Friday, November 30, 2007

New Hardcover Mysteries for December 2007

New Hardcover Mystery Books for December 2007

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of scheduled for publication in December 2007. Below is a preview of 9 of these books (out of the over 40 listed):

Though the scheduled publication date is reported to be December for these books, the actual dates when books may be purchased can vary widely with some available now and a few not shipping until the following month.

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries.

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 November 30, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top 15 for the week ending November 30, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Another quiet week on the mystery bestseller list with no change among the top 8 titles and no new books added. Next week, however, is sure to see a change. 's 20th Kinsey Millhone mystery, T is for Trespass, is scheduled to be released next Tuesday and it is already a bestseller in pre-sales. (This site only tracks sales of books that have already been released.)

To get a preview of hardcover mystery books scheduled for publication during December, visit our site.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are depicted below:


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

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Mystery Book Review: UltraViolet by Nancy Bush

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

UltraViolet by Nancy Bush
A Jane Kelly Mystery

Kensington Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-7582-0909-6 (0758209096)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-0909-2 (9780758209092)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $19.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): For process server-turned-private investigator, Jane Kelly, weddings are murder. Usually that’s a metaphor, but for newly minted P.I. Jane Kelly, it’s fast becoming an all-too-accurate nightmare. Roland Hatchmere, plastic surgery magnate, has been found murdered just before his daughter’s society wedding. The weapon is a wedding gift: a heavy, silver serving tray. The prime suspect is Roland’s ex-wife #2: Violet “Ultraviolet” Purcell, she of the eccentric-bordering-on-insane Purcell clan.

Violet insists that she’s completely innocent. After all, Roland was her absolute favorite ex-husband. And she was nowhere NEAR him at the time of the murder. Well, okay, technically she did meet him for a little pre-nup, bedroom tête-à-tête just before. And they did have a huge fight. And she did hit him with the tray. But just once. Honest. So could Jane just hurry up and prove her innocence? Sure. That should be easy. Let’s just file this one under “12 Kinds of Crazy.” But when Jane’s boss, the temporarily sidelined Dwayne, is convinced Violet’s telling the truth, well, there’s nothing for Jane to do but take her lovable, misfit pug, Binky, and sniff out a few clues.

Everywhere Jane and The Binkster look, there’s a suspect odder than the last, including two grown, very troubled kids, an ex-wife strung out on Botox and a current wife who’s a cross between Donna Reed and a sex kitten—all of them eager to blame Roland’s death on Violet. It doesn’t help that Violet’s story keeps changing faster than a celebrity’s hair extensions. To make matters worse, Dwayne’s convalescence is turning him into Jimmy Stewart in “Rear Window,” complete with binoculars, and he’s convinced there is something very bad going down in the private houses across Lakewood Bay, something that needs Jane and Binky’s close attention. Faster than she can say, “I took criminology courses for this?”, Jane is up to her eyeballs in lies, secrets, Extreme Botox, New Wave bands, truck-stop coffee kiosks (don’t ask), very good scones, Junior League, wedding bandits, high school sociopaths, Plastic Pet Cemetery (don’t ask, part II), a budding attraction to her boss, the Millionaire’s Club, and someone who would kill to keep the past buried.

The deeper Jane digs, the less she wants to know. Every truth leads her deeper into danger, and soon, Jane wonders if her first official case might also be her last…and if the client she’s been asked to clear just might be the coldest black widow of all …

Review: Jane Kelly gets involved in all sorts of mayhem in Nancy Bush's breezy third mystery featuring the Oregon private investigator, UltraViolet.

Jane's primary case has her investigating whether Violet Purcell, the "UltraViolet" in the book's title, murdered her ex-husband and if she did not, who did. The murder weapon: a silver serving tray that was a gift to her daughter who just happened to be getting married on the fateful day. Violet doesn't deny hitting him with the tray during an argument though she insists he was alive and well when she left. Most of the wedding guests are potential suspects leaving Jane to determine who had the greatest motive to murder the father of the bride.

UltraViolet is certainly entertaining but, at well over 350 pages, it is far too long. Part of the problem here is an astonishing amount of repetition of facts. In the first chapter, for example, the reader is informed no less than 10 times that Jane's employer Dwayne has had an accident and his broken leg is in a cast. Unless the author is concerned about readers skimming through the pages, it's unnecessary to be so repetitive. Having Dwayne be a semi-invalid, however, allows Bush to fill more space in the book by introducing a second Hitchcockian plot involving mysterious happenings across the bay. In some ways, and probably ironically, this subplot is more interesting than the whodunit at the wedding.

