Tuesday, May 29, 2007

News: Rankin Reveals Subject of Libretto

More news from The Guardian Hay Festival ...

Last month we reported that Ian Rankin had agreed to write a libretto for a new opera by composer Craig Armstrong. (Read more here.)

We now know the subject of that libretto. As reported by Guardian Arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins, Rankin has revealed that the opera will be a grisly historical tale of betrayal and murder.

"It's a true story of a 16th-century Italian nobleman who killed his wife, his wife's lover, and his son, because he thinks he might be a bastard," said Rankin. "He repents but he is eventually killed by his second wife."

The opera will be one of six 15-minute operas, all by writers new to the genre, to be staged in a single evening by Scottish Opera. "It will be a sort of Opera Idol," added Rankin. "The audience will get to vote on the one they want to be turned into a full-length opera. I'm just hoping I don't win that one."

Read the entire article on Guardian.co.uk here where there is additional information on Rankin continuing the Rebus series after his next book in which the Scottish detective retires.

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.

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Mystery Book Review: Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception by Lois Winston. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Love, Lies, and a Double Shot of Deception by Lois Winston

Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception by Lois Winston
Non-Series

Love Spell (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-505-52719-7 (0505527197)
ISBN-13: 978-0-505-52719-6 (9780505527196)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Life has delivered one sucker punch after another to Emma Wadsworth. As a matter of fact, you could say the poor little rich girl is the ultimate poster child for Money Can’t Buy Happiness — even if she is no longer a child.

Billionaire real estate stud Logan Crawford is as famous for his less-than-platinum reputation as he is his business empire. In thirty-eight years he’s never fallen in love, and that’s just fine with him — until he meets Emma.

But Emma’s not buying into Logan’s seductive ways. Well, maybe just a little, but she’s definitely going into the affair with her eyes wide open. She’s no fool. At least not any more. Her deceased husband saw to that. Besides, she knows Logan will catch the first jet out of once he learns her secrets.

Except things don’t go exactly as Emma has predicted. When the caca hits the fan, and Emma is accused first of her husband’s crimes, then his murder, Logan not only hangs around, he becomes her staunchest defender. That’s when Emma discovers her inner Sidney Bristow and sets out to expose the truth and clear her name.

Review: Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception by Lois Winston is the story of a very wealthy widow, Emma Wadsworth, known as the "Princess of Philadelphia.” Although she seems to have everything, she feels she has nothing. Her late husband married her for her money and prestige, then mentally abused her with threats of all kind should she leave him. Enter Logan Crawford who seems to have it all: he's very good looking and, oh by the way, a billionaire. When he and Emma meet it is instant true love for both. Though Logan wants a commitment from Emma, she backs away because she has secrets from her past that she has told no one. But someone out there knows her secrets and is determined to tell all and ruin her life.

The marketing blurbs for Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception ("smart, witty fun” and “a whimsical love story”) didn't prepare me for what I read between the covers. I found the book to be quite dark with an excess of sex, drugs, hate, jealousy, anger, blackmail and revenge. With few exceptions, notably Emma and the mayor and his wife, the characters would seem to be more appropriately situated in ("Sin City") rather than Philadelphia ("The City of Brotherly Love").

I'm sure there are readers who will enjoy this kind of book. But call me old-fashioned: I wouldn't want to see my daughter reading it.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Love, Live and a Double Shot of Deception and to Book Trends for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Monday, May 28, 2007

News: Inspector Rebus to Retire ... But May Return

Reuters is reporting that Scottish mystery author Ian Rankin, creator of the acclaimed Inspector Rebus series, will retire his hard-drinking detective hero this year but he might well be back to tackle unsolved cases.

Attendees at The Guardian Hay Festival which runs from May 24th through June 3rd in Hay-on-Wye in Wales were told by Rankin that Rebus would reach mandatory retirement age in the next book scheduled for publication in September.

"There is every possibility that Rebus could be brought back to investigate cases that have not been cleared up," Rankin said. "I don't get the sense yet that the Rebus books are running out of steam." The most recent book in the series, , was the 16th mystery to feature the Scottish detective.

Read the entire article on WashingtonPost.com here.

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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for May 28, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 28, 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 F G I L M N O S. This 1992 book was the second crime caper novel by (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, May 27, 2007

Author Interview: Mary E. Martin, The Osgoode Trilogy

Mysterious ReviewsWe recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mary E. Martin, author of the Osgoode Trilogy featuring Toronto lawyer Harry Jenkins. The third and final book in the series, A Trial of One, is scheduled for publication later this year.

An excerpt from our conversation appears below; the entire text of our appears on our website.

Mysterious Reviews: Tell us a bit about the trilogy.

Ms. Martin: Harry Jenkins is a most unlikely hero. He’s a middle-aged lawyer, who feels with dead certainty that life is passing him by. Trapped under his senior partner’s thumb and stuck in a dead marriage, he is desperate for change—almost any change.

The three novels span a period of eighteen months in Harry’s life. In that time frame, he grows from a frustrated, tentative man, beset by doubts and worries to one who is able to live with energy, passion and conviction.

Why a trilogy?

