Monday, December 31, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Rumpole Misbehaves by John Mortimer

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

Rumpole Misbehaves by John MortimerBuy from Amazon.com
Rumpole Misbehaves by John Mortimer
A Rumpole of the Bailey Mystery

Viking (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-670-01830-9 (0670018309)
ISBN-13: 978-0-670-01830-7 (9780670018307)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $23.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) may be the pride and joy of the New Labour Party, but they don't cut much ice with Horace Rumpole-he takes the old-fashioned view that if anyone is going to be threatened with a restriction of their liberty then some form of legal proceeding ought to be gone through first. Not that Hilda agrees, of course, but she's too busy completing her memoirs to dissuade him from taking an interest when one of the Timson children is given an ASBO for playing football in the street. And pretty soon he realizes something fishy is going on. Why are the residents pursuing their vendetta against the Timson boy quite so strongly? Could they have a sinister reason for not wanting him on their street?

Review: Horace Rumpole (Rumpole of the Bailey) returns for another case in Rumpole Misbehaves, a delightful mystery in a short novel format by John Mortimer.

It starts out simple enough. A 12-year-old boy has been accused of letting his soccer ball roll into a quiet up-scale neighborhood where the residents are obsessed with keeping everything quiet. They promptly file a complaint against the boy citing an Anti-Social Behavior Order. Rumple is asked by the boy’s father to represent him. When the boy receives a second complaint, Rumple again goes to court on the boy’s behalf, this time to keep the court from sending the boy to a youth prison. In searching out why the residents would complain about a ball rolling on their street, Rumple finds the actual reasons for the complaints: some of the residents are involved in buying and selling young women from foreign countries for the purpose of prostitution. One such young woman, who happened to live on this quiet street, was going to blow the whistle, so to speak, but before she could she was murdered. Although the police have a clear cut case against a civil servant accused of the crime, Rumple goes to his defense.

Rumpole is a criminal lawyer for defense in London’s Old Bailey. He has yet to be elected to the Queen's Council (QC). The QCs are the leaders of the trial proceedings. They wear black silk robes and white wigs and argue the most important cases. With his present case, he needs a QC to lead him. But Rumple has ways of getting around this rule! Yet all actions have consequences, and at one point Rumpole is called upon to defend himself against a complaint of the Anti-Social Behavior Order. He has been accused of eating and drinking cheap wine in his office, singing aloud in his room causing embarrassment to fellow lawyers, and increasing the risk of global warming by smoking a small cigar in his room.

This interesting case is both topical and complex, but the real joy here is in the character of Rumpole and how he uses the system to both his advantage and that of his client. Interspersed between chapters of Rumpole's legal adventures are those of his wife, Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed), who offers her own droll and amusing view on life.

Though relatively short, the author covers a lot of material in Rumpole Misbehaves, with great success. It is a wonderful addition to this terrific series.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Rumpole Misbehaves and to Viking for providing a copy of the book for this review.

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

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

Return to ...

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for December 31, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 31, 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 I O N T U. This is the title of the debut thriller in the Shefford-Johnson series by Wanda L. Dyson (9 letters).

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

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

Return to ...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Hardcover Mysteries for January 2008

New Hardcover Mystery Books for December 2007

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of scheduled for publication in January 2008. For series fans, over half of the new books are series titles; we've summarized these below:

The Serpent's Daughter by Suzanne Arruda. The 3rd adventure mystery featuring Jade Del Cameron set in Africa.

Capitol Conspiracy by William Bernhardt. The 16th mystery with criminal defense attorney Ben Kincaid.

Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block. A hardcover reissue of the 5th Matthew Scudder mystery; it was originally published in 1982.

Monsieur Pamplemousse and the French Solution by Michael Bond. The 16th mystery in this long-running series.

Blue Heaven by C. J. Box. The 8th entry in this series for Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth. The prolific author of children's books has written an adult mystery series featuring Oscar Wilde; this is the 2nd in the series, the first published in the US.

The Purrfect Murder by Rita Mae Brown. Mrs. Murphy returns for a 16th time in this entertaining series.

A Picture of Guilt by James Brownley. Alison Glasby, the first female crime correspondent for the London Sunday Herald, is introduced in this mystery.

Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell. LAPD Detective Shane Scully investigates his 7th case in this book by the creator of several mystery series for television.

Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues by Blaize Clement. The 3rd cozy for professional pet sitter and amateur sleuth Dixie Hemingway.

First the Dead by Tim Downs. The 5th mystery for "bug man" Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist.

Monday Night Jihad by Jason Elam and Steve Yohn. A former NFL Bronco kicker introduces professional football linebacker Riley Covington in his 1st mystery.

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich. For Stephanie Plum fans that think one numbered book a year is not enough, a second "between the numbers" mystery is destined for the bestseller lists.

A Killing Karma by Geraldine Evans. The 2nd mystery featuring Detective Chief Inspector Will Casey and Detective Sergeant Thomas Catt.

The Apostate's Tale by Margaret Frazer. The 18th medieval mystery with Sister Frevisse.

Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood. The 10th mystery featuring Melbourne socialite Phryne Fisher. A review by will be published during January.

Last Call by James Grippando. The 7th investigation for Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. A hardcover reissue of the 1st book in the Southern Vampire series with telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse.

KIA by Thomas Holland. The 2nd thriller in the Kel McKelvey series.

Lost or Found by Graham Ison. The 7th case for London detectives Brock and Poole.

The Skeleton Man by Jim Kelly. The 5th mystery for investigative journalist Philip Dryden set in the Norfolk region of England.

Dead Men by Stephen Leather. The 5th mystery for undercover cop Dan "Spider" Shepherd.

The Blood Ballad by Rett MacPherson. The 11th cozy for Missouri genealogist Victoria "Torie" O'Shea.

St. Patrick's Day Murder by Leslie Meier. The 14th holiday mystery for Maine newspaper reporter Lucy Stone.

Last Run by Hilary Norman. The 2nd case for Miami detective Sam Becket.

Frail Barrier by Edward Sklepowich. The 8th mystery for American expatriate writer Urbino Macintyre set in Venice.

The Queen's Gambit by Diane A. S. Stuckart. A new series introducing the legendary Leonardo da Vinci as a sleuth.

The Socorro Blast by Pari Noskin Taichert. The 3rd mystery for New Mexico public relations consultant Sasha Solomon.

Fiddle Game by Richard Thompson. The 1st in a new series featuring St. Paul bail bondsman Herman Jackson. A review by will be published during January.

A Pale Horse by Charles Todd. The 10th investigation for Inspector Ian Rutledge. A review by will be published during January.

Bone Machine by Martyn Waites. The 2nd mystery for investigative journalist Joe Donovan.

Of Blood and Sorrow by Valerie Wilson Wesley. After a long absence, single mother and ex-cop Tamara Hayle returns for a 7th mystery.

Beverly Hills Dead by Stuart Woods. The 2nd mystery by this bestselling author in a relatively new series featuring Beverly Hills security expert Rick Barron.

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.

Return to ...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey CohenBuy from Amazon.com
Some Like It Hot-Buttered by Jeffrey Cohen
A Double Feature Mystery with Elliot Freed

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass market paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-21799-X (042521799X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-21799-3 (9780425217993)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Elliot Freed, a recovering writer and husband, socked all his savings-and the alimony from his ex-wife-into the Comedy Tonight movie theater, never suspecting it would become a crime scene...

Poisoned popcorn killed the dead guy in Row S, Seat 18, and to the chagrin of the local police, Elliot starts his own investigation, one that may put the theater-and Elliot-on the cutting room floor.

Review: Some Like It Hot-Buttered is the first comedy/mystery by Jeffrey Cohen in the Double Feature series that introduces theater owner Elliot Freed.

Elliot owns "Comedy Tonight" where comedy buffs can attend movies from the 30s through the present. Together with Sophie, assigned to the concession stand and the all-important task of popping corn, and Anthony (not Tony) who sells tickets, takes tickets, and ushers the guests to their seats, Elliot is working to make the theater a thriving business. During the showing of Young Frankenstein one night, a friend a loyal patron is found dead in his seat. Everyone thought he had a heart attack, but the coroner rules that he was killed by poison on his popcorn. The theater is now a crime scene, and to make matters worse, the police find boxes of pirated DVDs in the backroom. And then Anthony disappears making him the prime suspect for being both a killer and a pirate (though the crimes hardly seem related). Elliot believes the police are more interested in the case of the illegal movies than in the dead patron, so he sets out to find the man's murderer.

