puts her in the hospital. But then the doll vanishes, the store owner found murdered. Convinced the doll is related in some way to Ruby's kidnapping, Claire turns to her ex-husband, a disgraced NOPD cop who was involved in the destruction of evidence in the case of a murdered stripper about the same time their daughter was taken.

The first half of The Dollmaker is absolutely electrifying, drawing the reader into Claire's torment as a mother who's lost her daughter but holds out hope that she may be recovered. The idea that someone has taken a little girl for the purposes of making a doll is unthinkable, yet Stevens' crisp writing makes it all too believable.

Then the plot shifts its focus to Claire's ex-husband, Dave. It's here that the detective story begins, and though the transition is rather abrupt, there is no loss of continuity. Dave is equally anguished by events surrounding his daughter's kidnapping and is unexpectedly presented with an opportunity to redeem himself for past indiscretions.

While the kidnapper's identity is not a surprise (his character's background is chronicled every few chapters), and the ending is a bit too theatrical, Stevens cleverly brings everything together in a satisfying conclusion to this riveting mystery.

Special thanks to Amanda Stevens for providing a copy of The Dollmaker for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Press Release: Writing Contest Makes Every Entrant a Winner

The Writing Show First-Chapter-of-a-Novel Contest offers all entrants a professional 750-word critique.

Thousand Oaks, CA (PRWeb) March 26, 2007 -- Want to get published but don't know how your novel measures up? Enter The Writing Show First Chapter Contest and get 750 words of feedback from publishing industry pros. Each critique will detail the chapter's positive attributes and suggest how the work can be improved. All contestants will also receive a week's free access to Literary Market Place Online, a searchable database of the North American book publishing industry.

First prize for this best first chapter of an unpublished novel competition is $500, the two-volume print version of Literary Market Place, and an interview on the popular podcast The Writing Show. Two second prizes comprise $100 each.

The early deadline is May 15, 2007 with a $35 entry fee; the late deadline is June 15, 2007 with a $45 entry fee. Winners will be announced on November 15, 2007.

Judges, who will provide the critiques, include publishers, editors, reviewers, authors, and other industry professionals. The winning entries will be selected by a celebrity panel that includes best-selling crime fiction author , who writes the Joe Pickett novels set in the U.S. mountain west.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

1. Story. Is it a compelling read with a great hook? Are we engaged?
2. Style. Is the writing smooth and tight, without awkward constructions, extraneous verbiage, and redundancies?
3. Dialog. Is the dialog natural and does it move the story along?
4. Character. Are the characters interesting? Do we care about them?
5. Mechanics. Are grammar, spelling, and punctuation correct?

Rules, instructions for entering, and more detail can be found on The Writing Show Web site at http://writingshow.com/?p=239. Writers can listen to a special podcast about the contest at http://www.writingshow.com/podcasts/Contest_2007.mp3.

The contest is sponsored by The Writing Show and Literary Market Place.

Read the entire press release here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for March 26, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for March 26, 2007A new 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 letters and mystery clue: A B E I L N R T U. Bound for the Riviera, Hercule Poirot finds mystery aboard this elegant transport (with “The”, 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!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Profile: Lisa Scottoline, Framed by Experience

Victor Greto, writing for The News Journal (Wilmington DE), recently profiled native , whose latest book, Daddy's Girl, hit the bestseller lists earlier this month. She has written 14 suspense novels in as many years beginning in 1993, with each of her page-turning works averaging 100,000 words.

Daddy's Girl by Lisa ScottolineGreto writes that on Scottoline's 43 acre farm outside Malvern (PA), it's business as usual. "I finished the next book two days ago," Scottoline says during an early March afternoon. That book, which may be called Old Flame, will come out next year. She also has begun writing a weekly column called "Chick Wit" for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Although she never seriously considered writing for a living, after devouring the works of John Grisham and Scott Turow, Scottoline thought, "These men were doing it, and I'm an actual lawyer. We're more than Della Street. I can do this, too."

It took her five years of rejection and five maxed-out credit cards. Her first book, Everywhere that Mary Went, was published in paperback by HarperCollins in 1993. She says of the characters in her books, "My women are women first, then lawyers. They're fun and sexy, fully-realized women." She smiles, almost shyly. "Men love it."

Read the entire profile on DelawareOnline.com here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Final Paradox by Mary E. Martin

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Final Paradox by Mary E. Martin. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Final Paradox by Mary E. Martin

Final Paradox by Mary E. Martin
An Osgoode Trilogy Mystery

iUniverse (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-595-40760-9 (0595407609)
ISBN-13: 978-0-595-40760-6 (9780595407606)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $17.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Harry Jenkins, an honest lawyer, seeks truth and love in a world darkened by fraud and deceit. Years back, Elixicorp, a company developing a drug to forestall memory loss, defrauded millions from Toronto’s elite. But since then, no one has been able to find the money. This long buried treasure has poisoned the lives of all who seek it.