Actually, I didn’t set out to write a trilogy. I just had one book in mind. But, I became so engrossed in the character of Harry Jenkins that I felt he deserved lots more space. Harry is a very human guy with plenty of flaws. I like to think that almost everyone can identify with him. He represents [most of the time] our honest, reasonable selves trying to figure life out.

Why did you choose self publishing?

The latest figure I read was—one percent of all manuscripts sent to traditional publishers were in fact published. Those odds are likely better than winning a lottery, but they are not very encouraging. With publishing on demand [POD], you retain the copyright in your work and that, I think, is worth something. As well, I think that the whole publishing industry, including distribution, is in a period of massive change. My publisher, iUniverse is partly owned by Barnes and Noble. From that you can see how the lines between production and distribution are blurring. In another five years, I expect the POD technology will be used throughout the publishing industry and there will be a greater integration of production and distribution.

You practiced law before turning to writing. What are your thoughts on mid-life career change?

Actually, I was writing for about the last ten years of my twenty-eight years of practice and so, by the time I retired from law, I had drafts of two of the three novels completed. But, I think, if you possibly can, you must find a way to follow your passion. If you don’t, then I think something important “dies” in you. Also, I think we often become stale in our work after twenty or thirty years and really do need a change. So keep on writing and never give up.

For the latest in 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.

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Profile: U.P. Author Publishes Second Mystery

Jane Nordberg, writing for The Daily Mining Gazette of , recently conducted an interview with local author , whose 2nd mystery to feature reporter and amateur sleuth Robin Hamilton is being published this month.

In , Robin spies a dusty old scrapbook in a bookstore with a cover photo of a young girl with golden brown eyes. Inside, newspaper clippings from regional newspapers cover the girl's sudden disappearance on her last day of school in 1974. Robin’s journalist instincts come alive and she starts asking questions about the scrapbook and the girl whose body was never found.

Nordberg notes that Barr introduces a new character in this book, Aunt Gina, that will provide Hamilton with the impetus to deal with the early loss of her mother and the murder of her fiance; two events that she is unwilling to face.

“Robin has not dealt well with her loss,” Barr said. “In fact, she hasn’t dealt with it at all. Aunt Gina helps her learn that it’s okay to open up and break through.” Barr also adds that Page One: Vanished is considerably darker than her first book.

Barr is already at work on the third book in the series, called Page One: White Out. The title refers to the U.P.’s legendary winters as well as its drug trade. For that novel, Barr will draw upon her experiences as a reporter with the Daily Press, where she covered drug cases on the law enforcement beat.

Read the rest of the interview with Nancy Barr on MiningGazette.com here.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Murdering Americans by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Murdering Americans by Ruth Dudley Edwards. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Murdering Americans by Ruth Dudley Edwards

Murdering Americans by
A Robert Amiss Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-413-9 (1590584139)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-413-2 (9781590584132)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Academia (n.): a profession filled with bad food, knee-jerk liberalism, and murder...

Being a member of the House of Lords and Mistress of St Martha’s College in Cambridge might seem enough to keep anyone busy, but Baroness (Jack) Troutbeck likes new challenges. When a combination of weddings, work, and spookery deprives her of five of her closest allies, she leaps at an invitation to become a Distinguished Visiting Professor on an American campus.

With her head full of romantic fantasies inspired by 1950s Hollywood, and accompanied by Horace, her loquacious and disconcerting parrot, this intellectually-rigorous right-winger sets off from England blissfully unaware that academia in the United States is dominated by knee-jerk liberalism, contempt for Western civilization, and the institutionalisation of a form of insane political-correctness.

Will the bonne viveuse Baroness Troutbeck be able to cope with the culinary and vinous desert that is New Paddington, ? Can this insensitive and tactless human battering-ram defeat the thought-police who run Freeman State University like a gulag? Does she believe the late Provost was murdered? If so, what should she do about it? And will she manage to persuade Robert Amiss—who describes himself bitterly as Watson to her Holmes and Goodwin to her Nero Wolfe—to abandon his honeymoon and fly to her side?

Review: Murdering Americans is the politically incorrect title of the 11th mystery in the Robert Amiss (and "Jack" Troutbeck) series by Ruth Dudley Edwards.

Those who attended college in the fifties no doubt have vivid memories of their experiences being a combination of academic hard work and youthful pleasure. From the sixties to the present day, we have watched our children and grandchildren attend the colleges of their choice. Reading this fictionalized story escorts the reader into a new reality.

Murdering Americans takes place in a solidly built, nice looking college in the abandoned steel town of New Paddington, Indiana. The college, Freeman State University, has deteriorated over the years from the principles on which it was founded, that is the teachings of math, science, and history, freedom of speech, diversity of thought and integration, and so on. Political Correctness (with a capital "PC") has become their crushing ideology. The only competition permitted by this college is who is the greater victim.

Baroness "Jack" Troutbeck, though quite busy being a member of the House of Lords and the Mistress of St. Martha’s College in Cambridge, is always eager to face a new challenge should one present itself. To her surprise and delight she has been invited to America as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. She readily accepts, leaves London and flies off to America, and on to Freeman State University. The Baroness imagined the American colleges to be as she had viewed them in the movies of the fifties. What a shock to find them bastions of the liberal elite who have contempt for all things Western and who preside over not an institute of higher learning but one of political correctness. To some, no doubt, they are one and the same.

