Sunday, September 30, 2007

News: Mystery Book Awards Announced This Week

A busy week for mystery book awards! The following organizations handed out their respective awards for excellence in mystery fiction this past week; the winners of the major awards are listed below:

(Mystery Readers International)

Best Mystery Novel: The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (Ballantine)
Best First Mystery Novel: Mr. Clarinet by Nick Stone (HarperCollins)



Best Novel: No Good Deeds by
Best First Novel: Still Life by Louise Penny
Best Paperback Original: Ashes and Bones by Dana Cameron

(Private Eye Writers of America)

Best P. I. Hardcover: The Dramatist by (Irish PI Jack Taylor)
Best First P. I. Novel: The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes (Irish PI Ed Loy)
Best P. I. Paperback Original: An Unquiet Grave by P. J. Parrish (Florida PI Louis Kincaid)

(Deadly Pleasures)

Best Novel: The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Best First Novel: Still Life by Louise Penny
Best British Crime Novel: Priest by
Best Paperback Original: The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
Best Thriller: The Messenger by Daniel Silva

Congratulations from Mystery Books News to all the winners!

Please visit the website where lists of winners from over 20 different organizations that recognize excellence in mysteries, including all of the above, are presented.

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Compendium of Mystery News 070929

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• It's a bit surprising it took this long, given the unqualified success of the Nancy Drew 3D interactive games for the PC by Her Interactive, but now The Adventure Company is bringing The Hardy Boys to adventure gaming. The first title, The Tower Treasure, is expected to be released in late 2008. Read the press release here. (MBN note: visit for more information about the teenage sleuth, and to purchase PC games in this series.)

• On the subject of mystery games, IGN Entertainment recently interviewed the project lead for the upcoming Nintendo DS game Touch Detective 2 1/2, discussing what fans can expect from the sequel. In the original Touch Detective, you become Mackenzie, a private investigator in a unique mystery adventure.

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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News: ITW Interviews Jeffery Deaver on The Chopin Manuscript

This past week, the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Audible.com launched The Chopin Manuscript, the first audio-only original novel written by some of today's top mystery authors. (Read the press release here.)

will write the opening and closing chapters of the story. He discussed his thoughts on why he agreed to participate in the project in an interview published on ITW's website. Listen to the first chapter of The Chopin Manuscript on the Audible.com website.

The plot is intriguing: Former war crimes investigator Harold Middleton possesses a priceless, previously-unknown manuscript by Frederic Chopin. Within the notes of this work, which was originally found and hidden by the Nazis during World War II, lies a secret that has left death in its wake – and could kill tens of thousands more. As Middleton races to unlock the mystery of the manuscript, he is accused of murder, pursued by federal agents and targeted by assassins. But the greatest threat comes from a man known only as Faust - a shadowy figure from Middleton’s past.

The Chopin Manuscript is being delivered serially with new installments available every Tuesday.

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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Friday, September 28, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for September 28, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending September 28, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Two mysteries that debuted last week on the list move into the top four this week: by and his son Felix Francis, and by . by remains at the top.

Shoot Him if He Runs by Stuart WoodsNew this week: by Stuart Woods, the latest in this bestselling series featuring New York attorney Stone Barrington. Teddy Fay, a rogue agent last seen escaping an imploding building in Iron Orchid, has been considered dead for some time now. But President Will Lee thinks Teddy may still be alive. In a top-secret Oval Office meeting, Stone learns that he and his cohorts, Holly Barker and Dino Baldachetti, are being sent to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Marks, courtesy of the CIA, to track down Teddy once and for all. St. Marks is a vacationer's paradise, but its luxurious beach clubs and secluded mountain villas are home to corrupt local politicians and more than a few American ex-pats with murky personal histories. Stone and Holly soon discover that in St. Marks, everyone is hiding something, and Teddy Fay may just be hiding in plain sight.

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine HarrisThe third mystery in the Harper Connelly series by , , has the psychic detective hired to find a boy gone missing in Doraville, . She and her brother Tolliver head there-only to discover that the boy was only one of several who had disappeared over the previous five years. All of them teenagers. All unlikely runaways, All calling for Harper. Harper soon finds them-eight victims, buried in the half-frozen ground, all come to an unspeakable end. Afterwards, what she most wants to do is collect her fee and get out of town ahead of the media storm that's soon to descend. But when she's attacked and prevented from leaving, she reluctantly becomes a part of the investigation as she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of Doraville-knowledge that makes her the next person likely to rest in an ice cold grave.

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, September 27, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Boca Moon by Frank Foster

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

Boca Moon by
Non-series

Hilliard & Harris (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59133-218-4 (1591332184)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59133-218-3 (9781591332183)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $28.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Lynn Woo's former commanding officer in Naval Intelligence is vacationing on a tropical island in Southwest Florida. Retired Admiral Whit Jenkins' son-in-law chooses the wrong night to take his infrared camera to the salty back bays in search of panthers. He pays for it with his life and Lynn discovers his murdered, mutilated body strung between two mangrove trees. It's been years since she's seen the result of violent death and she hasn't missed it.

