Friday, August 31, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for August 31, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending August 31, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Three new titles debut this week on the list of bestselling mysteries.

Bones to Ashes by Kathy ReichsIn 7th position (and certainly to be higher next week) is the 10th forensic thriller in Kathy Reich's series featuring Temperance Brennan, . The discovery of a young girl's skeleton in Acadia, Canada, is more than just another assignment. √Čvang√©line, Tempe's childhood best friend, disappeared when they were both 8 years old. Tempe was warned not to search for her, that the girl was "dangerous." Thirty years later, flooded with memories, Tempe cannot help wondering if this skeleton could be the friend she lost so many years ago. And what is the meaning of the strange skeletal lesions found on the bones of the young girl? Publishers Weekly states that Reichs "has produced another winner in one of the genre's most satisfying series."

Hard Row by Margaret MaronAlso new this week: , the 13th mystery in the Deborah Knott series by . As Judge Deborah Knott presides over a case involving a barroom brawl, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are simmering just below the surface in the countryside. Mutilated body parts have appeared along the back roads of Colleton County, and the search for the victim's identity and for that of his killer will lead Deborah and her new husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, into the desperate realm of undocumented farm workers exploited for cheap labor. These newlyweds will discover dark truths that threaten to permanently alter the serenity of their rural surroundings and their new life together. states that is "a singularly satisfying crime novel."

The third new title appearing on the list this week is actually an old one: Delacorte Press is reissuing a hardcover version of , the second Myron Bolitar mystery by . It was originally published by Dell in paperback in 1996.

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 ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane

Death at the Old Hotel by
A Brian McNulty Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-32300-X (031232300X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-32300-4 (9780312323004)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Tensions are high and the dangers multiply as New York City bartender and man-about-the-mean-streets Brian McNulty---always a sucker for the plight of the little guy---joins forces with a motley crew of workers from the old Savoy Hotel.

McNulty has once more run afoul of the powers that be in the New York City hotel and restaurant industry and finds himself exiled to a down-at-the heels hotel in, for him, the far reaches of civilization---Manhattan, west of Eighth Avenue. Not long into his tenure, a vicious attack on one of his fellow bartenders raises the stakes and puts everyone on edge, and it doesn’t take much for the hotel manager to provoke the outraged workers into a strike. Once they hit the bricks, all hell breaks loose, and it isn’t long until the bodies start to fall.

The cops focus in on two of McNulty’s pals, a renegade Irishman and a pretty, young waitress from Brooklyn, both with closets full of secrets and buckets full of problems of their own. McNulty thinks the cops, as usual, are barking up the wrong tree, but that’s the least of his problems. The hits in this particular instance have angered the gods of gangsterland, and someone has determined that McNulty is a problem.

Review: Bartender Brian McNulty comes to the aid of Barney Saunders, a fellow barman, in Death at the Old Hotel, the third mystery in this series by Con Lehane.

It is Christmas-time in New York City. The hotels are all booked up and the restaurants have reservations for holiday parties. The bars are crowded – which is good news for Brian McNulty who tends bar at the Savoy Hotel. When goons attack his friend Barney, Brian decides it is time to make this outrage his business. Barney, Brian and others have been trying to get new blood in the union hierarchy because the present bosses are blatantly corrupt as are the hotel owners who trade favors and money with each other and members of the mob. Brian believes this is why Barney was beaten as he had been more vocal than others about the problem. Neither Brian nor Barney are anti-union; in fact they feel they need the union, just not a corrupt one.

When one of the Savoy’s nastier bosses creates an ugly scene with one of the waitresses on an exceptionally busy night, the kitchen staff, wait staff, bus boys and bartenders walk out and start a picket line the next day. Everyone except Barney, that is, who has gone into hiding. Brian tries again to talk to the union bosses, but is told to get out and follow the union’s orders. No more talking! But when the talking stops, the murders begin. Not only does Brian feel he has to investigate the disappearance of Brian, he commits himself to help solve the murders that follow.

Lehane seamlessly interleaves several storylines in Death at the Old Hotel, including illegal immigration, the problems of a divorced couple with a teenage son, an illicit love affair, and even an alley cat, into an intriguing murder mystery. There are any number of suspects, and McNulty – the bartender and confidant – must distinguish between what is true and what isn't in order to solve the crimes.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death at the Old Hotel and to Breakthrough Promotions 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.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Tahoe Silence by Todd Borg

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

Tahoe Silence by
An Owen McKenna Mystery

Thriller Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-931296-15-4 (1931296154)
ISBN-13: 978-1-931296-15-1 (9781931296151)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Seventeen-year-old Silence Ramirez is an exceptional artist. She also has autism and has never spoken a word in her life. When she is kidnapped, it appears she's been taken by a gang of bikers whose charismatic leader quotes Aztec commands from Aztec gods. Detective Owen McKenna seems unable to learn anything about the case until Silence figures out how to sneak drawings of her kidnappers out of the house where she is held captive. Owen uncovers the identities of the biker-kidnappers, but that doesn't help him find Silence or even learn why she was taken. Silence knows why she was kidnapped, but that knowledge is locked up inside her mind.

As McKenna studies her drawings, he comes to a horrible conclusion. The kidnappers plan to kill Silence in a ritual Aztec sacrifice at the next full moonrise, an event that is only hours away ...