Jack is a brilliant, witty, and rather nice lady who is kind to animals. But she is a complainer when things don't quite go her way. Her plane was late because someone had to check Horace, her parrot, to make sure he was not carrying bird flu, and that he was not a terrorist because of some of the language he was using. Her chauffeur, Betsy, drove on the wrong side of the road. After a fourteen-hour trip, she wanted a little “pick-me-up” from a bar, any bar. But it was Sunday and there no bars open, even in the hotel. Her accommodations were unsatisfactory as they overlooked an active train track. Then there's the tasteless American food. She enticed the hotel’s chef and his wife to prepare food just for her, with, of course, the right wine. And all this on her first day in the US. On Monday she started in on the academic studies provided for the students. She found that this college did not offer the standard courses in literature and science but instead an array of programs in political correctness. Because Christian Americans are at the root of the world's problems, students need only to study the backgrounds and cultures of blacks, gays and lesbians, Muslims, Jews, and other oppressed minorities to understand why all countries in the world hate America.

During her stay, the Baroness is involved in four murders of which she has been inconveniently accused. She immediately calls for her friend in need, Robert Amiss, who flies to her side to help her solve the crimes.

Baroness Jack is a delightful character and with Robert at her side they make a perfect duo in this entertaining and witty book. At the end of Murdering Americans they not only solve the mystery of the murders, but also extract a promise from the founder of the University to turn it around and once again make it into a truly credible college.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Murdering Americans and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Mystery Bestsellers for May 25, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending May 25, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The Overlook by Michael ConnellyThe top 5 are the same at both Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com this week, including a new mystery at the top of both: , the 13th entry in the Harry Bosch mystery series by which began as a 16-part serialized novel in The New York Times. Harry's first case as a member of the LAPD Homicide Special Unit involves the murder of a doctor with access to radioactive cesium. The investigation moves to red-alert status when it's discovered that a large quantity of the deadly material disappeared shortly before the killing. With the threat of an imminent terrorist attack hovering in his head, Bosch must not only track down the killers but also sidestep homeland security turf wars in the process. Though a slim novel at half the length of Connelly's previous novels, Publishers Weekly states "[Connelly] spares no punches when it comes to complexity and suspense."

Lethally Blond by Kate WhiteAlso new this week: Lethally Blond by Kate White. Whenever a celebrity throws a phone, crashes a car, or kills a spouse, celebrity journalist Bailey Weggins is there to cover it for the gossip magazine Buzz. Now, the new television show Morgue is the talk of the town, and its star, Chris Wickersham, calls Bailey when his fellow actor on the show goes missing and no one seems to be alarmed. When Bailey starts to investigate as a favor for Chris, she soon realizes there is much more to the disappearance than meets the eye, and unless she can unearth the truth, she could become the inspiration for Morgue's next episode. Publishers Weekly states "... this trendy romantic suspense cocktail [is] an addictive read."

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Press Release: Scratches Director's Cut PC Game Released

Games of MysteryWeston, CT – May 23, 2007 - Got Game Entertainment LLC today announced that Scratches: Director's Cut, an expanded “one-year anniversary” edition of the successful mystery-adventure game for the PC has shipped to retail across North America. This extended edition includes an exciting new chapter in the story (“The Last Visit”), an alternate original ending, new clues to understanding the story, new, revealing thoughts from the main character in “Michael Diary”, higher supported resolution, and a new default control method with fixed mouse, FPS-like movement. Scratches: Director’s Cut makes its retail debut at $19.99 (USD) and is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference/Blood/Mild Language/Mild Violence.
Scratches: Director's Cut
In Scratches: Director’s Cut, dark legends surround the old abandoned Blackwood Manor, secluded in the northern wastelands. For horror writer Michael Arthate, this cold, solitary atmosphere is fodder for his restless imagination. But Michael soon finds himself drawn into a mystery beyond even his wildest imagination. Players join Michael in this suspenseful adventure, exploring beautiful and chilling environments, prowling dark corners and solving puzzles leading to the solution to a tale begun with obsession and ending with madness and murder.

Scratches: Director’s Cut features a careful combination of inventory-based and deductive-style puzzles, integrated with a riveting storyline, non-linear gameplay, intricately detailed graphics, and an entrancing soundtrack, immersing players in a haunting gothic atmosphere.

“For those who believed there might be more to the Blackwood Manor story, Scratches: Directors’ Cut reveals how very much more,” said Got Game President Howard Horowitz.

For more information, visit www.ScratchesMystery.com.

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

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Blood Matters by Taffy Cannon

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Blood Matters by Taffy Cannon. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Blood Matters by Taffy Cannon

Blood Matters by
A Roxanne Prescott Mystery

Perservance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-86-3 (1880284863)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-86-5 (9781880284865)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Everybody loved adoption guru Sam Brennan, a compulsive collector who made his life’s work the creation of adoptive families and the reunion of birth relatives—until somebody beat him to death with a statuette of Michael Jackson. Homicide Detective Roxanne Prescott takes on the baffling murder and looks for answers in Brennan’s contradictory past, among the women who loved him, and in the business deals that formed the framework of his rags-to-riches life and death.