But now Lynn must tell Jenkins about the murder, and, ignoring her new back bay nature tour business, she plunges into the investigation. Along the way, Lynn deals with more murders, live alligators, seamy commercial fishermen, a fiery Seminole Indian girl, and attempts on her own life. She's helped by her best island friend, who is a mammoth, black sheriff's deputy, and her lover, who is a hand-washing germ freak. It all happens in a real place - Boca Grande - a tony tropical island on Florida's southwest coast. It's home to coconut palms and banyans, pelicans and iguanas, and rich people who mingle freely with the island folks.

When Lynn Woo closes in on a den of greed and ego which will stop at nothing, including murder, she's met with a jolting surprise ending to this twisting tale of tropical skullduggery.

Review: Frank Foster's debut mystery, Boca Moon, has as its central character the smart, street-wise, and tough Lynn Woo, a former Navy diver, and is set on the southwest Florida island of Boca Grande (about half-way between and the Everglades), shortened to just "Boca" by its residents.

Three men, who are on Boca Grande for very different reasons, are murdered within a very short time of each other. Millard Savage, the first to die, had come to Boca for a month’s vacation with his wife and his father-in-law, Ret. Admiral Whitman Jenkins IV. Next, Sammy Osceola, a full blooded Seminole Indian, had come down to Boca from Tallahassee for a few days to visit with Lynn, his friend from college, and to see his daughter studying at Florida State. Finally there was Aubry Lowe, a fisherman and guide who had lived in Boca his whole life. It is up to the local police force, with the unsolicited help of Lynn, to solve the mystery linking these crimes.

This intriguing book has a lot going for it. The unconventional characters are appealing and Boca Grande is the perfect setting for a mystery. The narrative is fast-paced and the conclusion thrilling. Late in the story, how Lynn escapes from her assailants, finding herself 18 miles off-shore in the cold waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is truly compelling.

The only downside to the book is the author's insistence in relating what each person is wearing at all hours of the day or night, whether they were about to go fishing or getting ready to dine at a fine restaurant. Not only is it distracting, it takes away from the suspense of story he's written.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Boca Moon and to Strategic Vision 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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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mystery Book Review: A Killer's Kiss by William Lashner

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of A Killer's Kiss by William Lashner. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.A Killer's Kiss by William Lashner

A Killer's Kiss by
A Victor Carl Mystery

William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-114346-4 (0061143464)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-114346-5 (9780061143465)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): There's nothing easier—or more dangerous—than falling into bed with an old lover. Especially when you're Victor Carl.

Once upon a time, Victor was engaged to a woman named Julia. She was beautiful and elegant and not the kind of woman to end up with a second-rate lawyer on the edge of insolvency. Victor always assumed she'd burn him, and she did. Now she's back, trailing an expensive perfume that reeks of trouble.

Julia's husband has been murdered, her fingerprints are all over the crime scene, and $1.7 million in cash is missing. Julia is suddenly in desperate need of a fall guy. Is that why she turns up on Victor's doorstep on the night of the murder, with her lipstick fresh and her heels high? It's all enough to make Victor doubt the healing power of love.

But in Victor's world lust trumps reason seven days a week. As he reaches for his old lover, he convinces himself that Julia truly wants to make amends for the past, that they might have a future together, and that the Beatles were right—all you need is love. Until two cops troop into his apartment and start fingering Victor for the murder.

Suddenly, Victor Carl, a man who has spent a lifetime making bad decisions for the worst reasons, is no longer fighting to rekindle a lost love. He's fighting to save his life.

Review: The seventh mystery in the Victor Carl series, A Killer's Kiss by William Lashner, is one of the most entertaining novels of the year ... and a first rate mystery as well.

"Who was that?" She stood there, trim and tawny, long legs falling out of a towel wrapped tightly around her body. To see her standing in my living room was to see a future devoid of want and strife, all my dreams satisfied, all my hopes fulfilled. She was a worker's paradise in one stunning figure. I stared for a moment, I couldn't help myself. "It was the cops," I said finally. "Really, what did they want?" I looked at her for a moment longer and then turned back to the window. "They came," I said without turning around, "to tell me that your husband's been murdered."

What a terrific way to start a book. attorney Victor Carl finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation in which he is intimately involved. The husband of an ex-girlfriend, someone with whom he is still desperately in love, has been murdered, and if he's not the prime suspect, Julia, the victim's wife, is, and therefore he is too by association. Victor has to figure out a way to prove that not only is he innocent, but Julia as well. Only he's not quite sure Julia is innocent. Then there's the missing money. One point seven million dollars. Julia doesn't have it and apparently knows little about it. But several people are looking for it, and finding the money seems to be more important than finding the killer.

It's hard not to like Victor Carl. He's sarcastic and quick with a verbal comeback but he's also charming and witty. He's not above negotiating when he's clearly in no position to do so. He cares deeply for others but not at the expense of neglecting to look out for himself. And he's devious. His maneuvering to get all the principal parties together in the same place at the same time toward the end of the story is quite clever. Better yet, the unexpected final plot twist makes for an apt conclusion to this exceptional book.