Review: Former detective turned private investigator Owen McKenna investigates the kidnapping of an autistic young girl in Tahoe Silence, the fifth mystery in this series by Todd Borg, set on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

SalAnne Ramirez, a 17-year-old girl diagnosed with autism and nicknamed Silence since she's never spoken a word in her life, and her younger brother Charlie are outside their home when they are suddenly kidnapped, the only clue being that the roar of a motorcycle was heard at the same time they were taken. Fearing the police won't take their disappearance seriously, their mother hires McKenna to find them. Though the leader of a motorcycle gang seems to be the most likely suspect, McKenna begins his investigation by assuming she was not taken at random, but for some specific purpose. When her brother Charlie is found murdered, McKenna's forced to rethink his position, that maybe the gang is responsible and as a result he starts down a path that puts his own life in danger.

When speaking to someone about Silence's autism, McKenna is asked how her condition figures into the kidnapping. He replies, "I don't know. But because her autism is such a prominent facet of her personality, the better I understand autism, the better I will understand how she will respond to her current situation, how she will react if we can make a rescue attempt. It may even suggest why she was targeted in the first place." That statement summarizes both the strong and weak points of Tahoe Silence. On the positive side, the author recognizes that autism is likely to be a little understood disorder by readers of his book and thus makes an effort to educate them on what autism is and how it is diagnosed. But Borg seems too eager to show off the considerable research he has put into the subject. A more tightly edited version of the book would have eliminated a large number of extraneous pages without compromising how autism factors into McKenna's investigation and without any loss of continuity in the plot.

Borg cleverly uses an Aztec ritual that is performed on the night of a full moon as a way of introducing a time element into the story. At several points, McKenna notes the number of days until the full moon which effectively generates and maintains a sense of urgency in locating Silence. And as is typical of books in this series, Spot, McKenna's Harlequin Great Dane, plays an important role.

Far too much incidental information and the oddly incongruous happily-ever-after epilogue prevent Tahoe Silence from being the best in this series, but it is very good nonetheless.

Special thanks to Thriller Press for providing a copy of Tahoe Silence 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.

Return to ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070827

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• PBS will air the last two episodes of the Inspector Lynley mysteries from last season before airing the four new episodes that comprise Season 6. Check your local listings for dates and times. (MBN note: Season 5 of the will be available from the website on 10/02/2007.)

Hallie Ephron reviews three new mysteries in her column on Boston.com.

• More in the Times Online on the new Agatha Christie graphic novels being published by HarperCollins. Eight are planned for this year, with another eight to be published next year.

• The home in which Kate Mattes has lived in and been selling mystery books from since 1983 is up for sale. As a frequent visitor to Kate's Mystery Books when we lived in the area, we're thrilled to learn that Kate simply needs more space and will continue to operate in a new location.

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, August 27, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for August 27, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for August 27, 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 J L N O R Y. NSW homicide detective Scobie Malone is featured in a series of mysteries by this Australian author (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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!

Return to ...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Day Will Come by Judy Clemens

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

The Day Will Come by
A Stella Crown Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-299-3 (1590582993)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-299-2 (9781590582992)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): If Stella Crown loves anything as much as her farm, her Harley, and her friends, it's a good dose of rock-and-roll. But when the chance arrives to see a legend in concert, she gets more than she bargained for. A bomb threat empties out the club, and when the panic subsides, a member of the band is missing.

When the body of the singer, Genna, is found in the club later that night, Stella's friend Jordan Granger is the prime suspect. Jordan had no official relationship with the victim, but Stella is convinced he was in love with her. The drummer of the band, a talented but volatile man, was Genna's actual boyfriend, and Stella doesn't trust him. Did the drummer kill his girlfriend after setting the bomb? Were the two crimes even related?

Stella finds herself acting not only as Jordan's keeper, but as an investigator into his life, as well as her own. Meanwhile, Stella's boyfriend has a secret of his own. Why isn't he returning her calls? And why was he so exhausted and edgy even before the disastrous concert?

The answer isn't something Stella ever dreamed of.

Review: Cow farmer Stella Crown comes to the aid of a good friend accused of murder in her fourth mystery, The Day Will Come by Judy Clemens.

Stella's life revolves around her farm, her friends, her Harley-Davidson bike, and rock-and-roll music. When a small, but very popular, band returns to Philadelphia where their success began, Jordan, the sound technician and a good friend of Stella's, is able to get Stella and her boyfriend Nick tickets even though it is a sold out performance. Between sets, Jordan takes them backstage to meet the group in person while he checks on some problems with the sound system. When a bomb is found, the area is immediately evacuated with no apparent casualties. Later, however, the police discover the band's manager missing, money from a vault taken, and the lead singer, Genna, dead, beaten to death. When it becomes clear that Jordan is the prime suspect in all the crimes, Stella goes to his aid and begins asking questions.

The Day Will Come is a lot about interpersonal relationships, and though the murder is the central point of the mystery, the story includes several subplots that add to the depth and appeal to Stella's character. The most poignant of these involves Nick who fears he must break off his relationship with Stella. The most amusing involves another good friend who's getting married and has "nothing to wear".

This well written book should appeal to a wide range of mystery readers. The whodunit aspect is well done, and background information about farming, bikers, and even rock-and-roll, any of which may be unknown to readers, is presented in an easy to appreciate and understand manner.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Day Will Come 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.

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 ...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070824

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• NPRs 4-part series Crime in the City, crime novelists and the places they and their characters inhabit continues with John Burdett's Bangkok, Laura Lippman's Baltimore, and Michael Connelly's Los Angeles.