His elderly client, Norma Dinnick, teeters between lucidity and madness in her dark world of paradoxical claims. When she instructs Harry to sue the other claimants for the Elixicorp shares, one of the litigants is fatally shot in open court at Osgoode Hall. The murder weapon is an ornate, silver pistol, which is both a means of betrayal and a gift of love. Peter Saunderson, an old acquaintance of Harry’s from law school, surfaces to frame his own wife and lover with the courtroom murder and to implicate Harry in the scheme.

Harry and his father have been estranged for years. Stanley is found unconscious at the foot of his cellar steps, a gun in his hand. Waking from his coma, he asks Harry’s forgiveness for a long-buried wrong. This ugly .38 calibre gun becomes the means whereby love and forgiveness is found.

Beset with questions, Harry turns to the beautiful Natasha who guides him to the answers and an understanding of the final paradox.

Review: Mary E. Martin weaves an intricate tale of intrigue and betrayal in Final Paradox, the second entry of the Osgoode Trilogy.

One doesn't so much read Final Paradox as be drawn into it. There are only six or so principal characters, the central, but in many ways least interesting, being Toronto attorney Harry Jenkins. The interlocking relationships between them are only revealed as necessary to further the plot. Martin is effective in keeping extraneous information to a minimum, focusing instead on how a missing stock certificate has influenced and continues to affect the lives of these people.

The certificate, and its whereabouts, is central to the story. At some point in the past, a group of con men made off with millions of dollars of money intended to fund a new drug company, Elixicorp. And then the money, and the shares in the company, disappeared. The man entrusted with both, Arthur Dinnick, died soon after the swindle and his widow, Norma, now elderly and in both poor physical and mental health, seems unable or unwilling to help locate the missing fortune.

The story moves along briskly, with Norma filling in historical details while reminiscing about, or probably more accuractely, retreating to, the past. The most serious plot hole is the "why now?" question. Why, after all these years, is retrieving the shares so important? Why didn't Dinnick's associates take action soon after his death, when presumably they would have been easier to locate? A credible answer can be inferred by the reader, but is never actually presented as fact by the author. And that the book ends without resolving some other plot points doesn't come as a disappointment, for the enjoyment here is in the journey.

Special thanks to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of Final Paradox for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

News: Nancy Drew Movie Sequel Planned

Nancy Drew: Get a ClueVariety is reporting that even before the new Nancy Drew movie hits the screens this summer, producer Jerry Weintraub and director Andrew Fleming have already decided there will be a sequel with Emma Roberts again set to star as the famous teenage sleuth.

Nancy Drew, scheduled to be released on June 15, 2007, has the teen detective accompanying her father on a business trip to Los Angeles, where she happens upon clues to a murder mystery involving a movie star. Nancy's resourcefulness are put to the test when she finds herself in the middle of the fast-living, self-indulgent world of Hollywood.

According to Variety, Weintraub said he set Nancy Drew 2 (for lack of a better title) into motion after studying the release schedule. "There's nothing for girls to go to. I wanted to make something that families go to, or mothers and their daughters," Weintraub said. Nancy Drew 2 is likely to be released in Summer 2008.

To view the trailer for Nancy Drew, see our previous post .

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Press Release: Evil Under the Sun to be Released as PC Game

Games of MysteryToronto, Canada. March 22, 2007. The Adventure Company, the leading publisher of adventure games worldwide, is pleased to announce that it will be releasing Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun for Windows® in October 2007. Based on the novel Evil Under the Sun by the world’s best-known mystery author, this is the third installment in The Adventure Company’s successful Agatha Christie video game series.

Famous detective Hercule Poirot is back in typical style, turning up at just the right time to begin an investigation into the murder of a famous actress during what should have been the start of a relaxing holiday.

Taking on the role of Hercule Poirot, players can scour a stunning tropical island for clues and delve deeper into the mysterious relationships between over 20 unique characters to search out the killer.

There are a number of added features and improvements that have been made to Evil Under the Sun based on player feedback, including a more streamlined inventory system, character dialogue choices that will impact events as the player progresses in the game, less repetitive detective footwork, and more diverse environments and locales to explore.

“Agatha Christie fans will finally get the chance to step into the shoes of famous detective Hercule Poirot,” said Richard Wah Kan, President and CEO of The Adventure Company. “We are thrilled to continue the series based on another world renowned classic by the Queen of Crime.”

AWE Games and Lee Sheldon are teaming up once again. Their goal is to create even more stunning and varied environments for players to explore and enhance their experience by adding a host of new puzzles. Intriguing plot twists will be introduced based on how the player chooses to interact with the cast of colorful characters.