Despite Jane's nearly constant activity (she seems to burn more calories in a day than most people do in a week), the author keeps the story briskly moving forward. Bush is adept at misdirection and as the number of suspects dwindles in the waning pages, it's still something of a surprise to find out who killed Violet's ex. And that's probably the most important part of a mystery, to keep the reader guessing until the very end.

Special thanks to Nancy Berland Public Relations for providing an ARC of UltraViolet 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, November 28, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 071128

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Neely Tucker, staff writer for the Washington Post (free registration required), writes an entertaining article on Mannix, a popular detective show from the 70s that has not (yet) made it to DVD—at least not officially. (MBN note: Visit to shop for over 100 detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series that are now available or coming soon to DVD.)

• The Mystery Writers of America, in a press release, have announced that two beacons of the literary community sharing one passion for the crime-writing genre will be honored with the Raven Award for 2008: Kate's Mystery Books and The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Kate Mattes of Kate's Mystery Books is being honored with the Raven due to her tireless efforts in advancing the genre of mystery fiction. The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is receiving the Raven Award in recognition of the constant support and dedication the Center has imparted to MWA and to literacy education as a whole.

• In more MWA news, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America has announced that , author of the Jack Reacher mysteries, will be the guest of honor at next year's SleuthFest held at the Deerfield Beach Hilton on February 28 through March 02, 2008. Doug Lyle will be the forensic guest of honor.

• Hallie Ephron in her On Crime column in The Boston Globe reviews three new thrillers that involve murder most macabre.

• And Sarah Weinman, in her Dark Passages column in the Los Angeles Times, writes about booze and private eyes.

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, November 27, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Face Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
A Charlotte McNally Mystery

Harlequin Books (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-373-88143-6 (0373881436)
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-88143-7 (9780373881437)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $5.50

Synopsis (from the publisher): It's the scoop of a journalist's dreams!

New evidence in an old murder case could set a convicted woman free. Who better to crack the story than 's own version of Brenda Starr? Unfortunately, the prime source won't talk, the attorney general is trying to block the investigation, and the more Charlotte McNally snoops around, the more people turn up dead!

An extended visit from her persnickety mother isn't helping. And Josh, the incredibly sexy new love of her life, may be the picture of perfection, but that includes a close-up of a prickly preteen who's not keen on sharing her daddy with Charlotte.

What's a star reporter to do? If anyone can pull it together it's Charlotte, but she'd better hurry, because someone wants her nose out of their news—for good.

Review: Hank Phillippi Ryan's second mystery to feature Boston journalist Charlotte "Charlie" McNally, Face Time, has the intrepid investigative reporter delving into a cold case murder.

Dorinda Keeler confessed to murdering her husband three years ago. Case closed, right? Not exactly. While investigating the story, Charlie discovers evidence that proves Dorinda is innocent. Case reopened, right? Not exactly. Dorinda insists she is guilty and the authorities want to keep their open-and-shut murder case closed. But Charlie believes Dorinda is lying in order to protect someone, and despite warnings from everyone around her not to get involved, she sets out to prove Dorinda's innocence, endangering her own life in the process.

Aside from her professional responsibilities, Charlie faces personal difficulties at home. Her mother is visiting and Charlie feels guilty about not being able to spend enough time with her. And Charlie is still trying to develop a relationship with the new man in her life Josh, though his 8-year-old daughter has other ideas.

Face Time provides an entertaining insider look at the field of investigative reporting. Ryan balances the mystery and romance elements of the story in such a way that neither dominates nor do they detract from one another. Add a bit of humor here and a dash of danger there, and the overall result is an excellent romantic mystery.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Face Time 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.

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Mysteries on TV: More Series to Enjoy on DVD

Mysteries on TV

No new mystery television series on DVD are being released this week, but we have updated our website with three additional series to the over 100 already available.

Former NFL player Fred Dryer starred as Detective Sergeant Rick Hunter in , a series than ran for 7 seasons from 1984 through 1991 on NBC. For the first 6 seasons, Stepfanie Kramer starred as his partner, Sergeant Dee Dee McCall. Hunter and McCall were homicide investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Hunter was originally conceived as a Dirty Harry for television and as a result the first season is often criticized for having a considerable amount of violence. As Dryer settled into the character of Hunter and the series evolved, the violence lessened (somewhat) for subsequent seasons.

The executive producer for the first season of Hunter was Stephen J. Cannell who was also responsible for many other mystery television series available on this site including , , , , , and others that we hope will soon be available on DVD.

The first 3 seasons of are currently available on DVD.

was a 12 episode series that ran on ITV in the UK from 1992 through 1993. Based on the character created by Georges Simenon, Michael Gambon starred as Inspector Jules Maigret of the Sûreté.