• Jamie Portman of the CanWest News Service talks to mystery author Howard Engel who continues to recover from a stroke six years ago that rendered him able to write but unable to read. He humorously states that he's setting next year's Benny Cooperman mystery on the Malaysian peninsula. "There, it doesn't much matter whether he can read the signs or not because he doesn't know the language anyway!"

• USA Today's latest book roundup covers four new mysteries.

• Otto Penzler writes about Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer in his most recent column on NYSun.com.

• The BBC has some images of Agatha Christie's crime novels that have been adapted as comic strip editions.

• And on a related subject, Pam Hobbs in the Globe and Mail writes about the upcoming Torquay's Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Festival.

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 Bestsellers for August 24, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending August 24, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

regains the top spot this week, but in contrast to last week when no new titles appeared on the list, two new mysteries debut this week.

Force of Nature by Suzanne BrockmannFirst up: Suzanne Brockmann's romantic suspense novel is the 11th entry in the Troubleshooters series. Florida private investigator and ex-cop Ric Alvarado finds himself deep undercover with Annie, his beautiful new Girl Friday who is far more interested in fieldwork than filing. They're working for notorious crime boss Gordon Burns. One mistake from his painfully inexperienced partner, and they're both dead. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Jules Cassidy's life isn't in much better shape. For years, the FBI has been trying to prove Gordon Burns's ties to terrorist activity. Now, thanks to Ric and Annie, Jules has found a way into the lion's den. As the heat rises, so do the risks they're all willing to take - in the line of duty, for the sake of loyalty, and in the name of something that runs even deeper.

Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott DavidsonAlso new this week: , the 14th culinary mystery in the Goldy Schulz series by . Goldy Schulz is thrilled to be catering a holiday breakfast feast for the staff of the Aspen Meadow Library. But little does she know that on the menu, alongside the Great Expectations Grapefruit, Chuzzlewit Cheese Pie, and Bleak House Bars, is a large helping of murder. But the holiday madness is only just beginning for Goldy. Soon she's drawn into the dangerous, double-crossing world of high-end map dealing. And like the ghost of Christmas past, Sandee—yes, the Sandee Brisbane who killed Goldy's ex-husband, the Jerk, but is supposed to be dead—keeps making an appearance. Could she be out to prove that revenge is sweet? Publishers Weekly says that Davidson is "at the top of her form" and adds, "Readers will happily sink their teeth into Goldy's latest case and come away hungry for more."

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 ...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Stuff to Die For by Don Bruns

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Stuff to Die For by Don Bruns. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Stuff to Die For by Don Bruns

Stuff to Die For by
A James Lessor and Skip Moore Mystery

Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-10-4 (1933515104)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-10-6 (9781933515106)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Best friends James Lessor and Skip Moore are hardly on the fast track. While James works as a line cook at Cap'n Crab, Skip spends his days selling—or rather, attempting to sell—security systems to people who (a) have no money, and (b) have nothing they care to protect.

James and Skip aren't upwardly mobile, but they're about to get literally mobile when James spends a surprise inheritance on a white box truck. An investment in the future, he surmises, as these two are starting a business—solely devoted to hauling other people's stuff.

But the fledgling business takes a shocking turn when James and Skip unload the contents of their first moving job and find some unexpected cargo—a bloody human finger.

James and Skip must scramble to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators of the gruesome crime in this witty, gritty mystery about big dreams, big ideas—and big trouble.

Instead of chasing the American dream, James and Skip will be running for their lives.

Review: Don Bruns, author of the Mick Sever rock-and-roll mysteries, introduces a new series featuring James Lessor and Skip Moore, two underemployed best friends and roommates living in south Florida, in Stuff to Die For, a comedy-buddy-mystery that for the most part works on all three levels.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. Skip (who narrates the story) and James decide to get into the hauling business. Everybody's got stuff they need to move and they (mostly James) think what with a little luck and hard work they can parlay their newly acquired box truck into a fleet in a few years. Never mind that neither one knows how to back up a truck without damaging something. Their first job comes via a reference: their friend Emily knows a woman who's going through a divorce and wants her husband's stuff hauled away. Seems easy enough, until while putting the stuff into storage, they discover a human finger with a class ring attached bearing the name of same school and graduating year as Skip and James. Maybe this plan of hauling other people's stuff wasn't such a good idea after all.

The plot gets a little complicated at this point. The finger belongs to the class jock, Vic Maitlin, who, unbeknownst to but a few, saved Skip's life in high school. Consequently, Skip feels obligated to find out what transpired to cause Vic's finger to be in his possession. He and James end up getting hired to locate Vic by his father, an investor who is mixed up with a group of Cuban exiles plotting an invasion of their homeland. This all could have ended up being rather silly, or worse seriously dull, but Bruns handles it reasonably well, keeping the plot moving briskly forward, avoiding (with one notable exception) tangential plot points that would detract from the story, and instilling the characters with endearing qualities. The one exception is the incongruent subplot involving Emily's pregnancy that serves no relevant purpose being in this book.

Stuff to Die For doesn't pretend to be more than it is, escapist fun in the form of a generally entertaining mystery. If for that reason alone, it deserves considerable credit.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing a copy of Stuff to Die For 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.