The anticipated ESRB rating is ‘T’ for Teen and the anticipated PEGI rating is 12+. Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun will be Windows® Vista™ compatible.

Please visit the Games of Mystery website which provides information on more of all kinds as well as , , and more!

Return to ...

Mystery Bestsellers for March 23, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending March 23, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Christine Falls by Benjamin BlackNew this week: Christine Falls by Benjamin Black which enters the Barnes & Noble.com bestseller list in 5th place and just misses the top 10 at Amazon.com.

Black, the pen name for Booker-winning author John Banville, introduces Dublin pathologist Quirke who follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society. It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious--and very well-guarded--secrets of Dublin's high Catholic society, among them members of his own family. Publishers Weekly calls Christine Falls "[an] expertly paced debut thriller". Kirkus Reviews adds it is a "good story, and gorgeous writing". (Mystery Books News Editor's note: Mysterious Reviews will publish its review of Christine Falls this weekend.)

The Spellman Files by Lisa LutzAlso new on the lists this week: The Spellman Files by . Meet Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, private investigator. Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). Her latest assignment: a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life. Publishers Weekly calls The Spellman Files a "delicious debut"; Kirkus Reviews agrees, saying it is "a spirited, funny debut ".

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

News: Agatha Award Nominees for 2006

We were reminded by a colleague that we neglected to post the nominees for the Agatha Awards for books published in 2006. The Agatha Awards honor the traditional mystery—books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie—and are awarded annually by Malice Domestic, Ltd. Malice Domestic XIX is scheduled for May 04-06, 2007, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington (VA). (For more information, visit the Malice Domestic website.)

Here are the nominees:

Best First Novel:

Consigned to Death by Jane Cleland, St. Martin’s Minotaur
The Chef Who Died Sauteing by Honora Finkelstein and Susan Smily, Hilliard & Harris
Feint of Art by Hailey Lind, Signet
Murder on the Rocks by Karen MacInerney, Midnight Ink
The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall, Poisoned Pen Press

Best Novel

The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler, Penguin
Why Casey Had to Die by L. C. Hayden, Five Star
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard, Random House
All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming, St. Martin’s Minotaur
Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear, Henry Holt

Reviews of three of these books (Consigned to Death, Feint of Art, and Messenger of Truth) are available on the Mysterious Reviews website.

Click here for a complete list of all nominees in all categories.

Congratulations to all authors, and we'll report on the winners in early May.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

News: Mystery TV Series New on DVD This Week

Mysteries on TVNew television mystery series to be released this week on DVD:

The Wild Wild West, the complete second season, starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin as Secret Service Agents working for President Ulysses S. Grant.The Wild Wild West Season 2 The series ran for 4 seasons.

Admittedly more action adventure than mystery, the series had many suspenseful episodes, especially in the first two seasons.

Conrad played the dashing "James Bond of the West" James T. West while Martin played former con man and master of disguise Artemus Gordon. Together they travelled on their private train to fight various menaces facing the western territories.

The 2nd season, and the first to be broadcast in color, ran for 28 episodes during the 1966/1967 television season on CBS. 7 discs containing the digitally remastered episodes are included with the DVD set.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

Return to ...

Profile: Former Reporter Begins a Round of Fiction

Mary Ann Grossmann, book critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recently profiled , author of a new series of mysteries featuring Minneapolis policeman Sam Skarda. The first in the series, Amen Corner, set at the Masters golf tournament, was recently published by Poisoned Pen Press. [Mystery Books News Editor's note: Read a book review of Amen Corner at Mysterious Reviews.]

Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik"I've been a golfer since I was a kid, had my first lesson when I was 9, and I've played the sport with more or less intensity and accomplishment ever since," says Shefchik, 54, who grew up in Duluth. A 4-handicap player, he adds with a laugh, "Anything in the single digits indicates you've probably spent more time playing golf than you should."

Shefchik, who began his career as a copy editor for the Duluth News-Tribune and was most recently with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, left the newspaper last year to concentrate on writing mysteries. He's working on the second Sam Skarda mystery, this one involving the Red Sox baseball team. Shefchik knows he's got some tough competition in the field of sports mysteries. "Sam's a bit of a tough guy who can keep his mouth shut," he says. "I think I can keep him going."

Read the entire profile on TwinCities.com here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik

Amen Corner by
A Sam Skarda Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-411-2 (1590584112)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-411-8 (9781590584118)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): The body of the Masters rules committee chairman is found in the middle of the 10th fairway on the morning that Sam Skarda arrives at Augusta National Golf Club in to play in his first Masters. Skarda, a 33-year-old police detective on medical leave from the Minneapolis police department, is an accomplished amateur golfer who won the U.S. Publinx and an invitation to play in the Masters while rehabbing a shooting injury suffered on the job.