This is a very funny mystery. It may help if the reader is a fan of older movies, especially comedies, to enjoy some of the humor here, but even those who have never seen a black-and-white film will appreciate what Cohen has achieved. The characters are well-defined, the dialog frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and the plot adequately complex without being overly complicated.

Some Like It Hot-Buttered is a terrific debut to a series that should have a lot of potential. There's certainly no shortage of movie titles to play off of!

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Some Like It Hot-Buttered and to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of the book for this review.

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

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

Return to ...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for December 28, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top 15 for the week ending December 28, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

's 3rd thriller in the Cotton Malone series, The Venetian Betrayal, jumps into the top 4 but otherwise a quiet holiday week on the bestselling mysteries list.

Looking into early 2008, two mysteries are already bestsellers as pre-orders. Another "between the numbers" book in the Stephanie Plum series by , Plum Lucky, is scheduled for release on January 8th. And a month later, on February 5th, the 7th mystery in the Women's Murder Club series by , 7th Heaven, is published.

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information.

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.

Return to ...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mysterious Reviews: The Best Mysteries of 2007

Mysterious ReviewsOf all the mystery books reviewed by us at this year, only 7 received our highest grade of 5 stars. (Our partner, , had only 3 books reach the same level, though to be fair she rated far more books as 4 stars than we did.) In our annual recap of the best mystery books that we read this year, we'll not only list the top mysteries but also let you know why these few books stood out from all the rest.

Any of these books would make terrific holiday gifts for the mystery reader.


Listed in alphabetical order by author's last name ...

: Gravewriter

A clever plot and a terrific lead character will win us over every time. There was something original and refreshingly honest in Billy Povich, the frustrated obituary writer in Gravewriter, that was very appealing. We were drawn into the story and the ending surprised us. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: By the Time You Read This

One of the best police procedurals we've read in years is Giles Blunt's 4th mystery in the John Cardinal and Lise Delorme series, By the Time You Read This. In many ways a heart-breaking story, it is so well written with such a compelling plot that at times you'll find yourself holding your breath. Simply wonderful. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: The Watchman

In The Watchman, Robert Crais promotes the sidekick of his regular series character Elvis Cole into a starring role. The first in what will hopefully be a series featuring Joe Pike is masterful. It's all about character here. The plot is simple allowing the thrill of the case to draw the reader in. Of all the excellent Crais novels, this is one of the best. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: Death Pans Out

It may be hard to believe that a mystery featuring (for the most part) one character can be so compelling. Yet Ashna Graves has achieved that and far more in Death Pans Out, her first mystery. It's not clear whether this is a series or not, but Neva Leopold is such an interesting character that it's impossible not to imagine her returning in a subsequent book. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: A Killer's Kiss

Many mysteries are enjoyable, but some are just fun to read. A Killer's Kiss by William Lashner is one of the latter. It's a joy to watch attorney Victor Carl work the system and his clients. From the terrific opening chapter to the unexpectedly clever conclusion, this is one exciting ride. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: A Grave Breach

A Grave Breach by James Macomber was the one of the few books that we couldn't put down and kept us reading late into the night. A riveting and first-rate thriller that at times seems at odds with itself yet in the end all comes together so very well. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

: Prayer of the Dragon

One of the most recent books we read this year, Prayer of the Dragon by Eliot Pattison captivated us. Atmospheric, literate, and compelling. You don't just read this book, you participate in the journey. If we had to pick a single "best" mystery of 2007, it would be this one. Read our full review at Mysterious Reviews or buy the book from Amazon.com.

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

Return to ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Compendium of Mystery News 071214

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

The Adventure Company has released a second trailer for the mystery PC game, Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, a Hercule Poirot adventure. In this third game in the series, players take on the role of the famous detective, scouring a stunning tropical island for clues and delving deeper into the mysterious relationships between over 20 unique characters to search out the killer.

Variety is reporting that Curious Pictures is teaming with Entertainment to produce long-form animated media based on the author's books, graphic novels and original concepts.

• A press release was issued announcing that has agreed to a three-book deal with Riverhead Books which includes the introduction of a new series character, Leonid McGill, a black private investigator based in contemporary New York City.

The Nielsen Company has published its top 10 lists for 2007 including one for books. Mysteries in the top 10 (in positions 8 through 10) are The Quickie by , The 6th Target by , and Lean Mean Thirteen by . Nielsen's note (Sales from Jan 1 - Nov 25, 2007. Data does not include sales from Wal-Mart, Sam's, BJ's, airports or libraries. Traditionally, book sales see significant increases during the holidays.) seems to exclude a lot of books. (MBN note: All three books remain on the list which is updated every Friday with the top 15 hardcover mysteries available for sale in the US.)