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Last Breath by Mariah Stewart

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

Last Breath by Mariah Stewart
The "Last" Trilogy

Ballantine Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-345-49224-2 (0345492242)
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-49224-1 (9780345492241)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $19.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): As renowned archaeologist Dr. Daria McGowan readies the most important project of her career–a University museum exhibit showcasing the priceless artifacts her great-grandfather unearthed a century earlier in the Middle East–she makes a shocking discovery: many of the most significant pieces have vanished. Panicked, Daria turns to the FBI.

Solving the mystery is an assignment that Connor Shields is more than happy to accept: Daria is the same intriguing blonde archaeologist he’s had on his mind since their paths first crossed two years ago. Working together to track down the stolen artifacts, Daria and Connor discover a trail of bodies–collectors who have met brutal, bizarre ends at the hands of a killer whose murderous methods are based on the rituals of an ancient civilization.

Amid rumors of a curse and mounting pressure from both the FBI and the University, Daria and Connor race to unmask their enemy and unravel a mystery stretching across oceans and centuries. All the while, an ingenious murderer follows a sinister plan to gather the coveted antiquities and one last acquisition–Daria.

Review: Archaeologist Daria McGowen returns from a dig in Iran to oversee the display of artifacts unearthed by her great-grandfather a century ago in Last Breath, the third and final entry in this trilogy of thrillers by Mariah Stewart.

The fabled city of Shandihar in the Middle East had been buried beneath the desert sands after an earthquake a thousand years ago, its treasures presumably lost forever. In the early 20th century, Alister McGowen, with the backing of a wealthy patron, Benjamin Howe, discovered the city and its artifacts, the most important of which he carefully cataloged and crated to be shipped to the US. 100 years later, these artifacts are to be displayed in a new museum at the university founded by the patron, Howe University. Daria, McGowen's great-granddaughter, is asked to coordinate the effort. To her shock and dismay, she finds several important artifacts missing ... possibly stolen. She immediately calls FBI Agent Conner Shields, a man she had met in Morocco on her way home. Working together, they discover a number of "collectors" who have acquired the pieces. Visiting each of their homes, Daria and Connor find the owners dead, tortured by methods described in the annals of the ancient city, and the artifacts gone. As they continue their investigation, they learn of a woman who calls herself the Goddess of Darkness, a high priestess of Shandihar, and her guardians who obey her every command, including one to kill Daria and Connor before they can expose her.

Last Breath is an excellent book in so many ways. The archaeological information is detailed enough to be interesting without being overwhelming, and significantly enhances the overall plot. The emotional highs and lows Daria experiences are realistically portrayed and add value to the story. And finally, and maybe most important of all, the mystery of who stole the artifacts and why make for a compelling and fast paced thriller.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Last Breath and to Book Trends 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.

Return to ...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070822

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The Associated Press is reporting that Magdalen Nabb, author of the Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia mystery series, has died of a stroke in Florence, Italy. She was 60. Nabb also wrote stories for children and young adults. See also this profile of the author on the Telegraph.co.uk.

Belinda Goldsmith interviews mystery writer Mary Daheim for Reuters. Mary Daheim says the best advice she received when she embarked on a writing career over 20 years ago was to not confuse her work with literature.

• Bill Keveney, writing for USA Today, says that television viewers love a good mystery, but with song? He reports on the upcoming CBS series Viva Laughlin. The CBS website calls the series (which is based on the BBC show Viva Blackpool) part drama, part thriller, part musical.

• Variety is reporting that James Patterson is entering the videogame business. Oberon Media has signed a deal with the author to produce numerous games with Patterson's brand name, most likely in the mystery or romance genres. Some will be based on Patterson's existing books, others on original stories.

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, August 21, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070821

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Laura Thompson writes in the Telegraph about Agatha Christie, a woman she says can be understood but not solved. Her book about the author, Agatha Christie: An English Mystery, will be published next month in the UK.

Gaming Today provides some beautifully rendered screen shots for the upcoming PC game, Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun. This third installment of the series from The Adventure Company is scheduled for release in October 2007.

• Roberta Isleib, author of the Cassie Burdette golf mysteries, writes an essay in the latest series of Chicken Soup books, Chicken Soup for the Woman Golfer's Soul. (MBN Note: find all of Roberta Isleib's mysteries as well as many more sports-related mystery books at our partner website, .)

• Margaret Cannon reviews 5 recently published mysteries in her column on TheGlobeandMail.com.

• The Associated Press is reporting that J. K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel. (This information has been published on many websites; our link here is to FoxNews.com.)

• NPR begins a four-part series, Crime in the City, about crime novelists and the places they and their characters inhabit. First up: Donna Leon's Venice.

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 ...

Mysteries on TV: JAG and Dexter

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

starred David James Elliot as Cmdr. Harmon "Harm" Rabb, a former Navy pilot turned lawyer for the Judge Advocate General (JAG). The series also starred Catherine Bell as Lt. Col. Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie.

The fourth season of JAG aired on CBS from September 1998 through May 1999. This DVD set includes all 24 episodes from this season on 6 disks.

Watch the opening credits (from season 2) on YouTube.com here.

starred Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, a blood splatter expert for the Police Department who also has a darker side: he locates and kills criminals that have escaped justice. The series is based on the crime thrillers Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.

The first season of Dexter aired on HBO in the fall of 2006. This DVD set includes all 12 episodes from this season on 4 disks.

Watch the opening credits on YouTube.com here.