Over the years there have been several adaptations of Maigret on television with this particular series being one of the more successful. In 1988, Richard Harris played Maigret in a short-lived series, also on ITV. Harris later went on to play Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies. Following Harris' death in 2002, in a bit of an ironic twist, Michael Gambon assumed the role of Dumbledore in the subsequent movies.

All 12 episodes of are available on a single DVD set entitled The Maigret Collection.

was a limited run series produced in the UK and originally airing on ITV. 6 episodes (which comprise Season 1) aired in the spring of 2004; 4 additional episodes (which comprise Season 2) aired two years later. Set in a busy inner city murder squad, the series starred Amanda Donahoe as tough, methodical detective Susan Alembis and Kris Marshall as Luke Stone, her inexperienced and unorthodox partner. Working closely with the rest of the squad, their investigations bring them face to face with tormented pasts, grim secrets and deadly deceptions as they follow up grisly discoveries and frequently put their own lives in jeopardy.

The first season of is currently available on DVD.

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

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback Mysteries for December 2007

Mystery Bookshelf: Discover a Library of New Mysteries

has updated its website to include new mass market paperback mystery books scheduled for publication in December 2007. Below is a preview of these mysteries:

Though the scheduled publication date is reported to be December for these books, actual available dates tend to be somewhat fluid with some books already on the shelves and a few not shipping until the following month.

For more information on any of these titles, please visit website. Paperback mysteries published over the past 6 months are also available for browsing, conveniently sorted by author, series character, and date.

Discover a library of new mysteries at the !

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 26, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for November 26, 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 B C D E I K L T. This was the 2nd mystery in the Lewis Cole mystery series 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, November 25, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae

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

Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae
A Home Crafting Mystery with Sophie Mae Reynolds

Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7387-1116-0 (0738711160)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-1116-4 (9780738711164)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $12.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Cocoa butter soap, check. Lemon lip balm, check. A dead body?

That's just what Sophie Mae Reynolds finds in her workroom: the corpse of Walter Hanover, the neighborhood handyman. He died from drinking lye, something she has in good supply. But the police don't suspect Sophie Mae, a thirty—something widow who makes and sells beauty products. Instead they call it a suicide. But why would a man with lottery cash and a loving fiancée kill himself?

No one can stop the impulsive Sophie Mae from answering this riddle, not her sensible best friend Meghan or Detective Ambrose, who incites annoyance as well as stomach flutters. Sophie Mae's big mouth and sharp nose lead her to a peppermint-scented trail of arson, bigamy, and a shocking family secret that reveals a personal connection to Walter ... and his killer.

Review: Cricket McRae's winsome debut mystery, Lye in Wait, introduces Sophie Mae Reynolds, a widow who sets up a craft shop in her home specializing in soaps and other personal care products.

Following her best friend's divorce, Sophie Mae is asked by Meghan Bly to leave Seattle and move in with her and her daughter in the small town of Cadyville, just north of the city. She's not only offered a room but also space in the basement where she can set up a workshop to create products to sell from her home-based business. Everything is working out fine until Sophie Mae one day opens the door to her workshop and finds the body of Walter, their handyman, dead on the floor. It appears as if he had been poisoned by a concoction of lye and other toxic ingredients. The police initially call it suicide, but Sophie Mae could not believe that anyone could deliberately swallow anything containing lye. She's convinced it was murder and sets out to prove it. After all, the dead man was found in her shop!

It is entertaining to follow Sophie Mae as she becomes an amateur sleuth. She's not above being a bit boorish if it furthers her investigation. She discovers that Walter had recently come into some money, always a motive for murder. The suspects are numerous and include Walter's ex-wife, his fiancé’s brother, and even Meghan's ex-husband. All cozies need the gruff but loveable detective, and true to form there's Detective Ambrose who's always on hand to remind Sophie Mae that murder investigations are best left to professionals.

Lye in Wait is an enjoyable book with a credible, if not complex, plot that's handled well. It's a fine start to this new series. And, as is typical of vocation mysteries, at the end of the book are recipes for readers who would like to try to make lye soap and facial creams.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Lye in Wait and to Midnight Ink 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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Compendium of Mystery News 071125

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• The Associated Press (as reported in The Boston Globe) has a brief article on who has said that will be the last book in the Easy Rawlins mystery series.

• Bill Pronzini has been been selected to receive the title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America. He will be honored at the 2008 banquet. (Read the press release here.)