Review: After a nearly 7 year absence, Taffy Cannon brings back Roxanne Prescott in Blood Matters, the second mystery in this series featuring the San Diego homicide detective.

The wealthy community of Rancho Santa Fe is known for its horse ranches, orchards, and massive homes. It isn't known for murder, and when one of its residents is brutally killed, the San Diego Sheriff's Department is assigned to the case. Sam Brennan, a self-made millionaire, was the founder of Adoption Central, an organization that not only arranged adoptions but reunited birth parents and their children, was found beaten to death. As Roxanne and her team probe his murder, they uncover an unusual fact: Sam Brennan was dying of cancer and had only a few months to live. Why would someone risk killing Sam when he had so little time left?

There are no shortage of suspects, from ex-wives and current lovers to business associates and clients. Cannon deftly handles all these characters well giving each a potential motive for wanting Sam dead then providing them with alibis for the time of the murder. An inveterate collector of the sometimes arcane and obscure, Sam's home was filled with objet d'art that the author cleverly uses as clues that eventually point to the killer.

Towards the end of the book, Roxanne summarizes all the suspects on a whiteboard for review. With so many characters, it's unrealistic to expect readers to remember each and every one. Yet with this simple act, so rarely practiced by today's mystery authors, Cannon allows readers to participate in the denouement instead of just following along.

After such a terrific setup and delivery, the identity of the killer is a bit of a disappointment if only because it is, ironically, so predictable (alibi notwithstanding). This objection, however, is a relatively minor point in an otherwise outstanding mystery.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Blood Matters for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for May 21, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 21, 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 E G H L N O R. This was the second mystery by to feature private investigator Streeter (with “A”, 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, May 20, 2007

Mystery Book Review: What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake

What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake
A John Dortmunder Mystery

Warner Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-446-58240-9 (0446582409)
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-58240-7 (9780446582407)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): All it takes is a few underhanded moves by a tough ex-cop named Eppick to pull Dortmunder into a game he never wanted to play. With no choice, he musters his always-game gang and they set out on a perilous treasure hunt for a long-lost gold and jewel-studded chess set once intended as a birthday gift for the last Romanov czar, which unfortunately reached Russia after that party was over.

From the moment Dortmunder reaches for his first pawn, he faces insurmountable odds. The purloined past of this precious set is destined to confound any strategy he finds on the board. Success is not inevitable with John Dortmunder leading the attack, but he's nothing if not persistent, and some gambit or other might just stumble into a winning move.

Review: Donald E. Westlake brings Dortmunder back in What's So Funny?, the 13th mystery in this series featuring New York City's master criminal.

This is a “historical” account of the events following the theft of a long lost jeweled and gold chess set. This set was to be given to the Russian Czar at the close of World War I. The Russian Revolution following the war thwarted that plan. The men commissioned to deliver it, four American soldiers, not knowing what to do with it, decided to take it back to America. The plan was they would sell it and reap the profits, thought to be in the millions. Only one of the soldiers was responsible for the transaction. He kept the set and ran, using it as collateral to start a business and became a multimillionaire. Six decades later, only one of the soldiers is still alive and he wants to know just what happened to that chess set. With the help of his granddaughter, and ex-policeman, and an almost ex-thief, the search begins.

What a concept, four young men coming home from the war with an item that will make them all very wealthy! What dreams they must have had for their futures. For three of the men their dreams were just that: dreams. For one, it rolled into the building of an empire. Mr. Hemlow, an octogenarian, the only surviving soldier, hires private investigator Johnny Eppick, an ex-NYPD detective, to find this treasure. Eppick in turn hires John Dortmunder, once a big time burglar who is now trying to stop his thieving ways, to do his legwork. Dortmunder brings in his old crime gang and the search begins.

The title of the book just begs to ask the question, what’s so funny about What's so Funny? Quite a lot. The repartee between Mr. Hemlow and Eppick and between Eppick and Dortmunder for starters. Even the banter between Dortmunder and his bumbling gang of thieves is enough to make it funny. But Westlake brings in other capricious characters such as a young precocious couple, Mr. Hemlow’s granddaughter, attorneys with a prestigious law firm, some who involved with the search of the chess set, and others having no idea about it, all of whom add to the humor.

Elements of wit, banality, or well-known puns are on just about every page. These will bring a smile and maybe even laughter to the reader. Enjoy this latest Dortmunder: it’s a keeper!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of What's So Funny? and to Hachette Book Group for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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News: Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone in Sea Change on CBS Tuesday

Mysteries on TVFor those of you who are not following American Idol this season, be sure to tune in to CBS this Tuesday for the made-for-television movie Sea Change, the fourth entry in this series featuring Tom Selleck as Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone. (At the very least, videotape or TiVo it!)

Jesse Stone: Death in ParadiseIn what is clearly inspired casting, Tom Selleck is brilliant as Jesse Stone. And, in contrast to other series characters that are brought to either the big or small screen, this series continues to improve with each release. In Sea Change, Stone pursues a cold case, re-opening the 12-year-old murder of a local bank teller. A parallel mystery involves the alleged rape aboard a yacht in the area for the annual regatta.

The second and third movies in this series, Jesse Stone: Night Passage and Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise will be released on DVD early next month.