• Oline H. Cogdill lists her choices for the best mysteries of 2007 in her column on Sun-Sentinel.com. Topping the list: What the Dead Know by .

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

Return to ...

Mystery Bestsellers for December 14, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top 15 for the week ending December 14, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

's 20th Kinsey Millhone mystery, T is for Trespass, assumes the top position this week, shifting the previous top three down a notch.

The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry
New on the list this week: Former U. S. Justice Department agent turned rare book dealer Cotton Malone is drawn into an intense geopolitical chess game in 's 3rd thriller in this series, The Venetian Betrayal. After narrowly escaping incineration in a devastating fire that consumes a Danish museum, Cotton learns from his friend, the beguiling adventurer Cassiopeia Vitt, that the blaze was neither an accident nor an isolated incident. As part of campaign of arson intended to mask a far more diabolical design, buildings across Europe are being devoured by infernos of unnatural strength. And from the ashes of the U.S.S.R., a new nation has arisen: former Soviet republics have consolidated into the Central Asian Federation. At its helm is Supreme Minister Irina Zovastina, a cunning despot with a talent for politics, a taste for blood sport, and the single-minded desire to surpass Alexander the Great as history’s ultimate conqueror. Only one thing keeps Zovastina from setting in motion her death march of domination: a miraculous healing serum, kept secret by an ancient puzzle and buried with the mummified remains of Alexander the Great–in a tomb lost to the ages for more than 1,500 years. Together, Cotton and Cassiopeia must outrun and outthink the forces allied against them. Their perilous quest will take them to the shores of Denmark, deep into the venerated monuments of Venice, and finally high inside the desolate Pamir mountains of Central Asia to unravel a riddle whose solution could destroy or save millions of people–depending on who finds the lost tomb first.

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information.

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.

Return to ...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Pawn by Steven James

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

The Pawn by Steven JamesBuy from Amazon.com
The Pawn by Steven James
A Patrick Bowers Thriller

Baker Publishing Group (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-8007-3240-5 (0800732405)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3240-0 (9780800732400)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $13.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he's called to to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he's about to strike again. It will take all of Bowers's instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they're not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent's pieces?

Review: Steven James introduces FBI Agent Patrick Bowers in The Pawn, an exhilarating thriller that will keep readers up late into the night.

Bowers is called from his home in Colorado to North Carolina to assist in identifying and ultimately stopping a serial killer. He had been assigned to similar cases in the past, but never to one where the killer is always one step ahead of the FBI crew. The killer is aware that Bowers has been called in on the case, even calling Bowers to identify himself as “The Illusionist” with self-proclaimed powers of misdirection, control, and meticulous planning. Although Bowers works well with, and cooperates with, the forensic scientists and profilers on the case, he feels he must use his own unique, often unorthodox, investigative approach. Unlike the others on the team, he is interested in precisely when and where the crime occurred. He believes the significance of the crime’s time and location are important to the killer and thus to capturing him. Bowers faces quite a few dangerous situations in order to try to save the lives that the Illusionist has chosen for elimination – including his own and that of his daughter Tessa.

The best thrillers have multi-faceted conflicts. In The Pawn Bowers is faced with one of a more personal nature. He is a single father and has had a difficult time raising his 15-year-old daughter since the death of her mother. The fact that the killer has chosen young women as victims plays into his fear that he's losing his daughter. The Illusionist seems to know this and factors it into his game plan. It is not unlike chess, in which he makes a move leaving each dead girl where she can easily be found. A pawn is left with the victim, first white, and then black, a not so subtle clue that lets Bowers know the next move is his.

The Pawn is, in a word, intense. As Bowers pushes towards checkmate, it's never clear to the reader which pieces will be left standing at the end of the game.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Pawn and to Newman Communications for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

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

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

Return to ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mysteries on TV: More Suspense, More Drama

Mysteries on TV

We've identified several additional detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series to add to our site, three of which are being profiled in this post.


Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid of Harry Potter fame) played Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, an addicted gambler, a heavy drinker, and a brilliant if deeply flawed criminal psychologist in .