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

Return to ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website. (MBN Note: Enter to win one of two copies of The Hellfire Conspiracy with bookplates signed by the author, generously provided by the publisher, that we are giving away this month on our Mystery Books Sweepstakes website.)The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas

The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas
A Barker and Llewelyn Mystery

Simon & Schuster (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-406-54805-X (141654805X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-406-54805-8 (9781406548058)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $24.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Barker and Llewelyn are hired to find a girl from the upper classes who has gone missing in the East End, they assume her kidnapping is the work of white slavers. But when they discover five girls have been murdered in Bethnal Green, taunting letters begin to arrive in Craig's Court from a killer calling himself Mr. Miacca.

Barker fears that Miacca might be part of the Hellfire Club, a group of powerful, hedonistic aristocrats performing Satanic rituals. He must track the fiend to his hideout, while Llewelyn confronts the man who put him in prison.

Review: Private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn take on assignment to find a missing upper class twelve year girl in The Hellfire Conspiracy, the fourth mystery in this series by Will Thomas.

The girl was abducted from the East End, a low class, seedy part of London. Barker and Llewelyn had heard that the white slavers were back who may have taken her to sell her to someone who would whisk her out of the country and concentrate their efforts there. During their intense search, however, they come upon knowledge that five other girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen had been found murdered and tossed in the river. They were nude, raped, their faces painted like some satanic ritual, and one finger cut off at the first knuckle. This was definitely not the work of the white slavers. They finally find the missing girl in the River Thames, nude, raped and strangled, with her face painted and one finger cut off at the knuckle. Though convinced the white slavers were not responsible for this crime, there are other sinister secret cults at work. Their search goes on in the darkest, most barbaric, desolate, and uncivilized parts of London. When another child, age eleven, disappears, Barker pledges to the parents that they will find her before she, too, is killed.

Though the crimes here are against children, the author doesn't dwell on the murders but instead focuses on the investigation by Barker and Llewelyn. When they discover who the malicious murderer is, Llewelyn professes surprise though Barker claims he knew it all along; most readers will as well.

Set in late 1880s London, the period and location details add a mysterious atmospheric layer to a well-paced plot. Despite the horrific nature of the crimes, The Hellfire Conspiracy is a pleasure to read.

Special thanks to Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for providing a copy of The Hellfire Conspiracy 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.

Return to ...

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for August 20, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for August 20, 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 I L M N O P. A mystery with this laughing professional in the title won the 1971 for best novel (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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!

Return to ...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn

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

Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn
A Molly Doyle Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-87-1 (1880284871)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-87-2 (9781880284872)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Life is sweet for Molly Doyle. Treasures Antiques, the Carmel shop she manages, is doing well. Her niece, Emma, continues to enrich her life, and her personal relationship with Randall, the chief of police, has reached an interesting plateau. Eager to branch out into interior decorations, Molly takes on a lucrative commission to refurbish the wine tasting rooms at Bello Lago, a prestigious family-owned winery in Carmel Valley. But Molly soon finds herself in the middle of the dysfunctional family’s squabbles when they end in murder - and she’s a prime suspect! Even worse, Emma’s future is at stake when a stranger walks into Treasures and …

Review: Carmel-by-the-Sea antiques shop owner Molly Doyle again assumes the role of amateur sleuth in Deadly Vintage, the cleverly plotted fourth mystery in this series by Elaine Flinn.

Molly is presented with an opportunity to showcase her talents when she's hired by Carla Jessop, the daughter of a local vineyard owner, to decorate a wine tasting room in a traditional Italian manner. Carla's husband, Todd, a former dot-com executive, is vehemently opposed and wants to modernize both the winery and its image. The conflict becomes public when, at a dinner attended by all three, Molly throws a glass of wine in Todd's face he accuses her of selling fake antiques. A few days later, when Todd is murdered with Molly standing nearby, she needs to work with her close friend, chief of police Kenneth Randall, to clear her name and restore her reputation.

Deadly Vintage is not a book one rushes through. It is leisurely paced and appropriately so; the murder, for example, doesn't take place until well into the second third of the story. The characters are richly drawn and the narrative is filled with interesting details about the antiques business and the community. Of particular note is Molly's relationship with her niece Emma, which is both special and sweet. The twists and turns in the plot are all credible within the context of the story, and the killer (if not necessarily the motive) comes as a complete surprise.

A minor annoyance is Flinn's use of the word "merch" in place of "merchandise" or "goods". Antiques dealers may indeed use the term as part of their vernacular, and Molly herself often uses it when speaking to friends and colleagues. But when "merch" is used in a descriptive paragraph it is jarring. "She set about adding the new merch into the inventory on the computer." Or "She frequently rearranged merch in the shop." In an otherwise exceptionally well written book it is conspicuously out of place.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Deadly Vintage 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.

Return to ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070817

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Janet Maslin in The New York Times reviews two new thrillers noting that their dust jacket covers (displayed to the right) are so generic that they don't convey how special the books are.

• More reviews of new mysteries ( by Margaret Maron and by Karin Slaughter) in Oline H. Cogdill's column on Sun-Sentinel.com.

• Reuters is reporting that HarperCollins is making samples from 14 new book titles available for the iPhone, including the latest mystery by Faye Kellerman, .

• Bookseller.com writes that HarperCollins is relaunching the mysteries of Agatha Christie (again) this fall, with the first 12 "Masterpiece Editions" available in September with another 12 in October.

• The Anime Network has scheduled the premiere of a new mystery, Red Garden, for September 6th. See the trailer on the network's website. (Visit for more information on anime mysteries available on DVD.)

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 Bestsellers for August 17, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending August 17, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee BurkeA quiet week: no new titles appear on the list this week, with just some minor shuffling at the top.