Unfortunately, A Killer's Kiss will be the last of the Victor Carl mysteries for a while. In a postscript, the author states he and his character are going to take a break. Until he returns, Victor will be sorely missed.

Special thanks to Authors on the Web for providing a copy of A Killer's Kiss 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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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Midsomer Murders, Numb3rs, and The Streets of San Francisco

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

The villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in . Based on characters created by , the series stars John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and John Hopkins as Sergeant Dan Scott.

The four mysteries included in this 4 disk DVD set were originally shown in the UK on ITV1 from October 2004 through January 2005: Things That Go Bump in the Night, Dead in the Water, Orchis Fatalis, and Bantling Boy.

stars Rob Morrow as FBI Special Agent Don Eppes who recruits his younger brother Charlie (played by David Krumholtz), a mathematical genius, to help him solve crimes in Los Angeles. The series also stars Judd Hirsch as their father.

Numb3rs first aired on CBS in January 2005 and remains in production today. This DVD set includes all 23 episodes from the third season on 6 disks.

The premiere of the 4th season of Numb3rs is scheduled for Friday, September 28, on CBS. For more information on the series, visit its website on CBS.com.

starred Karl Malden as Detective Lieutenant Mike Stone and Michael Douglas as his rookie partner Inspector Steve Keller. The series was filmed entirely in and around .

The 1st season ran for 26 episodes during the 1972/1973 television season on ABC. Paramount is releasing episodes from this season on two separate DVD sets. The first set was released last April; this DVD set includes the final 13 episodes of the season on 4 disks. See the opening credits on YouTube here.

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

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for September 24, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for September 24, 2007A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

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

This week's letters and mystery clue: A D E H I L O S U. This is the last name of an irrepressibly curious amateur sleuth created by (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!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070923

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Marilyn Stasio reviews several new mysteries in her Crime column on The New York Times, including and , both of which hit the list last week.

• News-Press.com reporter Charles Runnells interviews , author of the Dexter series. (MBN note: The first season of the Showtime series based on Lindsay's novels is available from .) In a related article, mystery columnist Oline H. Cogdill reviews Lindsay's latest Dexter thriller, , on the Sun-Sentinel.com.

• The Edmonton Journal is asking readers to help it write a serialized murder mystery. Edmonton author Thomas Wharton has penned the first chapter, a riveting opener about a bloody murder aboard the Edmonton Queen on the North Saskatchewan.

• The ABC affiliate in Los Angeles reports on companies designing more video games for girl gamers. They specifically cite the , which are available from our partner website .

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

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for September 21, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending September 21, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff LindsayNew this week on the bestselling mystery books list: by . This 3rd entry in the series has crime scene investigator Dexter Morgan's happy existence turned upside-down when he is called to a particularly disturbing crime scene at the university campus. Dexter’s Dark Passenger (the reptilian voice inside him) immediately senses something it recognizes, something utterly chilling, and the Dark Passenger—mastermind of Dexter’s investigative and homicidal prowess—goes into hiding. Dexter is alone for the first time in his life, and he realizes he’s being hunted by an adversary more sinister than anything he’s ever faced. Dexter must summon his sharpest investigative powers not only to pursue his enemy, but to locate—and truly understand—his Dark Passenger. (MBN note: The Dexter Morgan character has also been adapted for a series on Showtime simply titled . A DVD set of Season 1 as well as individual episodes may be purchased from .)

The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen, author of the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles mysteries, has a stand-alone thriller new on the list: . Julia Hamill has made a horrifying discovery on the grounds of her new home in rural Massachusetts: a skull buried in the rocky soil–human, female, scarred with the unmistakable marks of murder. Flashing back to 1830 , medical student Norris Marshall has joined the ranks of local “resurrectionists”, those who plunder graveyards and harvest the dead for sale on the black market to pay for his education. But when a distinguished doctor is found murdered and mutilated on university grounds, Norris finds that trafficking in the illicit cadaver trade has made him a prime suspect. Kirkus Reviews states that this old mystery crossed with a modern story "entices readers to keep turning pages long after their bedtimes."

Dead Heat by Dick Francis and Felix Francis and his son Felix Francis have written a new mystery that also debuts on the bestseller list: . Max Moreton is a rising culinary star and his Newmarket restaurant, The Hay Net, has brought him great acclaim and a widening circle of admirers. But when nearly all the guests who enjoyed one of his meals at a private catered affair fall victim to severe food poisoning, his kitchen is shuttered and his reputation takes a hit. Scrambling to meet his next obligation, an exclusive luncheon for forty in the glass-fronted private boxes at the Two Thousand Guineas, Max must overcome the previous evening's disaster and provide the new American sponsors of the year's first classic race with a day to remember. Then a bomb blast rips through the private boxes, killing some of Max's trusted staff as well as many of the guests. As survivors are rushed to the hospital, Max is left to survey the ruins of the grandstand-and of his career. Two close calls are too close for comfort, and Max vows to protect his name-and himself-before it's too late. Kirkus Reviews calls Dead Heat "engaging" and adds, "[the] durable Max is a worthy addition to Francis's gallery of racetrack detectives."