He is, to the working mind of a killer, what CSI is to a trace of blood or a single hair. For Fitz, murder is just the beginning.

The series, which originally aired on ITV1 from September 1993 through November 1995, includes 9 multi-part episodes that are now available on 3 DVD sets.

Several years later, a remake of Cracker aired on ABC in the US. Premiering in September 1997, the series was cancelled before all filmed episodes were shown. This series starred Robert Pastorelli as (renamed) Dr. Gerry "Fitz" Fitzgerald and Josh Hartnett as his son Michael.

Cracker was undoubtedly inspired by the success of the Academy Award-winning (1991) which had a similar premise.

Another British series that spawned a later US remake is which aired as a series of 8 2-part episodes in the US from April 1997 through June 1999. The series starred Robson Green as Detective Inspector Dave Creegan and Nicola Walker as Detective Inspector Susan Taylor, members of the Organized and Serial Crime Unit, a rapid-response crime squad that use diverse techniques to bring criminals to justice.

In 2004, USA Network aired a remake of the series (also titled Touching Evil) starring Jeffery Donovan as Detective David Creegan and Vera Farmiga as Detective Susan Branca, partners in the OSCU. The 13 episodes that comprised this single season series are not (yet) available as a set on DVD though one episode is available on the Brilliant But Cancelled: Crime Dramas DVD.

We've also added the first two seasons of . This procedural drama series debuted on CBS in September 2002 and is currently in its 6th season.

Antony LaPaglia stars as Jack Malone, senior agent for the Missing Persons Squad of the FBI. The sole responsibility of the special task force is to find missing persons by applying advanced psychological profiling techniques. The team reconstructs a "Day of Disappearance" timeline that details every minute of the 24 hours prior to the disappearance, following one simple rule: learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.

More series will be added to this site in the coming weeks!

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

Return to ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon

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

Cries and Whiskers by Clea SimonBuy from Amazon.com
Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon
A Theda Krakow Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-464-3 (1590584643)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-464-4 (9781590584644)
Publication Date: December 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When an animal rights activist is killed by a hit-and-run driver on an icy Cambridge street, music critic Theda Krakow can’t get too upset. The victim cared more for wild animals than for people, and had no use at all for domesticated pets, such as the black-and-white cat Musetta that Theda adores. Besides, Theda is caught up in investigating the rise of a dangerous new designer drug that threatens the musicians and fans who make up the club scene she considers her second home.

But when the feline-friendly writer learns that the accident victim was defying her own radical group to rescue feral cats on the eve of a ferocious winter storm, she puts her own prejudices aside to help out. As Theda and her buddy, the punk-rock shelter owner Violet, race to save these half-wild felines from the freezing New England winter, they uncover simmering tensions that make the activist’s death seem more than an accident. Could a friend have been the fatal driver? Is Violet more involved with the extremist group than she’s let on?

Even while kittens are at risk and the new drug hits close to home, Theda tries to hang onto her journalistic objectivity. But when the threats become more personal and Musetta goes missing, Theda risks her reputation, her career, and possibly her life as the word “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning.

Review: music journalist Theda Krakow's chaotic life gets a little more complicated with the death of a fellow animal rights activist in Cries and Whiskers, the third mystery in this series by Clea Simon.

It’s becoming cold in Massachusetts and Theda Krakow needs to put her freelance journalist job on hold to help out her friends of an animal rights shelter. She usually writes about new club acts coming to the local pubs, but lately a new mysterious, dangerous drug showing up in the clubs has her seeing headlines. However Victoria, a close friend of Theda's, begs her to help find some savage and wild cats and kittens that had been caught, caged, and taken to a local shelter. Gail, an activist for the group, who would have been there to help, but she had been killed in a hit-and-run accident. Victoria is afraid the cats will starve or freeze to death in the cold weather. During Theda’s hunt for the animals she comes upon some questionable facts not only concerning the cats and Gail‘s death, but also the drugs. She receives a call telling her that someone has her beloved cat Marsetta and if she does not quit asking questions, it could mean the death of her cat, and possibly herself.

The book's title and overview suggest this may be yet another "cat cozy", but it isn't. Theda's personal life is anything but idyllic: her small apartment has intermittent heat and her boyfriend is on medical leave from the police department, on crutches, and (just like a man) feeling helpless and needy. Her job requires her being up and about late at night and often well into the early morning. Her environment adds a sense of realism and introduces conflicts into the story.