Evidence left at the crime scene suggests the murder might have been tied to the ongoing protest by a women's group that has been demanding that the club admit women members. Then a crusading New York Times columnist is murdered on the grounds of the club two days later. Local police suspect the murders might have been committed by a member and begin pressuring the new Augusta National president for access to the club's membership information.

The club chairman asks Skarda for help finding the killer before the police thoroughly invade Augusta National's legendary privacy. Skarda looks for answers from members, veteran journalists, longtime caddies and ex-employees who may know why someone is determined to bring this year's Masters to a halt.

He also falls for Caroline Rockingham, the soon-to-be ex-wife of one of the pre-tournament favorites, a former college golf teammate of Skarda's. Sam and Caroline themselves become targets as the murders continue and pressure to cancel the tournament builds. Meanwhile, the killer methodically prepares for a spectacular and deadly Sunday climax.

Review: Sportswriter Rick Shefchik introduces policeman and amateur golfer Sam Skarda in his first published mystery, Amen Corner. Sam, on leave from the Minneapolis police force after being shot in the knee, has been advised by his doctors that walking will help the rehabilitation process. Working up from 3 holes a day to two rounds every other day, Sam discovers he's a good golfer in the process, winning a local competition and receiving an invitation to play in one of golf's most prestigious events, the Masters.

This year's Masters tournament, however, gets off to an inauspicious start when, prior to opening day, one of the board of governors is found murdered on the course, accompanied by a message etched into an adjacent green: "This is the last Masters". Less than 48 hours later, a prominent reporter is also murdered, with a similar message appearing near her body. The police think the murders are related to the golf clubs exclusionary policies, but the chairman of Augusta National, where the Masters is held, believes otherwise and hires Sam to investigate the murders from an insider perspective.

Shefchik takes a Columbo-like approach to his story, introducing the killer, Lee Doggett, in the prologue. Yet this in no way lessens the appeal of the mystery as the author is able, for the most part, to successfully maintain a high level of suspense throughout. The contrast between Doggett and Sam is striking and they provide a formidable adversarial relationship that works well in the context of the book.

Shefchik manages to deftly sidestep the controversy surrounding the Masters in general and the Augusta National Golf Club in particular with respect to the organization's policy of excluding women from its membership. He fairly portrays both sides of the argument without taking sides himself. At one point Sam says, "I believe in the right of private clubs to make their own rules, whether the rest of us like it or not." But he goes on to say, that, all things considered, he'd "... rather belong to a club that had women members."

If there's a weakness to the story, it's the unnecessary inclusion of a love interest for Sam. He's at Augusta to play golf and solve a series of murders. Why the author felt the need to include a romantic interlude that detracts from these objectives is unclear.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Amen Corner for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for March 19, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for March 19, 2007A new 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 letters and mystery clue: A D E G I N R V W. This wisecracking sportswriter is featured in mysteries by Steve Brewer (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!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Profile: Mysteries That Are Always in Good Taste

Mary Ann Grossmann, book critic for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, recently profiled , author of the mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, manager of The Cookie Jar, a bakery in fictional Lake Eden, Minnesota. Each book contains delicious cookie and dessert recipes. Fluke is also a native of Minnesota. Her most recent book, Key Lime Pie Murder, published this month by Kensington Publishing, was the 9th mystery in this series.

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne FlukeAccording to Grossmann, Fluke, 64, was taught how to bake by her mother and grandmother when she was growing up in Swanville (population: 217). Their house was cold in the winter, so Fluke's grandmother would warm the rooms by baking every morning.

She adds that one of Fluke's strengths is her ability to write fully realized secondary characters like Hannah's mother, who chides her daughter about her weight and wants her to get married. And there are the two men who love her — Mike, a detective, and Norman, a dentist and amateur photographer.

Fluke says Norman is an example of how some characters take on a life of their own. "Norman was supposed to be a murder victim in the second book," she admits. "But when Hannah went to a party with him, he was charming. He would not go quietly."

Fluke keeps her series fresh by having her characters grow and change while keeping the tone fairly light.

What will not change is Fluke's commitment to finding the tastiest recipes to include in her books.

Read the entire profile and interview on TwinCities.com here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for March 16, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending March 16, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Daddys Girl by Lisa ScottolineNew this week: Daddy's Girl by which debuts at the top of the Barnes&Noble.com list and at number 5 at Amazon.com.

Natalie Greco loves being a law professor. But when a colleague talks Nat into teaching a class at a local prison, her comfortably imperfect world turns upside down. A violent prison riot breaks out, and in the chaos, Nat rushes to help a grievously injured guard. Before he dies, he asks her to deliver a cryptic message: "Tell my wife it's under the floor." The dying declaration plunges Nat into a nightmare. Suddenly, the girl who has always followed the letter of the law finds herself suspected of a brutal murder. Forced into hiding to stay alive, she sets out to save herself by deciphering the puzzle behind the dead guard's last words . . . and learns the secret behind the greatest puzzle of all—herself.