Jesse Stone: Night PassageNight Passage was the first in this series of mysteries by Parker. It introduced Jesse Stone, a former LA homicide detective who left to become the police chief of the small New England town of Paradise. As the second movie filmed, it is considered a "pre-quel" to Stone Cold, the first movie in the series.

Death in Paradise has Stone investigating the death of a teenage girl found floating in a local lake. As he learns more about the girl's unhappy past, he finds himself being obsessed with the case and is determined to bring the girl's killer to justice.

Remember to tune into CBS this Tuesday, May 22nd, at 9 PM (ET/PT) for Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone in Sea Change.

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

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for May 18, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending May 18, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Invisible Prey by John SandfordNew this week: Invisible Prey, the 17th entry in the Lucas Davenport mystery series by John Sandford. In the richest neighborhood of Minneapolis, two elderly women lie murdered in their home, killed with a pipe, the rooms tossed, only small items stolen. It is clearly the random work of someone looking for money to buy drugs. But as Davenport looks more closely, he begins to wonder whether the items are actually so small and the victims so random-if there might not be some invisible agenda at work here. Gradually, a pattern begins to emerge, and it leads him to . . . certainly nothing he ever expected. Which is too bad, because the killers-and, yes, there is more than one of them-the killers are expecting him. Publishers Weekly calls Invisible Prey "an intriguing puzzle."

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee ChildAlso new at the top of the charts this week: Bad Luck and Trouble, the 11th Jack Reacher thriller by Lee Child. From , a woman from his old military unit finds Reacher using a signal only the eight members of their elite team of army investigators would know. She tells him a terrifying story—about the brutal death of a man they both served with. Soon Reacher is reuniting with the survivors of his old team, scrambling to raise the living, bury the dead, and connect the dots in a mystery that is growing darker by the day. The deeper they dig, the more they don’t know: about two other comrades who have suddenly gone missing—and a trail that leads into the neon of and the darkness of international terrorism. Kirkus Reviews predicts that no one "... will turn in a tighter-plotted, richer-peopled, faster-paced page-turner this year."

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

The Green Mill Murder by
A Phyrne Fisher Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-240-3 (1590582403)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-240-4 (9781590582404)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things --dancing at the Green Mill ('s premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone's Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she's wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne--especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is.

The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly, in the middle of "Bye Bye Blackbird" a figure slumps to the ground. No shot was heard. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the missile missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates.

This leads her into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the the sky, as she follows a complicated family tragedy of the great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove.

Phryne flies her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Autralian Alps, where she meets a hermit with a dog called Lucky and a wombat living under his bunk....and risks her life on the love between brothers.

Review: The Green Mill Murder is, chronologically, the fifth mystery in the Phryne Fisher series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood, though the tenth published by Poisoned Pen Press.

It is the 1920s and the Great War is over. It is now the time for laughter, music, dancing, beer and wacky cocktails. Phryne Fisher, an anything goes lady, spends an evening at her favorite dance hall, The Green Mill. There is a continuing dance marathon going on as she and her escort dance to the music of Tintagel Stone’s Jazzmakers. In view of the band, the marathoners and the casual dancers, one of the dancers falls and is dead before hitting the floor. No one witnessed the man being stabbed in his heart. The police are called but no one can or will tell them anything. Phryne’s escort actually runs away from the scene and goes into hiding. Because Phryne is an investigator she is asked by the police to help solve this crime.

The mother of Charlie, Phryne’s escort, hires her to find Charlie before the police do, and bring him home. While she’s doing this, the mother tells her she has another son who ran away right after the war and she would appreciate it if she would she look for him. She doesn’t know where to look and she doesn’t even know if he’s still alive or if he is dead.

So, Phryne has three mysteries to solve: who murdered the dancer, where is Charlie, and where is his brother?

Kerry Greenwood makes Melbourne, Australia, come to life in the 1920s. Phryne Fisher is a wealthy woman living in comfort with servants, driving a very large car (actually she is chauffeured most of the time), and a two seated airplane that she loves to fly herself. She wears beautiful expensive dresses with shoes and hats to match. Her jewelry is exquisite.

She has investigated and helped to solve a number of cases with the police so the problem of the murder on the dance floor, plus the two missing brothers is not unusual for her.

Phryne leaps into these mysteries with courage, intelligence and humor. She is a funny, fun-loving lady, with just a tad of “blue” humor. On the ground and in the air, Phryne goes to any length to solve these cases.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Green Mill Murder and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Press Release: Mystery Author Don Bruns Wins National Book Award

Ipswich, MA (PRWEB) May 16, 2007 -- South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns has been awarded top honors in the mystery/suspense/thriller category of the National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards. Sponsored by PubInsider magazine, the awards celebrate excellence in independent publishing.South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

Published by Oceanview Publishing (1-933515-02-3, $24.95), is the third release in Bruns' music murder mystery series featuring rock and roll journalist Mick Sever. Someone is about to make a killing in the music industry. Why would songwriting legend Gideon Pike mysteriously disappear when he is about to turn his 30-year career into a multi-million dollar profit? Back and looking for answers, Mick Sever lands in the middle of a Miami music murder mystery. Drawing on his insider's view of the music industry, Bruns skillfully and seamlessly weaves an intriguing tale of what's really behind the music.

is a musician, advertising executive and award-winning novelist who divides his time between Ohio and Florida. His next book, Stuff to Die For will be released by Oceanview on September 1, 2007.