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, September 20, 2007

Mystery Book Review: A Trial of One by Mary E. Martin

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

A Trial of One by
The Osgoode Trilogy

iUniverse (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-595-68831-4 (0595688314)
ISBN-13: 9978-0-595-68831-9 (9780595688319)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $32.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Attorney Harry Jenkins is on a frantic search for shares of Elixicorp Enterprises stock, worth over thirty million dollars, for his elderly client, Norma Dinnick. The shares were originally sold to raise money for research into memory loss in seniors. Ironically, no one seems to remember just where the shares might be. Pursuing Jenkins through and London, and to the darkened, narrow calles of , is Dr. Robert Hawke, a sinister madman who claims to have the cure for Alzheimer's disease.

As their chase unravels a decades-old fraud, yet another search is underway for the mysterious Q.

Dorothy Crawford, widow of Jenkins' law partner Richard Crawford, believes Q, a jealous lover or angry husband, has murdered her husband.

Review: Mary E. Martin brings her Osgoode trilogy to a close with A Trial of One, an international thriller that provides closure to the many storylines introduced in this series.

It isn't strictly necessary to read the previous volumes in this series to appreciate this one, though it may help; sufficient background information is given here so that new readers aren't completely lost as they get started. Toronto attorney Harry Jenkins is finally given the clues needed to locate the money taken years earlier in a con that went wrong. He has a new adversary, however, in Dr. Robert Hawke, a geriatric researcher who believes he has a claim on the money that would be used to further his study into Alzheimer's. When Harry realizes that Hawke will stop at nothing to obtain the funds, he knows he must move the money from one hidden location to another to protect not only his client, but also to save his life.

A Trial of One may be the best of the series. It is exceptionally well written; Martin has a flair for dialog and settings, and her narrative keeps the plot moving forward. The title, often referred to by Hawke in a menacing manner, is more appropriately applied to Harry himself. In both personal and professional ways, he's conflicted. His actions and decisions dictate which direction his life will take. He is, in effect, on trial, if only in his own mind. A measure of how well this character is developed is that one is never quite sure what he will do.

As with the previous book, the basic question of "why now" remains unresolved at the end of this series. Harry's client, Norma Dinnick, obviously knew where the money was and how to retrieve it. Why did she wait all these years to instruct Harry to get it? Was she trying to outlive anyone who might lay claim to it? Was she afraid if she did get it, she wouldn't live to enjoy it? The answers to these questions aren't critical to enjoying the book, but they might have helped explain some of the motivation behind the search.

In an , she mentions she is considering another trilogy with Harry Jenkins. It would be most appropriate: this intriguing character deserves another case.

Special thanks to Mary E. Martin for providing an ARC of A Trial of One 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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Compendium of Mystery News 070919

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Two articles on the recently published debut novel by Terry Shaw, . USA Today has a brief overview and review of the novel, while Otto Penzler goes into more detail about the book in his column on NYSun.com. (MBN note: Mysterious Reviews has published a review of on its website.)

MarketingWeek is reporting that Person Longman is rolling out a series of English language learning books based on the novels of Agatha Christie. The first two books in the language learning series , expected to go on sale next year, will be Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot) and The Body in the Library (Miss Marple).

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, September 18, 2007

Mystery Book Review: False Fortune by Twist Phelan

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

False Fortune by
A Pinnnacle Peak Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-363-9 (1590583639)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-363-0 (9781590583630)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Business attorney Hannah Dain is in such deep water not even her trusty kayak can keep her afloat. A trip to an abandoned uranium mine with her sister Shelby turns into a daring lake rescue. Then Hannah is appointed lead counsel in Shelby's pollution case on behalf of the local Indian tribe against the Feds - a case that some people will do anything to keep out of the courtroom. When things seem as if they can't get any stranger, a recently discovered family member shows up on Hannah's doorstep.

Review: Twist Phelan's fourth mystery in the Pinnacle Peak series, False Fortune, has attorney Hannah Dain involved in an unnecessarily complex case of the US government accused of polluting the land of a local Indian tribe.

Hannah, her half-sister Shelby, and lead council Franklin Rowley are trying to come to an agreement with the Federal Government over a pollution complaint by an Arizona tribe dating back 50 years. The government accepts full responsibility and has offered a very generous settlement. When Rowley has a heart attack, the court appoints Hannah as lead council and gives her two weeks to prepare her settlement case. Shelby, however, is not convinced the agreement is in the best interest of their clients, and disavows the settlement. When Hannah tries to seek the help of a friend to provide additional evidence against the government, they find their lives in danger. Those who are trying to cover up the crime are associated with government lawyers, local businessmen, and legal representatives for the Indian tribe, many of which won't just stop at a cover up, but are willing to commit murder to prevent this case from being heard.