Displacing by James Patterson at the top spot is by James Lee Burke. This 16th mystery in the Dave Robicheaux series has been receiving rave reviews. For a list of all the books in this series, visit . Also check out James Lee Burke's website where you can get more information about the author as well as read an excerpt from the book.

Rounding out the top five are , the 7th Gabriel Allon thriller by Daniel Silva, , 16th in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series by , and , the 13th (or 15th if you count the "between-the-numbers" books) in the Stephanie Plum mystery series by .

The Quickie by James PattersonThe Secret Servant by Daniel SilvaThe Burnt House by Faye Kellerman


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 ...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

News: Val McDermid Comments on Scotsman.com Article

In yesterday's compendium of mystery news, we listed an article on Scotsman.com reporting on events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Val McDermid took the time to post a reply to that article that we think is important enough to reprint here (rather than leave it in the comments section where it might be overlooked).

Val McDermid wrote:

"For the record, I did not mention Ian Rankin by name at my Edinburgh Book Festival event with Denise Mina (who has been curiously written out of the record...) precisely because I wanted to address the issue of how women writing about violence is perceived rather than to make a personal attack on any individual. Nor did I refer to any of his books specifically. I did mention this particular title last year on a radio programme when I was debating the specific comment that Ian made, but I did not refer to it or any of his other books at the Edinburgh event, for the same reason. The remarks that I made -- which were echoed and expanded by Denise -- were in response to a question from the audience about women's experiences as crime writers.

"There is no feud between me and Ian. We have been good pals for a dozen years and are sufficiently grown up to be capable of not having identical views on every subject.

"For a more balanced view of the Edinburgh event, you might like to check out: http://living.scotsman.com/books.cfm?id=1288052007. Written by the same journalist who wrote the other piece..."

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 ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070815

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Simon Donohue writing for the Manchester Evening News talks to mystery author Peter Robinson about his latest book, Friend of the Devil, and why his mysteries haven't made the transition to television.

• David Robinson reports on Scotsman.com that a spat between Britain's two best-selling crime writers exploded into the open last night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Val McDermid took exception to a remark made by Ian Rankin in an interview last year.

• David Gustafson of the StarTribune interviews a member of the Minnesota Crime Wave, a trio of Twin Cities-area mystery writers, about murder and mayhem in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

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, August 14, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Antler Dust by Mark Stevens

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

Antler Dust by Mark Stevens
Non-series

Paandaa Entertainment (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9774188-1-2 (0977418812)
ISBN-13: 978-1-9774188-1-7 (9780977418817)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): On the opening day of the hunting season in the Colorado Flat Tops wilderness, two men go missing. The first is a hunting guide. The second is an animal rights protestor who believes his creative suicide will galvanize the animal rights movement.

Hunting guide Allison Coil hears a distant rifle shot and sees just enough through the swirling snow to believe somebody knows something-and isn't coming forward. But what exactly did she see?

Outfitter George Grumley fends off the formal investigation and works to discourage the informal and persistent inquiries by Coil. Grumley knows no limits in the effort to protect his guide service, which caters to fat-cat clients. Who needs hunting regulations when technology can produce the quickest and most thrilling hunt that money can buy?

Dawn Ellenberg, lead dog of the animal rights group FATE - Fighting Animal Torture Everywhere - plots a public relations blitz behind the story of hunter who wipes off his camouflage face paint and joins their crusade. The public relations coup is too good to be true. FATE turns up the heat on the police in Glenwood Springs, who seem clueless in their attempts to solve the death of the protestor.

And Trudy Grumley, wife of the notorious outfitter, takes a few bold steps outside her comfort zone and takes a few tentative steps through the fog of a limiting disease. She begins a frightening ordeal that could-just maybe-lead to independence. Along the way, she befriends Coil and the pair chart a course to uncover the truth, no matter where that course leads.

Review: Mark Stevens’ debut thriller, Antler Dust, chronicles a few weeks in the lives of hunters and their guides. It is elk and deer hunting season in Colorado with hunters swarming to the Rocky Mountains to nail their big one. Two men are shot on that first day. Rocky Carnivitas, a guide, is deliberately killed for reasons known only the killer. Rocky is pulled away from the site of the shooting and put under a tree in the snow. Only one problem: from a distance, and through a heavy snowfall, new guide Allison Coil witnesses what she thinks is someone dragging an animal or a body through the heavy snow.

Then there is a suicidal hunter, Ray Stern, who believes if he were killed the animal rights people would have more fodder. His group, FATE (Fighting Animal Torture Everywhere), is on the ground protesting. Ray goes up into the mountain, wraps himself in deerskin, and waits for a hunter. When Dean Applegate sees what he thinks is a deer, he shoots and kills Ray. Frightened, Dean runs down the mountain and joins the protesters saying he could not take the killing of any more animals.

Allison tells the sheriff what she thinks she has seen, but when she gets no response from him, she tells the park ranger who is also skeptical. When Rocky does not return to the camp for four days, they begin to listen to her. The question becomes, why was Rocky killed and by whom?

But the answer is obvious. Antler Dust is a tiresome novel in that there is no mystery. Every time a person is hurt or killed the reader knows who did it and why. Much of the story is repetitive and it becomes apparent what is going to happen next. There is no thrill of the hunt, metaphorical or otherwise, in this book.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Antler Dust and to Breakthrough Promotions 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.

Return to ...