• In other MWA news, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson will serve as the 2007 / 2008 Honorary Co-Chairs of MWA:Reads, the Mystery Writers of America's youth literacy outreach. The program joins authors of juvenile and young adult mysteries with American children, parents, teachers, and librarians in a year-round celebration and promotion of mystery writing and reading designed to foster literacy, deductive reasoning, and critical thinking skills.

• Louis B. Parks in the Houston Chronicle talks to who is completing 6 novels left unfinished by Mickey Spillane at the time of his death in July 2006.

• Eleanor Glover in the Daily Mail interviews David Suchet, star of the hugely popular on television.

The Observer is reporting that Kenneth Branagh plans to take on the role of hunchback lawyer Shardlake, the idiosyncratic character at the center of a series of historical mysteries by C. J. Sansom, for a television series in development by the BBC.

• In an AP article, talks about how lucky he is in Hollywood. Two of his books have already been made into movies (the Oscar winning mystery and more recently Gone Baby Gone, the 4th mystery in the Patrick Kenzie and Angele Gennaro series); a third, Shutter Island, will be directed by Martin Scorsese next year.

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

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills

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

Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills
A Mark Beamon Thriller

Vanguard Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59315-459-3 (1593154593)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59315-459-2 (9781593154592)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Erin Neal has been living a secluded life in the Arizona desert since the death of his girlfriend and he isn't happy when an oil company executive comes calling. A number of important Saudi wells have stopped producing and Erin is the world's foremost expert in resolving just these kinds of complications.

As far as he's concerned, though, he's left that world behind. Not his problem. Homeland Security sees things differently. Erin quickly finds himself stuck in the Saudi desert, studying a new bacteria with a voracious appetite for oil and an uncanny talent for destroying drilling equipment. But worst of all is its ability to spread.

It soon becomes clear that if this contagion isn't stopped, it will infiltrate the world's petroleum reserves, cutting the industrial world off from the energy that provides the heat, food, and transportation necessary for survival. Erin realizes that there's something eerily familiar about this bacteria. And that it couldn't possibly have evolved on its own.

Review: A biological weapon threatens the world's oil supply in Darkness Falls, the fifth Mark Beamon thriller by Kyle Mills. Unfortunately, execution on this intriguing premise is so poor that that any credibility in the plot vanishes along with the reader's interest long before the anti-climatic conclusion.

The plot outline is simple and rather compelling: a bioengineered bacteria, similar to that used to clean up oil spills, is created by an environmentalist determined to save the world from itself (someone also known popularly as an ecoterrorist), which is then introduced into a supply of crude oil, contaminating the raw material and making it unsuitable for refining into usable energy products. The world's leading expert in this field is tapped to identify the source of the contaminant and stop its spread before it's too late.

Inexplicably, Mills takes this promising story and populates it with characters that are such extreme caricatures it is hard to take any of them seriously. (Mark Beamon, the recurring character in this series, is relegated to a minor role here that's completely overshadowed by others.) Erin Neal is a brilliant scientist who has retreated to self-sufficient solitude in the desert after antagonizing virtually everyone of any importance with his opinions on the state of the world's energy supply and use; environmentalists, capitalists, scientists, politicians, and anyone else in his path (including the reader). Jenna Kalin, Erin's presumed dead but just in hiding ex-girlfriend, is a self-serving moderate ecoterrorist who has adapted an oil-consuming bacteria to work in the oxygen-deprived depths of ANWR in Alaska. She doesn't care if the rest of the world destroys their own landscape as long as they leave what she considers hers untouched. Michael Teague is a radical ecoterrorist determined to destroy modern civilization in order to save the planet ... as long as he can assure himself a comfortable spot in the new world order. And a whole cast of government officials who are portrayed as (typically) incompetent.

To make matters worse, far worse, the author introduces a sappy love story between the two principal characters (Jenna and Erin) that would be comical (think Lucy and Desi here; the parallels are so true they're striking) if it weren't so tragically bad. Despite the potential for global chaos, and the fact that they have the expertise to help, Jenna and Erin refuse to cooperate with the authorities because they are concerned they might implicate each other in the original outbreak. In the end, of course, they go skipping down the yellow brick road together which is appropriate since they are primarily responsible for there being no oil available for paving streets.

In the hands of an adept screenwriter, Darkness Falls has the potential to be an interesting, topical movie. And maybe that's where Mills went wrong here: he was thinking more about creating blockbuster visuals with one-dimensional characters for a viewing audience rather than crafting a thoughtful suspense story with three-dimensional characters for a reading one.