A parallel storyline has Hannah discovering she has another half-sister, Anuya, who surprises Hannah by showing up and announcing that she intends to stay with her for a while. Anuya insists on accompanying Hannah on her investigation to find out who is polluting the reservation. Over the course of one night they have their tires slashed, are shot at, and hide out in a bat cave. On another night they are forced into a ditch, are shot at, and hide out in a cave that is later blasted shut forcing them to dig their way out. Throughout all this, Hannah learns who is doing the illegal dumping, but who is trying to kill them remains unknown.

Although there are some very interesting and quirky parts to False Fortune, it's rather tedious after a while. In spite of all the action, the story itself seems to falter, especially after Anuya enters the picture and Shelby inexplicably is shunted off to the sidelines. The mystery of who, what, where, and why seem lost in a convoluted plot which never seems to regain its early momentum.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of False Fortune 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.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for September 17, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for September 17, 2007A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

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

This week's letters and mystery clue: A D G I N O R S U. This “finder” is featured in the historical mysteries set in ancient Rome by Steven Saylor (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!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070916

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Brighter Minds Media, LLC in conjunction with HER Interactive, announces the commencement of Nancy Drew and the Search for the Web Clue, an online scavenger hunt contest based on the mystery of .

USA Today reports that has written (in conjunction with several other mystery authors) The Chopin Manuscript, the first major work of fiction created to be introduced only as an audio download.

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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Friday, September 14, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070914

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The results of the Quill Awards were announced this week. Readers can vote among the winners for Book of the Year. In the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category, the winner was by Laura Lippman.

• Congratulations to the mystery book review site Reviewing the Evidence for being nominated for an in the Special Services category.

• Roberta Alexander reviews new mystery books in her It's a Mystery column on the Contra Costa Times.

• More from Janice O'Leary of the Boston Globe on Kate Mattes' plans for her Cambridge (MA) mystery bookstore, Kate's 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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Mystery Bestsellers for September 14, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending September 14, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Youve Been Warned by James PattersonIt is not unusual for to have multiple books on the mystery bestseller list. This week he has three: , , and his latest book, co-written with Howard Roughan. Kristin Burns is making her way in New York City. Her photos are being considered at a major Manhattan gallery, she works by day with two wonderful children, and the man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. But just as everything she's ever wanted is finally within reach, her life changes forever--with one murderous nightmare. Kristin wakes up every morning from the same chilling, unforgettable dream. And suddenly, it's visiting her during the day too. As her life turns stranger by the minute, Kristin is haunted and terrified. Is it all in her head? Or is the nightmare becoming her life? Kristin searches desperately for what's real through the lens of her camera, only knowing two things for sure: that no place is safe and the fate of everyone she loves lies in her hands. Reviews have been decidedly mixed, but this being a Patterson novel, it will likely be on this list for several months to come.

For readers wondering when the next Alex Cross mystery will be published, it is scheduled for release this November. Titled , it is available for pre-order.

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, September 13, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Page One Vanished by Nancy Barr

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Page One: Vanished by Nancy Barr. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Page One: Vanished by Nancy Barr

Page One: Vanished by
A Robin Hamilton Mystery

Arbutus Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-933926-16-3 (1933926163)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933926-16-2 (9781933926162)
Publication Date: May 2007
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): While browsing through an eclectic used bookstore in Copper Harbor, , Robin Hamilton, vacationing newspaper reporter, spies a dusty old scrapbook with a cover photo of a young girl with golden brown eyes. The label reads Mary Jo Quinn – 1960-1974. Inside, newspaper clippings from regional newspapers cover Mary Jo’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.

Then Robin’s friend Charlie Baker, an Escanaba city cop, mentions a girl who disappeared from Ishpeming in ’79 – just vanished. More questions by Robin produce similar news stories, first from Robin’s newspaper editor and then from her father — about two more teenage girls, one missing from Manistique and another from Kingsford —both vanished without a clue or body ever found.

Now Robin has the scent and begs her editor for time and an expense account to pursue clues and a news story. The hunt takes Robin across the length and breadth of the and into her own recent and distant past, tracking the fates of five unfortunate girls over a span of 30 years.

The girls remain hidden—the mystery itself out of sight—until Robin Hamilton encounter the hideous truth.

Review: Nancy Barr's second Robin Hamilton mystery, Page One: Vanished, opens with the small town reporter finding a scrapbook in a used bookstore that prompts her to investigate the disappearance of a young girl over 30 years ago.

While discussing the scrapbook with a friend, she learns another girl disappeared in the same general area, though many years later. As she continues to pursue her story, she discovers several teenaged girls had disappeared without a trace over a three decade period. But the only thing they apparently had in common was their interest in the arts: music, painting, and the like. When another girl vanishes, Robin is convinced it's related to the disappearance of all the others, and is determined to find out who is responsible.