What the Dead Know by Laura LippmanAlso new on the lists this week: What the Dead Know by . Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness? Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn't a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end. There is only one person who dares to be skeptical of a woman who wants to claim the identity of one Bethany sister without revealing the fate of the other. Will he be able to discover the truth? Publishers Weekly calls What the Dead Know "a superb effort".

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

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.

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mystery Book Review: No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross

No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross
Non-Series

Pocket Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-0166-5 (1416501665)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-0166-4 (9781416501664)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $7.50

Synopsis (from the publisher): homicide detective Kate Delaney fiercely defends victims. Which is why -- despite death threats -- she's testifying to a federal grand jury about local police corruption. It's also why she's infuriated by the police department's blasé attitude toward her estranged sister's death. But pursuing an investigation in a strange city means allying with someone who knows the territory. And the players. Someone with a total disregard for the rules.

As an ex-cop from a police family, New Orleans PI Nick Broussard knows that cops live by their own code. You don't rat out a fellow officer. The last thing he needs is some smart-mouthed, by-the-book outsider unknowingly injecting herself into his undercover search for the truth. Even worse is the way she conjures up visions of tangled sheets.

Nick and Kate's chase pits them against the criminal underworld of the sultry southern city. And as they peel away layers of deadly deception, they discover a dark secret too many are willing to kill to keep.

Review: JoAnn Ross sets her latest romantic thriller, No Safe Place, in post-Katrina New Orleans "where folks have a certain way of doing things".

Chicago homicide detective Kate Delaney travels to New Orleans after she learns her twin sister has committed suicide. Certain her sister was murdered and unfamiliar with the city, she hires a private investigator to assist her in learning the truth. The PI she chooses, Nick Broussard, ex-Navy SEAL and ex-NOPD, seems perfect for the job: he's intelligent, physically fit, motivated, resourceful, good with weapons, and, not necessarily a bad thing, reckless. That they find an immediate mutual physical attraction is a given; will they act on it is another matter. After all, Kate's sister is dead and she has a lot of unanswered questions. The last thing she needs is some Cajun hotshot scrambling her mind.

As a romantic thriller, the emphasis in No Safe Place is heavy on the romance and light on the thrills and suspense. There is almost nothing in the way of atmosphere: Kate and Nick could be on a boat in Seattle, or Bar Harbor, or Miami. This is unfortunate since New Orleans practically synonymous with sensuous and sultry. Character development is non-existent and the plot is mostly recycled. The vast majority of the narrative can be attributed to either Kate or Nick as verbal, mental, or physical interplay. It's a bit tedious in places, but interesting enough to keep the pages turning.

However, where No Safe Place fails is in some sloppy editing. Time frames appear to be arbitrary. Characters forget things that they previously knew. Inconsistencies in the plot, rarely a strong point in this genre anyway, are conveniently overlooked. Fans of the author's previous novels will forgive these lapses; new readers may not.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of No Safe Place for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...

Press Release: Complete International Mystery Writers’ Festival Schedule Announced

(OWENSBORO, KY) The International Mystery Writers’ Festival announces a Special Event Category featuring works from Stuart Kaminsky and Robert S. Levinson plus five finalist screenplays complete the second half of the “Discovering New Mysteries” schedule for the first festival June 12-17. “Discovering New Mysteries” is the only festival to present live, professionally produced performances of new mystery plays and screenplays. The titles of six new stage play finalists were released mid-February, and now the final piece of the mystery festival puzzle is in place. See Press Release for full schedule (PDF format).

The first International Mystery Writers’ Festival, “Discovering New Mysteries,” will be held at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, Ky., from June 12 – 17. Producers, directors, agents, publishers and critics representing national and international theater, television and motion pictures will attend, along with many guest stars, to view the festival’s world premiere of 12 new “live, on stage” works.

The audiences for the festival will help select all of the final winners of the stage plays and screenplays categories. For more information and adescription of the play finalists, visit http://www.newmysteries.org/.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to .

News: New NBC Mystery Series Debut Tonight

Mysteries on TVIn the "Mysteries on TV (but not yet available on DVD)" category, a new half-hour comedy mystery series debuts tonight on NBC at 9:30 PM ET: Andy Barker, P. I. NBC is also making the first six episodes of the series available as streaming video on its website.

Andy Barker, an earnest, hard-working CPA who has succeeded at everything -- until his new accounting business fails to take off. But when he's mistaken for Lew Staziak, the retired private detective who used to occupy his store-front office, Andy embraces the twist of fate and dives into his double life.