Special thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media Relations for providing an ARC of Darkness Falls 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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Friday, November 23, 2007

News: New Mystery Site for the Amazon Kindle Reader

To celebrate the release of the , Amazon's new wireless reading device, we've created a website that lists titles of recently published mystery books currently available for the Kindle: .

According to Amazon's website, the Kindle was designed to provide an exceptional reading experience. Thanks to electronic paper, a revolutionary new display technology, reading Kindle’s screen is as sharp and natural as reading ink on paper—and nothing like the strain and glare of a computer screen.

The Kindle is wireless: No PC and no syncing is needed. Using the same 3G network as advanced cell phones, Amazon delivers your content using a wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet. Unlike WiFi, you’ll never need to locate a hotspot. There are no confusing service plans, yearly contracts, or monthly wireless bills. With Whispernet, you can be anywhere, think of a book, and get it in one minute. Similarly, your content automatically comes to you, wherever you are.

And because you can't judge a book by its cover, Kindle lets you download and read the beginning of books for free. This way, you can try it out—if you like it, simply buy and download with 1-Click, right from your Kindle, and continue reading.

are generally priced between $3.99 and $9.99 and can be downloaded immediately.

currently has a list of almost 150 mystery book titles published from September through November of this year. We'll be adding more over the next few days; watch for our announcement when December titles are available online.

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Mystery Bestsellers for November 23, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top 15 for the week ending November 23, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

by takes over the top spot this week, but otherwise the top 6 mystery bestsellers this week are the same as last week. No new books entered the list.

What's unusual is that Patterson's 6th mystery in the Women's Club series, , has jumped back into the top 15; one wonders if the popularity of the ABC series based on these books has generated interest in the books as well.

The top four bestsellers this week are depicted below:


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, November 20, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 071120

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

MSNBC has an excerpt of 's latest Alex Cross thriller, , on its website.

• More Patterson news: USA Today reports that for the cast and crew of Women's Murder Club, it isn't a "club" so much as a "clan".

Scripps News suggests books for young readers, including the latest in the and the . Both are available on the website.

Reuters interviews Shirley Rousseau Murphy, author of the mystery series featuring cat private investigator Joe Grey.

Otto Penzler writes about and his latest Spenser mystery, , in his column on NYSun.com.

Jem Bloomfield writes about the portrayal of police in detective fiction for an article in the California Literary Review.

• Staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer Art Carey profiles mystery writer Robin Hathaway who didn't begin writing until she was 50, and wasn't published until she was 60. She is the author of two mystery series, Doctor Fenimore and Jo Banks.

Faye Levow chats with mystery writer , author of the Joe Gunther series, in an article on SeacoastOnline.com.

Roberta Alexander reviews several recently published mysteries in her column, It's a Mystery, on MercuryNews.com.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Beating the Babushka by Tim Maleeny

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

Beating the Babushka by Tim Maleeny
A Cape Weathers Mystery

Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7387-1115-2 (0738711152)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-1115-7 (9780738711157)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): A movie producer hurtles to his death from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, an apparent suicide that shocks the film community and puts a two hundred million dollar production in jeopardy.

His colleague, Grace, doesn’t believe it was suicide and turns to private detective Cape Weathers to find the truth. To solve the case, Cape and his friend Sally—an assassin raised by the Triads—take on the Russian mob, a major movie studio, and a recalcitrant police department by enlisting the help of rogue cops, computer hackers, and an investigative journalist who just doesn’t give a damn. But with a sniper on their trail, the challenge will be staying alive long enough to find out the truth.

Review: A perfect example of not judging a book by its cover or title: an exciting, well-written thriller is hidden behind the poor choice of an irrelevant cover photograph and the odd, off-putting title of Beating the Babushka, the second mystery in the Cape Weathers series by Tim Maleeny.

Grace Gold, a producer with a movie studio based in New York City, is working on a film in when her partner jumps to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge. Though the police rule it a suicide, she doesn't believe it and hires Cape Weathers to investigate what really happened. When Cape is threatened by Russian mobsters, he realizes this case is far more complicated that he originally thought. When asked what it was he was investigating, he replies, "I'm not sure. I thought I was investigating a murder, then drugs, and now I think it's something else entirely." And so it is. As Cape delves into the world of high budget movie making, he quickly learns that what seems to be real may just be an illusion.

The opening chapters set the tone for Beating the Babushka. Crisply written narrative and dialog convey much about the characters with a minimum of effort. Consider this early exchange between Grace and Cape at their first meeting:

"Rebecca Lowry said I could trust you," [Grace] said pointedly, watching him.
"That's nice of her." So much for small talk. Let the interview begin.
"She said you could find anyone."
"Most people don't know the good hiding places."
"She also said you almost got killed trying to help her."
"Rebecca was somewhat prone to exaggeration," replied Cape.
"She also said you were modest."
"She mention that I was charming?"
"Never."
Cape nodded. "Rebecca was also prone to understatement."