Certainly a great appeal of this series is the setting. Both the first book in this series and this one are set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There are no large cities in this sparsely populated region, just small towns widely separated. As a reporter for a local newspaper, she doesn't have access to all of the resources a large city daily would have, and her low-tech pursuit for the truth is exciting to follow. In the end, Barr puts an unexpected twist on the highly foreshadowed conclusion making it much more intriguing than it otherwise would have been.

At over 300 pages, Page One: Vanished is far too long for the story being told. True, Robin has a lot of ground to cover during her investigation, but it isn't strictly necessary to relate every detail of every trip she takes as she travels from one town to the next. And she does a lot of traveling. It's interesting at first, but rapidly gets repetitive

Robin Hamilton is one small town investigative reporter that is worth getting to know. It's not essential to read the first two books in order, but doing so helps the reader understand some of her development as a character here. One can look forward to a third book in the series: a hint to its storyline is given in the final paragraphs of Page One: Vanished.

Special thanks to Arbutus Press for providing a copy of Page One: Vanished 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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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Face Down O'er the Border by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Face Down O'er the Border by
A Lady Appleton Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-91-X (188028491X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-91-9 (9781880284919)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Catherine, Lady Glenelg, is accused of murdering her mother-in-law, Susanna must travel o'er the border to discover who really committed the crime.

Review: Kathy Lynn Emerson contrasts the gripping events of political unrest in 1577 Scotland with a seemingly simple domestic crime in Face Down O'er the Border, the 10th mystery in the Susanna, Lady Appleton series.

Jean Ferguson, Lady Russell, daughter of the seventh baron Glenelg, and her daughter-in-law, Catherine Russell, alone in their home, were assumed to been having an argument at the top of the spiral staircase. The house staff was out on errands and there were no witnesses to what happened next. When found later at the bottom of the stairs, Jean had blood and skin under her fingernails and Catherine’s face was scratched. Both women appeared to be unconscious. Annabel MacReynolds, an old friend of Catherine’s found them. Catherine was indeed unconscious, but Jean was dead. When it became apparent that Catherine was going to be accused and arrested for Jean’s death, Annabel insisted Catherine leave Glenelg House, and hide out as a maid servant in other houses until Susanna, Lady Appleton, a dear friend and amateur sleuth, could come and try to solve the crime.

As a historical mystery, Emerson includes real people who lived and ruled in Scotland during the time this mystery was set. Some of these people may factor into the death of Lady Russell. Was her death an accident? Was she killed intentionally by her daughter-in-law? Or was she somehow involved in the political unrest in Scotland and someone else was the killer? Though Catherine has suffered a memory loss for the time period, during, and just after the fall, Susanna does not believe she killed Lady Russell who appears to have died as a result of strangulation, not the fall. It takes all of Susanna’s wit and cunning to find the answers to where Catherine has disappeared to, and just who killed Jean Ferguson and why.

This very interesting story involves more than just the murder and subsequent investigation. Historical details such has how people dressed, how they managed their homes, and even how their horses are treated are included. The whodunit aspect is also well done, the result being an exciting mystery until the very end.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Face Down O'er the Border and to Perseverance 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.

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Mysteries on TV: Prime Suspect, Bones, and Jericho of Scotland Yard

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

starred the amazing Helen Mirran in her last performance as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison. The series was based on the character created by Lynda La Plante in her trilogy of Prime Suspect mysteries from the early 1990s.

Originally airing on ITV1 in the UK, Prime Suspect aired as part of Masterpiece Theater on PBS in the US. This DVD set includes the 184 minute episode Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act on 2 disks.

Watch an exclusive clip of Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act on Amazon.com here.

starred Emily Deschanel as forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan. David Boreanaz plays FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth who assigns her unsolved crimes to work on. The series characters are based on those created by mystery author .

Bones first aired on Fox in September 2005 and remains in production today. This DVD set includes all 22 episodes from the second season on 6 disks.

Watch the opening credits from Bones Season 2 on YouTube.com here.

starred Robert Lindsay as Detective Inspector Michael Jericho of Scotland Yard. The series also starred David Troughton as Detective Sergeant Clive Harvey and Ciaran McMenamin as Detective Constable John Caldicott. The series is set in London in the late 1950s.

ITV1 aired 4 episodes in the UK during the fall of 2005. Mystery! on PBS aired the episodes in the US. This DVD set includes the third and fourth episodes on 2 disks.

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

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for September 10, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for September 03, 2007A new has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

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

This week's letters and mystery clue: A D E H K N O S W. According to the title of a Mick Sever mystery by , this criminal activity happened in South Beach (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!

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070909

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Majesco Entertainment provides some screen shots of its upcoming Nancy Drew mystery for the Nintendo DS as well as creating a new website for what is expected to be a series of games for this platform. (MBN note: Visit to see all as well as get information on .)

• Metro.co.uk has a 60 second interview with Ian Rankin.

January Magazine interviews author M. J. Rose, whose latest thriller was published this month.

• Maureen Corrigan in the Washington Post writes about two new books with killer destinations.

Marilyn Stasio reviews several new mysteries for her column in The New York Times.