The plot of Cats and Whiskers is edgy and has many twists that keeps the reader turning the pages. Don't think of this as a cat mystery; rather, it is a mystery, and a very good one at that, that includes cats.

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

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

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

Return to ...

Mystery Book Review: Beware False Profits by Emilie Richards

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

Beware False Profits by Emilie RichardsBuy from Amazon.com
Beware False Profits by Emilie Richards
A Ministry is Murder Mystery with Aggie Sloan-Wilcox

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass market paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-21868-6 (0425218686)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-21868-6 (9780425218686)
Publication Date: November 2007
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): There's no rest for the weary Aggie Sloan-Wilcox and her minister husband, who were praying for a relaxing weekend until a member of their flock went missing.

Joe Wagner, president of Emerald Springs's food bank, disappears, and Aggie discovers his secret life-as a female impersonator. Meanwhile, the murder of the mayor's wife at the annual food bank fundraiser puts Joe on top of the suspect list. If Aggie doesn't get to the bottom of things fast, she'll be leading a choir singing the blues.

Review: Emilie Richards' third amusing mystery in the Ministry is Murder series, Beware False Profits, has amateur sleuth Aggie Sloan-Wilcox taking a break from the hard work of real life to look into the circumstances surrounding the murder of the mayor's wife.

Aggie and her minister husband Ed have been helping to organize a magnificent May Day celebration at the local fair grounds. The beneficiary of the festivities is a charitable organization, Helping Hands, which supplies food to those in need. Before the event, Joe Wagner, the director of Helping Hands, leaves Ohio for his monthly trip to New York, supposedly to attend a meeting of the national committee. Aggie and Ed, having agreed they need a rest from the hubbub of the final planning of the celebration, decide to spend a weekend in New York. There, purely by accident, they find Joe working in the Pussycat Club as a female impersonator – his escape from a not too perfect marriage and his mission to discover the truth about himself and his life in Ohio. Aggie and Joe agree to keep Joe’s secret. Back home, the May Day celebration begins without Joe as the fortune teller; Aggie’s mother fills in for him. She predicts that Hazel, Mayor Brown’s wife, would have a long and prosperous life. Soon thereafter, Hazel drops dead at the fair grounds. Aggie immediately becomes involved, much to the dismay of Ed and Detective Roussos, after she finds out that Hazel had been murdered. When Detective Roussos asked her why she feels she must help in solving a police crime, she tells him she is not investigating the murder, she’s just helping to prove that Mayor Brown didn’t commit the murder. She thinks that surely he could understand the difference.

Emilie Richards has created a truly delightful and in many ways original character in Aggie Sloan-Wilcox. Add in scandal, deception, and murder (to name but three) in a small "homey" town in mid-America and the result is the perfect combination for a humorous mystery. Beware False Profits will certainly be praised (sorry, couldn't resist) by all.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Beware False Profits and to Book Trends for providing a copy of the book for this review.

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

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

Return to ...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Lost and The Mod Squad

Mysteries on TV

New mystery series being released on DVD over the next two weeks:

Find the answers you’ve been looking for in the explosive third season of . As the power of the island to both heal and destroy comes into sharp focus, the lines between good and evil are blurred and loyalties are challenged when the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 become tangled within the lives of the Others.

The large, ensemble cast of characters in Lost include many that are featured in multiple storylines including Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway), and John Locke (Terry O'Quinn).

The 7 disks of contain all 23 episodes that aired on ABC from October 2006 through May 2007. In addition are several featurettes including Lost on Location, Lost in a Day, Deleted Scenes, Lost Bloopers, and Audio Commentaries.

For those who have Blu-ray players, also available is .

An iconic series from the 60s, featured three young, hip undercover cops in southern California with plenty of attitude. Michael Cole played Pete Cochran, a wealthy white guy with a record, Clarence Williams III (who later starred in the Mystery Woman series) played Linc Hayes, a black man from Watts, and Peggy Lipton played Julie Barnes, a runaway living on the streets.

The 4 disks of contain the first 13 episodes of the series that aired on ABC during the 1968 / 1969 television season.

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

Return to ...

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for December 10, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 10, 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 G H N O S T. This is the title of the 11th mystery in the Kevin Kerney 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!

Return to ...

 

Omnimystery Blog Archive

Total Pageviews (last 30 days)

About Omnimystery News

My photo

Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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

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