Much later in the book, a similar exchange between Cape and a man nicknamed the Pole, also involving trust, takes place:

Cape studied the Pole for a minute before answering. "You had me checked out."
"Of course."
"And?"
"You have not lied to me," said the Pole, adding, "yet."
"Which means I can be trusted?"
"It means you are smart."

This is all very well done, and typical of how the characters are developed throughout the entire book. The plot is brisk and just convoluted enough to be credible without slipping into the absurd (though it tests that boundary on occasion). The author's inclusion of real studios and films adds a dash of authenticity and a bit of ironic humor to the story; Empire Studios, however, is fictional (albeit clearly based on a real film studio).

The title refers to a lesson the Pole's mother taught him, that beating his babushka (Russian for grandmother, or in his case, a cherished old friend of the family) at chess would help him see things clearly in life so that he could survive. This reference is too obscure to use as the title, the only serious flaw of this otherwise exceptional thriller.

Special thanks to Midnight Ink for providing a copy of Beating the Babushka 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, November 19, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Mission Impossible and The Wild Wild West

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

Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) once again leads the IMF in . This season's team included the man of a thousand faces Rollin Hand (Martin Landau), model Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain, who won her third consecutive Emmy Award for her performance this season), electronics expert Barney Collier (Greg Morris) and strong man Willy Armitage (Peter Lupus).

The third season of Mission: Impossible aired on CBS from 09/29/1968 to 04/20/1969. This DVD set of 7 disks features all 23 episodes (including two that were shown in 2 parts).

Also available is a boxed set of the first three seasons of the series (Mission: Impossible Seasons 1-3).

James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), two federal secret service agents of President Ulysses S. Grant, take their splendidly appointed private train through the western United States to fight evil in . Not strictly a mystery or suspense series (though there were often elements of both), The Wild Wild West was primarily a combination of a James Bond thriller and a classic western.

The third season of The Wild Wild West aired on CBS from 09/08/1967 to 02/23/1968. This DVD set of 6 disks features all 24 "The Night of the" episodes.

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

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 19, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for November 19, 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 C D E L O S T W. The casefiles included this 63rd adventure in the series (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, November 18, 2007

First Clues: American Girl Mini and Minute Mysteries

We've added a new category to our website: . Girls who love to solve puzzles, uncover clues, and crack cases will certainly enjoy these American Girl mini and minute mysteries.

In the mini mystery books, characters Marie and Noelle join the reader and challenge her to figure out which clues in the story will help solve the mystery, and which one are red herrings. (Red herrings are those clues that draw attention away from the facts.) When they have a suspect and a motive, girls can tear open a case folder in the back of the book to check their answers. 20 stories are presented in each mini mystery book.

Samantha, Josefina, Kit, Molly, and the rest of the American Girl characters are featured in the minute mysteries series. Your young sleuth will be looking for clues that answer the who, what, and why questions posed by the stories (13 in the first volume, 11 in the second).



Also available on our are the American Girl I Love Mysteries Fun Book and the American Girl Mini Mysteries puzzle book.

If the special girl in your family is a fan of the American Girl dolls, she is sure to love these American Girl series of mini and minute mystery books. (We also have available the that include real events and descriptions of how people lived at the time the story takes place.)

is pleased to provide information on over 50 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Wandering Ghost by Martin Limon

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

The Wandering Ghost by Martin Limón
A George Sueño and Ernie Bascom Mystery

Soho Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-481-8 (1569474818)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-481-5 (9781569474815)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $24.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): The only female MP assigned to a base in the DMZ is missing. Has she been abducted, killed or, possibly, gone AWOL? Eighth Army cops George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, sent to find her, discover a murder that has been concealed, rampant black marketeering and corruption, crooked officers, rioting Korean civilians, and the wandering ghost of a schoolgirl run down by a speeding army truck. It is up to them to right egregious wrongs while being pursued by criminals who want to kill them.

Review: George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, military investigators based in South Korea, are given orders to investigate the disappearance of a female MP in The Wandering Ghost, the fifth mystery in this series by Martin Limon.

Cpl. Jill Matthewson left her base three weeks ago and hasn't been seen or heard from since. Her commanding officers prepare to list her as AWOL, but before it becomes official, Sueno and Bascom are assigned to look for her. In their search, they discover a young G.I. has died and his death not reported. Although the top brass says the young man committed suicide, the team learns he was murdered. Plus, he was a good friend of Jill’s. Where is Jill? Who killed the young G.I. and why? And are these cases related? Few in any official capacity seem willing to offer any assistance to help them.