• And, over in the UK, Jake Kerridge reviews crime fiction for his column in the Telegraph.

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 Bestsellers for September 07, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending September 07, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

As predicted last week, latest Temperance Brennan mystery, , owns the top position in this week's mystery bestseller list.

Heartsick by Chelsea CainNew on the list this week: by Chelsea Cain. Portland Detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful serial killer, but in the end she caught him. Gretchen kidnapped Archie and tortured him for ten days, then she released him and turned herself in. Now Gretchen is locked away, while Archie is in a prison of another kind—addicted to painkillers, and powerless to erase those ten days from his mind. When another killer begins snatching teenage girls, Archie knows that he has to pull himself together and investigate the murders. Newspaper reporter Susan Ward begins following Archie’s investigation, sparking a deadly game between Archie, Susan, the new killer, and even Gretchen. They need to catch a killer, and maybe somehow Archie can now free himself from Gretchen once and for all. The New York Times states that HeartSick is "lurid and suspenseful with well-drawn characters, plenty of grisly surprises and tart dialog, it delivers what readers of this particular kind of thriller expect."

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, September 06, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Way Life Should Be by Terry Shaw

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Way Life Should Be by Terry Shaw. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Way Life Should Be by Terry Shaw

The Way Life Should Be by Terry Shaw
Non-series

Simon & Schuster Touchstone (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-6312-1 (1416563121)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-6312-9 (9781416563129)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $14.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Newspaper editor John Quinn and his wife have returned to his hometown to raise their son, but real estate prices have soared and natives are being pushed out. Then a popular politician and family man is murdered at a well-known gay pickup spot. The victim was Quinn's childhood friend, Paul Stanwood. Quinn insists Paul was only investigating a police crackdown at the park.

When the police chief and others seem to ignore and downplay obvious clues, Quinn takes matters into his own hands. Even though his wife's car is vandalized and a source is severely beaten after he speaks out on the hidden violence against gays, Quinn refuses to stop looking for answers. With so many people hiding secrets -- secrets some are willing to kill for -- Quinn has to find out the truth about his friend's murder before he, too, is permanently silenced.

Review: Winner of the 2007 Gather.com First Chapters writing competition, the mystery novel The Way Life Should Be by Terry Shaw is an intriguing character study of life in a small town along the coast.

John Quinn's family had been living in Stone Harbor for generations and running the local newspaper for the better part of the last century. Following the death of his father, Quinn, who had left Stone Harbor to seek a more exciting life, returned to the small town to assume operational and editorial control of the family business. When Paul Stanwood, a close friend, is murdered in a local park known as a meeting place for gay men, Quinn is shocked not only at the death of his friend but that he may also have been leading a secret life. Determined to discover the truth behind Stanwood's murder, Quinn begins an investigation that takes him down a path of secrets and lies that winds its way through his hometown.

Shaw depicts life in this small Maine town through his characters, and the depth of their development as the story progresses is one of the strong points of the book. Though Quinn is the primary character, his family, friends, and associates all play substantial parts and are given fully developed roles. The author also asks some important questions about the newspaper business. What function does a small town paper play in an age of global media empires and the internet? As a business, should the primary motivation be to make a profit or to be a voice for the community? Can one be achieved without sacrificing the other?

At its core, however, The Way Life Should Be is a mystery and ironically this may be its weakest point. From a plot perspective, the murder and its resolution are well thought out. But the attempts at misdirection are handled clumsily and at times seem disjointed or incomplete. The fluid point-of-view doesn't help and can change abruptly, sometimes within a single paragraph. When two or more men are together in a scene, for example, it often isn't clear to whom the "he" refers.

Despite these minor shortcomings, The Way Life Should Be is a considered, thoughtful debut mystery and is recommended.

Special thanks to Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for providing an ARC of The Way Life Should Be 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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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Buffalo Mountain by Frederick Ramsay

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

Buffalo Mountain by
An Ike Schwartz Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-369-8 (1590583698)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-369-2 (9781590583692)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): It's the bleak midwinter and the Shenandoah Valley is poised on the brink of an unusually icy and snowy season. Alexei Kamarov's body is discovered in a forest within the Picketsville town limits. His driver's license identifies him as Randall Harris. The last Sheriff Ike Schwartz heard of Kamarov, he was reported missing, presumed dead, in Russia, the victim of intelligence game-playing.

Ike is not happy with this piece of his past. Ike's former CIA colleague and friend Charlie Garland asks Ike to keep a lid on the investigation.

Slowly, interagency rivalries surface as local petty criminals vie with international assassins and plotters for attention. All the while, Buffalo Mountain looms in the background. Does the community's violent history have something do with this recent murder? Or is Kamarov's death part of some greater political plot?

Review: Buffalo Mountain, the third book in this series by Frederick Ramsay featuring Sheriff Ike Schwartz, is a convoluted yet enjoyable mystery set in the foothills of Buffalo Mountain western .