The series was created by Conan O'Brien and stars Andy Richter as Andy Barker.

Stay tuned on NBC tonight when the pilot for the new mystery series Raines, an inventive police drama that blends traditional noir storytelling with humor and intrigue, debuts at 10:00 PM ET. Eccentric LAPD Detective Michael Raines (played by Jeff Goldblum) uses his unique imagination to focus on every murder case in such a way that the murder victims actually begin to take shape in front of him. At first, he thinks he's losing his mind, but he then uses the constantly evolving hallucinations -- which are figments of his imagination and not ghosts -- to help him discover the victims' killers. Raines struggles to accept this peculiar gift -- or burden -- and reconcile it with his daily life.

NBC also plans on having episodes of this series available as streaming video on its website, but as of this morning only the pilot was available to view.

Visit the website to discover more television mystery series currently available on DVD.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Press Release: Michael Eisner Launches New Media Studio to Produce World-Class Content for the Internet

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company today announced the formation of Vuguru (www.vuguru.com), an independent studio that will produce and distribute original content for the Internet and emerging digital platforms.

Vuguru’s goal is to be the leader in producing high-quality, story-driven content for the Internet that up until now could only be found in movie theaters or on television.

“In the past few years, the development of exciting and innovative digital media platforms and technologies has outpaced the creation of truly great content,” said Michael Eisner. “Vuguru will produce and showcase original and third party content in all genres and formats to meet the new demands of the evolving media landscape.”

Vuguru’s first production, Prom Queen, is a scripted, serialized mystery told over 80 episodes – each running 90 seconds long. Set against the final two months of the school year, Prom Queen has a blend of love, gossip, and betrayal – all of the twists and turns of high school leading up to the biggest night of any senior’s life: prom night.

Prom Queen’s short-form episodes are designed to be easily viewed on multiple platforms and are aimed at young, early adopters of new media content and technology.

[Mystery Books News Editor's Note: Visit the Prom Queen website to view the video trailer. The 80 episode series is scheduled to begin April 2nd.]

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for March 12, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for March 12, 2007A new 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 letters and mystery clue: A C F J K O R S T. Mysteries written by R. D. Wingfield feature this Denton Division Detective Inspector (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!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Press Release: Northwest Mystery Contest Has Far Reaching Effect

Boise, ID (OPENPRESS) March 10, 2007 -- Only in its third year, the Murder in the Grove Mystery Contest is already making waves. The 2006 winner, M. M. Palmer of Tacoma, Washington, signed with agent, Jo Grossman of Grossman & Holmes Literary Agency in Massachusetts. Grossman, who held pitch sessions with writers during Murder in the Grove 2006, read Palmer’s winning entry, L of a Way to Go, as part of the contest’s prize.

All writers who enter the contest receive detailed feedback on their manuscripts from judges trained by the sponsor of the contest, the Popular Fiction Association of Idaho, Inc. The 2007 winning entry will receive a $50.00 cash prize as well as a critique by Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency in New York City. Sands will present a workshop on pitching and meet with aspiring writers at Murder in the Grove. There’s still time for unpublished mystery, thriller, or suspense writers to meet the March 31, 2007 deadline for the contest. The entry fee is $25.00. Details are available at www.murderinthegrove.com or by sending an SASE to PO Box 4762, Boise, Idaho 83711.

The 2007 winner will be announced during the awards luncheon ceremony at Murder in the Grove, an annual conference for mystery writers and readers, which takes place June 8-9, 2007 at Boise Centre on the Grove. At the same awards luncheon, Robert Crais, bestselling and award winning author, will receive the Bloody Pen Award and present the Keynote Address.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Mystery Book Review: Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass

Flesh and Bone by Jefferson Bass
A Body Farm Mystery

William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-075983-6 (0060759836)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-075983-4 (9780060759834)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Dr. Bill Brockton, the founder of the world-famous Body Farm at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is hard at work on a troubling new case. A young man's battered body has been found in nearby Chattanooga, and it's up to the talented Dr. Brockton to assemble the pieces of the forensic puzzle. Brockton is brought into the case by the rising star of the state's medical examiners, Jess Carter.

Just as they're on the verge of breaking the case open, events take a terrifying turn. Brockton has re-created the Chattanooga death scene at the Body Farm, but a killer tampers with it in a shocking way: placing another corpse at the setting, confusing authorities and putting Brockton's career and life in jeopardy. Soon Brockton himself is accused of the horrific new crime, and the once-beloved professor becomes an outcast. As the net around him tightens, Brockton must use all of his forensic skills to prove his own innocence . . . before he ends up behind bars with some of the very killers he's helped to convict.

Review: Dr. Bill Brockton takes on the role of the victim in Flesh and Bone, the second mystery in the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass (co-authors Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson).