To find the answers, Sueno and Bascom must race against time by delving into the squalor and bizarre clubs in the towns surrounding Seoul. Instead of getting closer to finding Jill, they find widespread black marketing condoned by both the Army brass and the Korean leaders. When they finally do cross paths with her, she still evades them, even though she has less than a day before she will declared AWOL and court-marshaled.

The events in The Wandering Ghost take place over the span of one week with the limiting time factor adding to the suspense generated by the story itself. The conflicts are many, between the Americans and the Koreans, between those in power and those under their command or rule, and between law and order and crime and corruption. There's plenty of action and the mystery is well conceived, yet this is also a dark book and at times troubling to read.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Wandering Ghost and to Soho Press 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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Mystery Bestsellers for November 16, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top 15 for the week ending November 16, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

After a couple of weeks of minor shuffling in the bestsellers list, there were some significant changes for this week. 's just barely edged out the latest Alex Cross thriller for the top spot on the list. , , and round out the top five.

Double Cross by James PattersonJust when Alex Cross thought his life was calming down, he finds himself back in the game-this time to catch a criminal mastermind like no other in 's . A spate of elaborate murders in has the whole East Coast on edge. It is like nothing Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. With each murder, the case becomes increasingly complex. There's only one thing Alex knows: this killer adores an audience. As victims are made into gruesome spectacles citywide, inducing media hysteria, it becomes clear to Alex that the man he's after is a genius of terror-and he's after fame. The killer has the whole city on a string, and he'll stop at nothing to become the most terrifying star that Washington D.C. has ever seen.

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, November 15, 2007

Mystery Book Review: A Dead Man in Tangier by Michael Pearce

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

A Dead Man in Tangier by Michael Pearce
A Seymour of Scotland Yard Mystery

Carroll & Graf (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-7867-2045-X (078672045X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7867-2045-3 (9780786720453)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Pig-sticking is a dangerous sport. Mainly for the pigs of course, but sometimes for the huntsman too, like the unfortunate Monsieur Bossu, an important member of Tangier's foreign community, for whom pig-sticking is a popular recreation. One day, while pursuing that recreation, Monsieur Bossu gets stuck himself

Something for the local police? Well, yes and no. In the Tangier of 1912 sometimes the police are present ... and sometimes not. And who exactly are they answerable to? The new international committee to which, as it happens, Monsieur Bossu was clerk? The chairman is the British Consul, who is naturally above suspicion. But no one else is, so it is decided to bring in an external investigator, Seymour of Scotland Yard, a man who can be safely disowned if things go wrong.

And things inevitably do go wrong in Tangier. This is a country caught between the ancient and the modern, where tradition can be harsh, especially for women, and the future takes the crushing form of a military boot. Soon Seymour realizes that the nearer he comes to the truth of Monsieur Bossu's demise, the more he will be in danger of getting stuck too.

Review: A Dead Man in Tangier is the fourth mystery in this series by Michael Pearce to feature Sandor Seymour of the Special Branch of the Scotland Yard Foreign Office. It takes place in 1912 just after Morocco was decreed to be a protectorate of France.

It is a Frenchman, one Monsieur Bossu, an official with an international committee in Tangier, who has been murdered while pig-sticking, a sport of dubious merits. Seymour is brought in as an independent, and politically neutral, consultant to investigate the crime. He takes a sophisticated approach to solving this crime and through careful observation and methodical questioning, Seymour arrives at the only possible solution to the crime, all the while navigating a fluid bureaucracy and prudently avoiding a series of political landmines that lie in his path.

Much of the appeal of A Dead Man in Tangier is how Pearce captures the substance of this exotic region and succinctly instills in his narrative and characters its very essence. The author also manages to convey the political sensitivities of Tangier at the time this story takes place without being overly burdensome. The solution to the murder is simple yet elegantly presented, in many ways reflecting the book as a whole.

Michael Pearce is also the author of another series, the Mamur Zapt mysteries, set in Egypt during this same time period. It's difficult not to compare the two, but the Seymour of the Special Branch series seem to be a bit more atmospheric and refined. Not necessarily better, but different ... in a good way.

Special thanks to Da Capo Press for providing a copy of A Dead Man in Tangier 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, November 13, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Broken Heartland by J. M. Hayes

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

Broken Heartland by J. M. Hayes
A Mad Dog and Englishman Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-452-X (159058452X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-452-1 (9781590584521)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Sleepy Benteen County, , turns frantic on election day.