Mysteries on TV: The Fugitive

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

starred David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man wrongly accused of murdering his wife. Escaping custody, he eludes the authorities while searching for the real killer, a one-armed man he saw leaving his home.

The first season of The Fugitive aired on ABC in the fall of 1963. This DVD set includes the first 15 episodes from this season on 4 disks.

Watch the opening credits on YouTube.com here.

A theatrical film derived from the series, also titled , was released in 1993 and starred Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble.

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

Return to ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for August 13, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for August 13, 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: E H I K L N S T U. He is the author of a trilogy of mysteries featuring the rabbinic sleuth Daniel Winter (last name only, 9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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!

Return to ...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Life Blood by Penny Rudolph

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

Life Blood by
A Rachel Chavez Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-346-9 (1590583469)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-346-3 (9781590583463)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Rachel Chavez, a recovering alcoholic, owns and lives in an apartment on the top floor of a parking garage in downtown Los Angeles. She leases parking space and the use of the rooftop helicopter pad to nearby businesses. Tough but vulnerable, she is struggling to stay sober and keep her business afloat.

Rachel is horrified when she discovers two young Mexican boys locked in an apparently abandoned van in the garage. She rushes them to the emergency room. Doctors declare one dead on arrival. The other, dehydrated but alive, is admitted to the hospital. But when Rachel checks back the next day, the Medical Center has no record of either child.

Wary of the police because her own checkered past includes a DWI and arrest for drug possession, Rachel is obsessed with finding an explanation. Meanwhile, Hank, a workaholic water quality engineer, wants to marry her when his divorce is final. But now Rachel, enmeshed in her search for answers and her own Mexican roots, isn't certain marriage is for her.

When the hospital leases parking space in her garage for staff, she believes her life is finally on track. But instead it's just becoming more complicated ... and dangerous.

Review: Los Angeles parking garage owner Rachel Chavez finds herself involved in the activities of a mysterious hospital in Life Blood, the second entry in this series by Penny Rudolph.

Life Blood starts out with an intriguing premise. Rachel finds two children in an apparently abandoned van in her garage. Rushing them to the nearest hospital, she's informed that one is dead and the other alive in critical condition. Returning the next day to follow up on the one that survived, she's told there is no record of two children having ever been there the day before, dead or alive. When she continues to investigate on her own, she's accused of stealing a controlled substance from the hospital and arrested. Later, an attempt is made on her life. She's convinced that the two missing children are the key to understanding why someone wants, at a minimum, to see her in jail or worse, dead.

Following a strong opening, however, Life Blood rapidly loses its way. Part of the problem is in the shifting points of view that add no real value and have the unfortunate effect of specifically lessening any mystery associated with the hospital and its staff. In addition, there are oddly placed and completely irrelevant side stories dealing with Rachel's father. There are also attempts at injecting elements of a medical suspense thriller here and there but none are successful.

Rudolph challenges the reader of Life Blood with a couple of fundamental questions. Does the end result justify the means? Is there a greater good? There is never an easy answer to either one, but in the case as presented in this book, it should be an unequivocal and resounding no. It is shocking, therefore, that in the end Rachel not only calmly accepts the situation, but makes a seriously flawed decision that not only makes her complicit in the crimes being committed but a moral hypocrite as well.

It is rare that a book starts so promisingly yet ends so poorly. Life Blood is a disappointment in every sense of the word.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Life Blood 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.

Return to ...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070810

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• FirstBook.org conducted a survey to which over 100,000 people answered the question, What got you hooked on reading? The number one response: the Nancy Drew series of mysteries.

• Speaking of Nancy Drew, Her Interactive has issued a press release announcing the launch of the company’s first TV DVD game, Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Camryn Manheim, Leslie Hope and Kathy Baker have joined the cast of the CBS made-for-television movie Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, the fifth installment in the successful Tom Selleck franchise from Sony Pictures Television. The movies are based on the mystery series character created by Robert B. Parker.

Otto Penzler's column this week in the New York Sun is an entertaining series of "Did you know ..." questions. A sample: Did you know that in Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, which was the inspiration for a series of movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, the "thin man" refers to the murder victim?

Variety is reporting that HBO has officially picked up the series True Blood based on the Southern Vampire series of mysteries by .

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

Return to Mystery Books News ...

Mystery Bestsellers for August 10, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending August 10, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No change in the top five bestsellers this week: , , , , and retain their positions from last week.

The Burnt House by Faye KellermanOne of the two new mysteries on this list this week debuts in the 6th position: , the 16th mystery in the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman. At 8:15 in the morning, a small commuter plane carrying forty-seven passengers crashes into an apartment building in Granada Hills, California. Shock waves ripple through Los Angeles, as LAPD Lieutenant Peter Decker works overtime to calm rampant fears of a 9/11-type terror attack. But a grisly mystery lives inside the plane's charred and twisted wreckage: the unidentified bodies of four extra travelers. And there is no sign of an airline employee who was supposedly on the catastrophic flight. Decker launches an investigation that carries him down a path of tragic history, dangerous secrets, and deadly lies—and leads him to the corpse of a three-decades-missing murder victim. And as the jagged pieces slowly fall into place, a frightening picture begins to form: a mind-searing portrait of unimaginable evil that will challenge Decker's and Rina's own beliefs about guilt and innocence and justice.