While working on a case with Chattanooga medical examiner Jess Carter, Brockton suddenly finds himself accused of a gruesome murder. His truck was videotaped entering the Body Farm just prior to when and where the victim was found, and forensic evidence conclusively links Brockton with the victim. Hiring his sometime legal adversary but arguably the most successful defense attorney in town as his lawyer, Brockton manages to stay out of jail. Suspended by the university, unable to work on any cases, and convinced that the authorities aren't looking for the real killer, he sets out to prove his innocence with the assistance of a friend in the police department.

Flesh and Bone is an entertaining mystery, even considering the descriptions of dead and decaying bodies that are included every chapter or so. Consider this, reasonably typical, passage: "The head had been simmering for three days down in the Annex before I took it out of the kettle for good. The hot water, bleach, Biz, Downy, and Adolph's Meat Tenderizer had doen their work well: the remaining bits of tissue scrubbed off easily with a toothbrush; the bone had lightened to a deep ivory; and the aroma steaming off of it was like fresh laundry." Of course, he goes on to qualify the definition of "fresh". Since the Body Farm is a real place, and Dr. Bill Brockton is based on a real person (one of the co-authors), there are a lot of authentic details included in this book. Brockton dismisses the fictional Hollywood version of his profession ("... CSI, a show I'd watched only one incredulous time ..."), but ironically seems accepting of the fictional literary version.

Behind all the science, however, is a fairly weak and at times incredible plot. Flesh and Bone opens with two parallel, and ultimately related but not necessarily linked, investigations: the murder of a man found tied to a tree and dressed in women's clothing, and a child pornography case being worked on by Brockton's friend, Art Bohanan of the Knoxville Police Department. Add to this a third investigation when Brockton is arrested for murder. Brockton's prowess in the laboratory and on the Body Farm to discover the truth apparently doesn't extend to solving his own personal dilemma. He stumbles through the story, tripping over obvious clues, and even after unwittingly inviting the killer into his home, Brockton still doesn't get it ... until a gun is pointed at his head.

Forensic mysteries are popular, both on television and in bookstores, and despite a less than satisfactory storyline, it's likely readers will enjoy Flesh and Bone.

Special thanks to HarperCollins for providing a copy of Flesh and Bone for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for March 09, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending March 09, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Christine Falls by Benjamin BlackVery little change near the top of both the Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com hardcover mystery bestseller lists this week. The Watchman by Robert Crais tops both lists.

The notable newcover is Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (John Banville). Set in Dublin and Boston in the 1950s, the first novel in the Quirke series brings all the vividness and psychological insight of Booker Prize winner John Banville's fiction to a thrilling, atmospheric crime story. Publishers Weekly states that Black "... keeps divulging surprises to the last page so that the reader is simultaneously shocked and satisfied." Kirkus Reviews calls Christine Falls "A good story, and gorgeous writing.".

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

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.

Technorati tags: mystery books blogs, , , .

News: Mystery Author Richard Prather Dies

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Richard Prather, author of a series of mysteries featuring former Marine turned private investigator Shell Scott, has died. He was 85.

Prather, who also wrote novels using the pen names of David Knight and Douglas Ring, won a lifetime achievement award from the Private Eye Writers of America in 1986.

Shell Scott was introduced in 1950 in the mystery The Case of the Vanishing Beauty. Over 30 books followed with the most recent one, Shellshock, published in 1987.

Prather, whose wife of more than 60 years died in 2004, is survived by several cousins.

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.

Technorati tags: mystery books blogs, , .

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Profile: The Surfing Sleuth

Burl Burlingame of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin recently profiled and interviewed Chip Hughes, author of the Kai Cooke surfing detective series of mystery books. His most recent book, Wipeout!, published in January 2007 by Island Heritage, was the 2nd mystery in this series after Murder on Moloka'i.

According to his website, Kai Cooke is a licensed private investigator in the state of Hawai‘i. Kai’s sand-toned business card displays a hanging ten surfer and says “Confidential Investigations – All Islands.”

Wipeout by Chip HughesSome highlights from the interview:

Q: Why use surfing as a way to set up a mystery?

A: Surfing is Hawaii's gift to the world. It made sense, then, that a mystery series attempting to capture the local flavor of Hawaii would has a surfer-PI. I thought first of having him be a sailor, but it just didn't click.

Q: How do you build a book?

A: I start with plot ideas hastily written out, then a detailed outline and character profiles, like blueprints for a building. I always know how the book will end before I begin. In some ways you write a mystery backward, starting with the solution and then developing the problem.

Q: Will Kai eventually go off riding into the sunset, or Sunset Beach?

A: Yes, I see Kai, the consummate loner who is always unlucky in love, eventually getting weary of his failed relationships. One day he's going to want to settle down. But when that happens it will bring the end of the series.