For more information, read the entire press release here.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

News: ABC Picks Up Women's Murder Club

ABC Television made it official this week: the network is picking up the drama series Women's Murder Club for the Fall 2007 television season. The series is based on the James Patterson novels about four women who chase serial killers in .

The 6th Target by James PattersonCoincidentally, or not, The 6th Target, the 6th entry in the Woman's Murder Club series by James Patterson was published this month. As with all recent Patterson novels, it immediately hit the top of the bestseller lists.

Summary information for the new ABC series:

Women's Murder Club (20th Century Fox TV)
Exec Producers: Liz Craft, Sarah Fain, Brett Ratner, James Patterson, Joe Simpson
Cast: Laura Harris, Aubrey Dollar, Angie Harmon, Rob Benedict, Elizabeth Ho
Logline: Four girlfriends solve tough murder cases. Based on James Patterson's series of mystery books.

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.

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Mysteries on TV: Banacek and The Rockford Files

Mysteries on TVTelevision series being released this week on DVD:

Banacek Season 1Banacek: Season 1 featured George Peppard as the insurance investigator who collected a finder's fee (10% of the insured value) for solving seemingly impossible thefts (or scams) of valuable objects. The series was one of the rotating NBC Mystery Movies that included , , and .

The series consisted of a pilot and 16 episodes aired over two seasons between September 1972 and March 1974.

This DVD set includes the 8 episodes comprising the first season, excluding the pilot, on 2 disks. TV Guide has acquired the rights to distribute the series and has made the aesthetically questionable (read "tacky") decision to use a TV Guide inspired illustration as a cover for the DVD.

The Rockford Files Season 4The Rockford Files: Season 4 featured James Garner as Jim Rockford, a Los Angeles private investigator who lived in a trailer on a Malibu beach parking lot.

The Rockford Files, generally regarded as one of the finest private eye series of the 1970s, aired on NBC for 6 seasons from 1974 through 1980.

This DVD set includes 21 episodes from the 4th season on 5 disks. Also included is a bonus episode starring Tom Selleck in a role that ultimately became the foundation for the series

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

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Profile: Southern Vampire Mysteries Author Charlaine Harris

Kerry Lengel, writing for The Arizona Republic, recently published an interview with author , whose 7th mystery in the Southern Vampire series with Sookie Stackhouse was published this month. Harris is also the author of several other mystery series including one featuring Georgia realtor Aurora Teagarden, the "Shakespeare" series with housecleaner Lily Bard, and the "Grave" series with Harper Connelly.

In , Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit in where Sookie must make a decision that may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

Harris sold the television rights to her character for an HBO series under development. Mystery Books News reported in February that Anna Paquin has been signed to play Sookie Stackhouse in the series, True Blood.

Lengel: One of the secrets to a successful series is a good name for your main character. Where did "Sookie Stackhouse" come from?

Harris: Sookie was my grandmother's best friend's nickname. It's a very Southern nickname. People use it as short for Susan or Sister. It just sounded like an old-fashioned Southern girl for me. Stackhouse is not an uncommon name in our area, and it just seemed to be euphonious with Sookie. It's all about the sound.

Lengel: What about your vampire myth is unique?

Harris: The more unique feature is that mine are funny. In fact, my agent was very skeptical when I first pitched the series to him. He said, "Oh, yes, everyone knows vampires are such a hoot." But I think what makes mine different is that it's a blend of that humor and a lot of gore and action - and a little sex.

Lengel: Do you have a taxonomy that spells out how many species of shape-shifter or bloodsucker are in your universe?

Harris: Every now and then I throw in something new because it's just a lot of fun writing these. I've got the werewolves and even a werebat, pure shape-shifters, fairies, a demon or two and a goblin.

Read the rest of the interview with Charlaine Harris on AZCentral.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.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for May 14, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 14, 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 E H I J N O S. features this homicide detective in his crime novel Broken Shore (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!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for May 11, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending May 11, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The 6th Target by James PattersonNew this week: The 6th Target, the 6th entry in the Woman's Murder Club series by James Patterson. When a horrifying attack leaves one of the four members of the Women's Murder Club struggling for her life, the others fight to keep a madman behind bars before anyone else is hurt. And Lindsay Boxer and her new partner in the police department run flat-out to stop a series of kidnappings that has electrified the city: children are being plucked off the streets together with their nannies-- but the kidnappers aren't demanding ransom. Just when everything appears momentarily under control, the case takes a terrifying turn, putting an entire city in lethal danger.

Also new this week: the 7th mystery in the Joe Pickett series, Free Fire by , and a debut historical mystery, Ghostwalk by .

We've upgraded our website to allow you to easily purchase any bestselling mystery book featured on our site over the past 8 months. Let us know what you think!