Ike is the chief law enforcement officer for the city of Pittsville. He has a small police force to work with him, including Sam Ryder, a computer wizard who can hack into virtually any computer. When a dead body is found, Ike is called to the scene. Though identified by his driver's license as Randall Harris, a member of a local clan known for its feuds with another family, Ike recognizes him as Alexei Kamarov, a Russian operative that Ike had known while he was working for the CIA. Alexei had been reported missing and presumed dead by the CIA. And now he has turned up in Pittsville. Is it just a coincidence that Ike happens to be Sheriff there? Is his death simply the result of a conflict between families in the area? Or could it be political? Or something else?

As Ike begins his investigation, Sam does a bit of electronic sleuthing and finds that the FBI and CIA are already aggressively following the dead man's money trail. Alexei had extensive financial resources and when someone starts using his credit cards and ATM accounts, they think they may have their killer.

There are any number of suspects who have connections to both Alexei and Ike, including a minister of a local church, a Colonel who served in three wars, and some young men living in the hills. Though at times confusing to follow, this whodunit is a real page turner that has what every mystery should have: a credible plot, suspense tempered with a little humor, and a charming love story.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Buffalo Mountain 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.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 070904

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

John Mark Eberhart interviews mystery author in The Kansas City Star. Burke's latest mystery is the first in a new series featuring NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher.

Margaret Cannon reviews several new mysteries in her column on TheGlobeandMail.com.

• Author Nancy Pickard talks to St. Louis Post-Dispatch book editor Jane Henderson about the craft of writing mysteries.

David Fischer of the Associated Press profiles , author of the Dexter thrillers that serve as the basis for the Showtime series Dexter. (MBN note: The first season of is available on DVD; visit for more information.)

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: Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

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

starred Patricia Routledge as a 60-something amateur sleuth. Hetty Wainthropp was based on a character from the David Cook novel Missing Persons; a screenplay adapted from this book served as the series pilot that aired in 1990.

BBC-1 aired 27 episodes of Hetty Wainthropp Investigates over 4 seasons from 1996 through 1998. This collection contains every episode plus the rarely seen pilot, Missing Persons, on 13 disks.

Watch the opening credits and closing credits (from the 1st episode) on YouTube.com here.

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

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood

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

Raisins and Almonds by
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-168-7 (1590581687)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-168-1 (9781590581681)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Phryne Fisher loves dancing, especially with gorgeous young Simon Abrahams. But Phryne’s contentment at the Jewish Young People’s Society Dance is cut short when Simon’s father asks her to investigate the strange death of a devout young student in Miss Sylvia Lee’s bookshop located in the Eastern Market.

Miss Lee has been arrested for the murder, and Phryne agrees that she is a very unlikely murderer. Investigation leads her into the exotic world of Yiddish, refugees, rabbis, kosher dinners, Kadimah, strange alchemical symbols, and chicken soup.

Phyrne picks her way through the mystery with the help from the old faithfuls Bert and Cec, her taxi driver friends; her devoted companion Dot; and Detective Inspector "Call me Jack" Robinson. Phryne soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery far graver and more political than she at first appreciates.

And all for the price of a song ...

Review: socialite Phyrne Fisher encounters the mystery of alchemy and the reality of Middle East politics in Raisins and Almonds, the ninth mystery in this consistently enjoyable series by Kerry Greenwood. The title is taken from a Yiddish lullaby of the same name.

A young Jewish scholar has dropped dead, murdered in the bookshop of Sylvia Lee. The police arrest the most unlikely suspect for the crime, the bookshop owner Sylvia Lee, and seem content with their decision. Miss Lee's landlord, Benjamin Abrahams, who just happens to be the father of Phyrne's latest lover Simon, suspects someone else may have committed the crime and hires Phyrne to find the real killer.

There is little mystery in Raisins and Almonds. Phyrne knows very early in the book how the scholar was murdered (or at least what was involved in committing the murder), and she probably knows who (as does the reader) as well, but not the why. Her investigation takes her into a world of which she is unfamiliar and, for the most part, in which she is unwelcome. For a series that is generally light and amusing, this book is easily one of the darkest and most somber.

Greenwood is known for adding a little extra mystery for the astute reader at the beginning of each chapter of each book in this series, and part of the fun in Raisins and Almonds is interpretting these mini-mysteries. Anyone with a basic chemistry background will recognize the formulas given at the start of the first two chapters; what do these chemical compounds have to do with the death of a Jewish scholar in a Melbourne bookstore? Many other chapters reference terms of alchemy and the classical elements (water, fire, air, earth). All of these factor into the "why" of the murder but may not explain it entirely. The seemingly omnipresent politics of the Israelis and the Palestinians also play a role here. Is Greenwood trying to equate peace in the Middle East with turning lead into gold under the guise of a murder mystery set in 1920s Australia? Maybe ... or maybe this is just a simple story of a young sophisticated woman solving the murder of a young educated man in a bookshop.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Raisins and Almonds 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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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for September 03, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for September 03, 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 E G H I M N R T. Joan Lowry Nixon set this young adult murder mystery in a summer camp for underachieving teens (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!

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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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