Read the entire profile and interview on StarBulletin.com here.

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.

Technorati tags: mystery books blogs, , .

Mystery Book Review: Death of a Maid by M. C. Beaton

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Death of a Maid by M. C. Beaton. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death of a Maid by M. C. Beaton

Death of a Maid by M. C. Beaton
A Hamish Macbeth Mystery

Mysterious Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-89296-010-8 (0892960108)
ISBN-13: 978-0-89296-010-1 (9780892960101)
Publication Date: February 2007
List Price: $23.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Armed with a bucket and mop, Mrs. Gillespie brings misery into the quiet life of Hamish Macbeth when he wins her maid services in a church raffle. He fears she's more likely to snoop than clean, since rumor has it that she damages more items than she dusts.

Yet Macbeth has more upsetting issues to ponder—his former girlfriend, reporter Elspeth Grant, is back in the village for a holiday with her new boyfriend. Then he gets notice that a TV crew plans a documentary on him. Its airing is sure to get him a promotion and transfer to the city—and Hamish Macbeth would rather be boiled in oil than leave the serenity of Lochdubh.

Though lately Macbeth's seeing the squabbling of seagulls and feeling an ill wind coming. Sure enough, Mrs. Gillespie is soon found dead under suspicious circumstances. And as he investigates the case, Elspeth's presence torments the red-haired bobby and drives him to foolish antics. But what should really preoccupy Macbeth are the town's hidden secrets—ones that will force a killer to lash out in deadly, irrevocable acts …

Review: Hamish Macbeth stumbles upon the body of a local house cleaner in Death of a Maid, an amusing entry in this long-running series by M. C. Beaton.

There's much to be said for a typical English, or in this case Scottish, village mystery. They're comfortable, rather predictable, and if done well, are quite enjoyable. Here, Constable Macbeth of the Scottish Highlands village of Lochdubh investigates the murder of Mrs. Gillespie, a maid whose reputation for gossip far exceeds that of her cleaning abilities. Since most everyone is hiding a secret of some sort, the number of suspects is just about equal to the population of the village.

Macbeth quickly confirms this fact soon after he begins interviewing Mrs. Gillespie's clients. When he meets the dead woman's daughter, he asks, "Do you know of anyone who would wish your mother harm?" Her matter-of-fact reply, "Just about everyone." There's something refreshing in the simplicity of the story and how Macbeth goes about the business of eliminating suspects and building a case against the killer.

Where the story goes astray is in a secondary plot involving attempts on Macbeth's life. No doubt intended by Beaton to be a red herring of sorts to the main plot, it never rings true. Worse, after capturing the culprit who killed Mrs. Gillespie and presumably bringing about an end to the mystery of the Death of a Maid, the book goes on for another 50 or so pages to wrap up the subplot. The author redeems herself, however, in the epilogue with a clever resolution to an unsolved aspect of the case.

Special thanks to Hachette Book Group for providing an ARC of Death of a Maid for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Technorati tags: mystery books blogs, , , , . Omnimystery keyword(s) referenced: Scotland.

Monday, March 05, 2007

News: Mystery TV Series New on DVD This Week

Mysteries on TVNew television mystery series to be released this week on DVD:

Moonlighting: Season Five, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.Moonlighting: The 5th and Final Season The series ran for 5 seasons.

When the accountant for former fashion model Maddie Hayes (Shepherd) skips town with her money, she finds that one of her remaining assets is the Blue Moon Detective Agency, managed by David Addison (Willis). Rather than sell the company, she decides on a career change and enters the business of private investigations.

The 5th and final season of Moonlighting ran for 13 episodes during the 1988/1989 television season on ABC. 3 discs are included with the DVD set. Extra features include the original screen tests for Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.

Hawaii Five-O: Season One, starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, head of an elite state police unit.Hawaii Five-O: Season 1 The series ran for 12 seasons.

The series was filmed entirely in Hawaii, and was one of the most popular television dramas of the 1970s, with crisply written episodes and stylish production values. The criminals featured weren't always caught at the end of each episode, and several had recurring roles throughout the series. Master spy Wo Fat, McGarrett's nemesis, was featured through the final season.

The 1st season of Hawaii Five-O ran for 22 episodes (including two 2-part episodes) during the 1968/1969 television season on CBS. 7 discs are included with the DVD set. The opening episode, Cocoon, was originally shown as a pilot movie.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more television mystery series currently available on DVD.

Technorati tags: mystery news, , , .

 

Omnimystery Blog Archive

Total Pageviews (last 30 days)

About Omnimystery News

My photo

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.

Page/Post Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Omnimystery News

Omnimystery News
Original Content Copyright © 2016 — Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites — All Rights Reserved
Guest Post Content (if present) Copyright © 2016 — Contributing Author — All Rights Reserved