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.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Glitter of Diamonds by N. J. Lindquist

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Glitter of Diamonds by N. J. Lindquist. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Glitter of Diamonds by N. J. Lindquist

Glitter of Diamonds by
A Manzuik and Ryan Mystery

Murder Will Out Mysteries (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9685495-9-4 (0968549594)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9685495-9-9 (9780968549599)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): After Stasey Simon, an outspoken sports talk-show host, asks on-air for a volunteer to knock some sense into the home team’s temperamental new pitcher, Manziuk and Ryan hustle to catch a murderer swinging a lethal bat before the case escalates into an international incident.

Review: Glitter of Diamonds, the second mystery in the Manziuk and Ryan series by N. J. Lindquist, concerns the hopes and dreams, plus the disappointments and heartaches, of a major league baseball team. We learn about the women and men of the sports news media who follow the members of the team, even into the locker rooms to try to get a story. Some write columns in the daily newspaper. Others have sports station talk shows. These people can be brutal.

For those readers who don’t know too much about major league baseball except that it’s a little boy’s game played by men who make an awful lot of money doing it, the author tells us much about these players and their game. There’s an unwritten code: players should be nice guys who are role models and play fair. There are, however, players who are not nice, and who are lousy role models, and who do not play fair. This is a story about one of those players.

The general management of the Toronto Matrix bought and brought from Cuba a player who they thought was a fantastic pitcher – Rico Velasquez. Because of him the team had a good chance to make it all the way to the World Series. But, a murderer has other ideas. He lurks in the Matrix bullpen waiting for Rico and hits him in the back of the head with a baseball bat. This sets the story into action.

Although this reviewer very seldom watches a baseball game, listens to a talk show sportscaster, or ever read anything on the sports page of the newspaper, this book was written in such a way that it's possible for someone like myself to enjoy the story. Ontario police detectives Paul Manziuk and Jacqueline Ryan—he’s the white, seasoned police veteran, while she’s a recently promoted, young, inexperienced black woman— are pushed to the limit to solve this case, plus another murder similar to Rico’s, and two attempted murders. There are stories within stories about the families of some, the romance of others, the jealousy of still others.

Glitter of Diamonds is a book worth reading. N. J. Lindquist is fantastic in telling this story with humor, compassion, and commitment.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Glitter of Diamonds and to Breakthrough Promotions for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

News: Mystery Author Philip R. Craig Dies

Philip R. Craig, author of the Martha's Vineyard mystery series, died this week after a short illness according to William G. Tapply, his friend and co-author on another series. Tapply first reported the news on the popular DorothyL news group. A touching remembrance page has been posted to Tapply's website.

Craig is survived by his wife, Shirley, and his children Jamie and Kim. He was 74.

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.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

News: Three More Seasons for Lost

Mysteries on TVIn an unusual move, ABC has announced that it has renewed its television series Lost for three more seasons after which it will end. Each of the next three seasons will consist of 16 episodes, run consecutively from February through May. The series is scheduled to resume in February 2008 and end in May, 2010.

"Due to the unique nature of Lost, we knew it would require an end date to keep the integrity and strength of the show consistent throughout and to give the audience the payoff they deserve," ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson said. "It's got brilliant storytelling, incredible character work, and takes chances beyond anything that's on the air now," he added.

In January, the producers of Lost said that they envisioned the endpoint to be around episode 100. The agreement with ABC will bring the total number of episodes to 120.

This season's final episode will air May 23rd on ABC.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Final Undertaking by Mark de Castrique

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Final Undertaking by Mark de Castrique. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Final Undertaking by Mark de Castrique

Final Undertaking by
A Barry Clayton Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-229-2 (1590582292)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-229-9 (9781590582299)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Barry Clayton’s father developed Alzheimer’s, Barry gave up his career in law enforcement to return to the mountain town of Gainesboro and run the family’s funeral home. But even a small town in the Appalachians is not immune to crime.

At a summer street dance, Barry’s friend Sheriff Tommy Lee Wadkins is gunned down by an old man distraught at the death of his wife. To the dismay of Deputy Reece Hutchins, hospitalized Tommy Lee appoints Barry as the deputy in charge of the investigation. Who was the old man stalking? Why was a young woman who was wounded at the scene traveling with the intended victim?

What at first appears to be a case of a mentally unstable summer tourist quickly develops into a tangled web of deceit stretching from western North Carolina to the Florida coast. Someone is preying upon senior citizens.

Barry realizes Deputy Hutchins is undercutting his investigation, but as potential witnesses and informants begin to die under mysterious circumstances, Barry confronts a conspiracy that runs so deep he no longer knows who to trust. One false step, one betrayal, will make this case Buryin’ Barry’s final undertaking.

Review: Final Undertaking, the fourth mystery in this highly recommended series by Mark de Castrique, has funeral home owner Barry Clayton wearing a deputy's badge to investigate the senseless shooting death of a young woman during an evening summer festival in his home town. The sheriff, Tommy Lee Wadkins, wounded while trying to subdue the killer who dies in the process, provides guidance from his hospital room.

Barry quickly discovers the dead man's wife had recently died at their home in Florida of an overdose of a powerful prescription pain reliever. What isn't clear is why he was blaming someone attending a festival 600 miles away for his wife's death.

de Castrique writes in a clear and uncomplicated manner that keeps the plot focused and the reader interested. The plot itself is topical and (from a taxpayer perspective) all too believable though Barry, like almost anyone living in small town America, is slow to accept that a local resident could be involved.