Sheriff English, better known as Englishman, faces his toughest re-election challenge yet. The radical religious right is out to unseat him, their candidate an Iraq war hero. And Englishman’s only available deputy isn’t winning him votes, not after ramming a school bus carrying a local teen choir during a pre-dawn chase.The occupants of the vehicle being pursued seem involved with involuntary organ donors and secret surgeries. Englishman’s brother, Mad Dog, a born-again Cheyenne, rushes back from a quest to the Black Hills. Instead of a vision, he had a premonition that the sheriff is in serious danger. Finding his farm vandalized and a cruel political billboard in his front yard, Mad Dog complicates the sheriff’s life by investigating the hate crime himself. The sheriff’s daughters, attending separate colleges, wake with similar premonitions, then cut classes and hurry home to keep their father safe. The sheriff sees them as the ones in need of protection as his day grows progressively wilder. A student smuggles a gun into the school and begins shooting and taking hostages. Then there’s the private army that’s seized a nearby farm and holds citizens against their will. And, when he finds some spare time, Englishman needs to clear up one little thing about his deputy’s accident. Benteen County doesn’t have a teen choir.

Review: The fourth mystery in the Mad Dog and Englishman series by J. M. Hayes, Broken Heartland, takes place during the course of just one frenzied day in Benteen County.

Just before dawn, an automobile accident involving a police car and a school bus filled with children who have (supposedly) been rehearsing for the local church choir at a church camp takes place. It’s also election day, so the area is crowded with pollsters and voters who are questioning the sheriff’s secretary about anything and everything, so much so that she has a hard time answering the telephone and keeping the office available for important calls ... like information on the collision of a police car and school bus. There’s a fifteen year old boy on a rampage with his father’s gun. He has already killed his parents and is now killing fellow students. There’s a mad doctor, with hired gunmen, in town to bring in healthy people for transplants in order to keep an aging televangelist alive. Sheriff English’s daughters, both named Heather and his brother, Mad Dog, have premonitions that Englishman’s life is in danger. Mad Dog drives in from the Black Hills, and both girls leave their respective colleges and drive home, too. With all the unruliness and confusion going on that eventful day, it’s difficult to say just who needed whom.

Hayes does a marvelous job in keeping these various plotlines from spinning out of control. The pace of the book is about as rapid as the stories are frantic and it is thrilling to be a part of it, if only as a reader. The real mystery here is how the author, in the end, brings everything together so well.

Broken Heartland is action, more action, and a bit of a mystery with just a suggestion of a love story. It is highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Broken Heartland 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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Compendium of Mystery News 071113

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

exposes his wit in a lecture at the Performing Arts Center in Tulsa (), and reveals just a little more than we needed to know!

• Angie Harmon discusses on TVGuide.com why she joined ABC's television series Women's Murder Club, based on the novels by .

Universal DVD Games has released After the Funeral, a game based on the Agatha Christie murder mystery featuring Hercule Poirot. (MBN note: This game is apparently only available in the UK at present; there is an entertaining online demo, however.)

• In other game news, The Adventure Company released a version of its PC game, Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None, for the Nintendo Wii last week.

• Mystery columnist Oline H. Cogdill reviews two new books in her column on Sun-Sentinel.com.

Time Magazine interviews bestselling author . His latest book, The Race, is not a mystery per se, but if his past work is any guide, it ought to be a terrific thriller.

• Dinah Birch reviews two new books on Arthur Conan Doyle in The Times Literary Supplement. The first, The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, offers the first definitive biography of the baffling author. The biographer had access to Doyle's newly released personal archive that included correspondence, diaries, original manuscripts and more. The second, Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters, is remarkable annotated collection of Doyle's previously unpublished private correspondence that offers unique insight into one of the world's most popular authors. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, stated that "[t]his will be essential reading for all fans of Conan Doyle and his sleuth."

• The biography of another enigmatic mystery author was published last week: The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved by Judith Freeman. Allen Barra has a review on The New York Sun's website.

• Also on NYSun.com are Otto Penzler's latest, and always entertaining, observations on The Crime Scene.

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: Perry Mason

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

Fifteen cases from the spring of 1959 are presented in . Raymond Burr starred as the famed Los Angeles defense attorney in this long-running series that was based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

Raymond Burr won the first of his two Emmys for his portrayal of Perry Mason during the second season. Also winning this year was Barbara Hale as Mason's secretary, Della Street.

This DVD set of 4 disks features the final 15 episodes from the 2nd season, which originally aired from 02/07/1959 to 06/27/1959, in their original (digitally restored) black-and-white format.

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

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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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