The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall SmithThe other new book on the list is , the 4th entry in the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith. In addition to being the nosiest and most sympathetic philosopher you are likely to meet, Isabel is now a mother. Charlies, her newborn son, presents her with a myriad wonders of a new life, and doting father Jamie presents her with an intriguing proposal: marriage. In the midst of all this, she receives a disturbing letter announcing that she has been ousted as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. None of these things, however, in any way diminishes Isabel's curiosity. And when she attends an art auction, she finds an irresistible puzzle: two paintings attributed to a now-deceased artist appear on the market at the same time, and both of them exhibit some unusual characteristics. Are these paintings forgeries? This proves to be sufficient fodder for Isabel's inquisitiveness. So she begins an investigation ... and soon finds herself diverging from her philosophical musings about fatherhood onto a path that leads her into the mysteries of the art world and the soul of an artist.

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, August 09, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Dead Connection by Alafair Burke

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

Dead Connection by
An Ellie Hatcher Mystery

Henry Holt (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-8050-7785-5 (0805077855)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-7785-8 (9780805077858)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $19.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When two young women are murdered on the streets of New York, exactly one year apart, Detective Ellie Hatcher is called up for a special assignment on the homicide task force. The killer has left behind a clue connecting the two cases to First Date, a popular online dating service, and Flann McIlroy, an eccentric, publicity-seeking homicide detective, is convinced that only Ellie can help him pursue his terrifying theory: someone is using the lure of the Internet and the promise of love to launch a killing spree against the women of New York City.

To catch the killer, Ellie must enter a high-tech world of stolen identities where no one is who they appear to be. And for her, the investigation quickly becomes personal: she fits the profile of the victims, and she knows firsthand what pursuing a sociopath can do to a cop—back home in Wichita, Kansas, her father lost his life trying to catch a notorious serial murderer.

When the First Date killer begins to mimic the monster who destroyed her father, Ellie knows the game has become personal for him, too. Both hunter and prey, she must find the killer before he claims his next victim—who could very well be her.

Review: Alafair Burke introduces NYPD rookie detective Ellie Hatcher on the trail of an internet serial killer in Dead Connection.

To her surprise and delight, Ellie has been recruited to the Homicide Division by Detective Flann McIlroy to work with him on two murders that share some striking similarities. The slaying of Carolyn Hunter took place just one year to the day before the killing of Amy Davis. Both young women were in their thirties, beautiful, and well-educated with a brilliant future ahead of them. Both victims were shot twice in the back of their head. And both were members of an online dating service, FirstDate.com. There was a note left on Amy’s body by the killer admitting to the murders and promising many more to come. Like his victims, he, too, used the Internet, logged on to FirstDate.com, provided fake names and bogus e-mail identities, and used stolen credit cards to pay for the service. He enticed the women he found attractive with an altered photo of himself, lies about himself, and promises of love. Ellie puts herself in this dark, forbidding world of crime on the Internet knowing it is her duty to unearth the killer before he finds and kills her.

This fast-paced thriller is exciting from start to finish. Burke has created a credible character in Ellie Hatcher, the small town daughter of a slain cop whose ambition took her to New York where she worked diligently to prove her mettle and is ultimately put on a high-profile case. The sophisticated plot in Dead Connection and Ellie's role in the investigation (which eerily begins to resemble the case that resulted in the death of her father) together provide a promising introduction to this new series.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Dead Connection and to FSB Associates for providing an ARC 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.

Return to ...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Hard Row by Margaret Maron

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

Hard Row by
A Deborah Knott Mystery

Grand Central (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-446-58243-3 (0446582433)
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-58243-8 (9780446582438)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): As Judge Deborah Knott presides over a case involving a barroom brawl, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are simmering just below the surface in the countryside. Soon after, a farmer known for his harsh treatment of migrant workers is found brutally murdered. The search for the killer leads Deborah and her new husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, into the desperate realm of undocumented farm laborers who are exploited for cheap labor. In the meantime, Deborah and Dwight must continue adjusting to married life and having Dwight's eight-year-old-son, Cal, live with them full-time. As the case expands to multiple murders, Deborah and Dwight discover dark truths that threaten to permanently alter the serenity of their rural surroundings and new life together.

Review: Margaret Maron's 13th Deborah Knott mystery, Hard Row, is a potpourri of well-written and well-crafted stories that blend together into a singularly satisfying crime novel.

Deborah and her new husband, Sheriff Deputy Dwight Bryant, have taken in Dwight’s young son, Cal, who, because of the untimely death of his mother, has come to live with them full time. In and of itself, this tale of a new family is a wonderfully told story. But then reality (as it were) intrudes when a dismembered body is found. There is no shortage of suspects and complicating matters are the large number of undocumented workers in the area. Deborah and Dwight each pursue their respective jobs, in the courtroom and at the police station. There are also several subplots: a rich landowner who is in the throes of a very hostile divorce, a family who finds out their daughter is dating a Mexican lad, and an elderly gentleman who disappears from a local nursing home. It’s a true measure of Maron's talent how a few complete and really excellent storylines can come together and be a part of the resolution to the mystery behind the murder, withholding the identity of the killer until the surprising conclusion.

Life on the farm, life in the city, and life at home are all part of Hard Row. There's even a bit of humor as the author delves into the lives of Deborah's eleven (11!) older brothers and the families.

Hard Row is an exceptional mystery, an amazing book of family, friends, laughter, crime, and punishment. And it all fits together like a comfortable, well worn, and much appreciated pair of suede gloves.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Hard Row and to Grand Central Publishing 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.

Return to ...

 

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