In an effort to keep the series fresh, a new character is introduced in Final Undertaking, Fletcher Shaw, an intern assigned to Barry's funeral home, Clayton and Clayton. In addition to studying mortuary science, Fletcher has special skills in computer graphics and other forms of high technology that are useful in forensic analysis. Assuming that Fletcher will be a recurring character (and from the ending, this seems to be a fair assumption), he will be a winning addition to the existing cast in this series.

Finally, in keeping with Barry's profession, de Castrique handles a death in the community with grace and sensitivity. It's a special moment and it's very well done.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Final Undertaking for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Cagney & Lacey Season 1

Mysteries on TVTelevision series being released this week on DVD:

Cagney and Lacey Season 1Cagney & Lacey: Season 1 featured two strong and intelligent female detectives, with real lives and real problems--ordinary women doing extraordinary jobs. Sharon Gless starred as NYPD Detective Chris Cagney and Tyne Daly as her partner, Detective Mary Beth Lacey.

Sharon Gless was actually the third actress to play Chris Cagney. The pilot, a made-for-television movie, starred Loretta Swit as Cagney, but she could not continue with the series as she was contractually obligated to the producers of M*A*S*H. Meg Foster was hired to play Cagney for the series and did so for the first 6 episodes in 1982 when the series aired as a mid-season replacement. Gless replaced Foster when the series returned in the fall.

This DVD set includes the 22 episodes that aired on CBS from the 1982/1983 television season on 4 disks. It does not include either the pilot or the first 6 episodes and as a result it's rather difficult to understand why MGM chose to subtitle this release "Season 1" when it clearly isn't.

CBS cancelled Cagney & Lacey at the end of this season, but a strong letter writing campaign by viewers caused CBS to reverse its decision. The series continued to air through 1988 and was followed by 4 made-for-television movies based on the series. Cagney & Lacey was honored during its run with many Emmy Awards including 2 for best drama, 2 for Sharon Gless as best actress, and 4 for Tyne Daly as best actress.

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

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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for May 07, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 07, 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 G H K L O S T W. wrote this historical mystery involving Sir Isaac Newton and alchemy (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, May 06, 2007

News: Agatha Award Winners for 2006 Announced

The Agatha Award winners were announced tonight at the Malice Domestic XIX conference in Arlington VA. The Agathas are awarded annually by Malice Domestic Ltd. to honor the best traditional mysteries published each year, i.e. those books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie.

The winners are:

Best Novel: The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (Random House);

Best First Novel: The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall (Poisoned Pen Press);

Best Non-Fiction: Don't Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden (Bella Rosa Books);

Best Short Story: Sleeping with the Plush by Toni Kelner (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine);

Best Childrens, Young Adult: The Pea Soup Poisonings by Nancy Means Wright (Hilliard Harris).

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

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.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Ricochet by P. M. Terrell

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

Ricochet by
A Sheila Carpenter Mystery

Paralee Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9785632-0-4 (0978563204)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9785632-0-2 (9780978563202)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): FBI Agent Sheila Carpenter is attending the Academy in Quantico, when she discovers information concerning a secret journey her mother made just days before her parents' deaths. Convinced her parents were murdered and vowing to find the killer, she retraces her mother's last steps, taking her on a hair-raising adventure leading to stolen identities, illegal immigration and an explosive ending that will leave you on the edge of your seat!

Review: Ricochet is the second thriller by P. M. Terrell to feature computer expert Sheila Carpenter. The book opens with Sheila, armed with her degree in computer programming from Vanderbilt University, preparing to enter the Federal Bureau of Investigation training program at Quantico VA. She is a brilliant woman and very self-assured, to a point just short of arrogance. Soon after she starts her training she takes a day off to meet a friend at the local mall. This is where her nightmare begins. As they prepare to have lunch in the overcrowded food court, Sheila witnesses, and is hurt by, a terrorist suicide bombing.

While recuperating in the hospital, her aunt brings her pictures and hand-written notes of her mother’s last days before her sudden death. She leaves the hospital without telling anyone and embarks on the violent and secret journey that her mother had started but never finished. She runs into unknown men dealing in drugs, a woman in red who helps Sheila find her way when she is lost, and men and women who are experts in the art of forging documents for the purpose identity theft and illegal immigration. Terrorists and sleeper cells also become a threat for Sheila. She searches out all these criminals and while doing so they are searching for her, too.

Ricochet is written in the first person allowing Sheila to tell of her exploits in her own words. The image formed in the reader’s mind is of a woman who is a cross between Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman. In contrast to these superheroes, however, Sheila has little regard for Quantico’s rules and regulations or the orders from her superiors. As befits the title, she ricochets across the country as she flits from one problem to another without any clear objective in mind. Both the criminals and her own people can’t figure out what she is going to do next.

Ricochet is a fast paced story and with each turn of the page the reader wonders what rule Sheila will break, or which criminal she is getting closer to and which one is getting closer to her. As we are now living with the threat of terrorism, sleeper cells, drug use, illegal immigration, and stolen identities, it is also a very topical book as it involves the stories we read in the papers daily.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Ricochet and to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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.

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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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