Saturday, August 30, 2008

Compendium of Mystery News 080830

A compendium of recently published mystery news articles. This update includes news items from late August 2008.

• In a press release this week, the ABC Television Network announced five new series pick-ups for the 2008-2009 season including two mystery comedy/dramas. Castle is a comedic crime procedural about a famous mystery novelist, Nick Castle (played by Nathan Fillion), who is bored with his own success. When a real-world copycat murderer starts staging scenes from Nick's novels, Nick is teamed up with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and the challenge gets his blood pumping as he steps in to help solve the crime. Nick and Beckett's styles instantly clash and sparks begin to fly, leading both to danger and a hint of romance. The Unusuals is a unique comedic procedural set in a New York police precinct. As a cop, it helps to have a twisted sense of humor, because every moment could be your last. Just ask Det. Casey Schraeger (Amber Tamblyn), who started her day as an NYPD vice detective before unexpectedly being transferred to the homicide division. She quickly realizes that, not only does everyone in her new department have a distinct sense of humor, but also their own dirty little secrets. No scheduling information for these shows was provided. [MBN note: For a comprehensive list of mystery and suspense television series already available on DVD, visit .]

• In related television news, our neighbors to the north announced in a press release the nominees for the Gemini Awards (Canada's equivalent of the Emmy Awards here in the US) and mystery series dominated. Murdoch Mysteries (featuring a sleuth who solves crimes in 1895 Toronto) led all series with 14 nominations following closely behind by Durham County (featuring a homicide detective who moves to the suburbs only to discover his neighbor may be a serial killer) with 13 nominations. Other crime series recognized were The Border and Intelligence. The Gemini Awards will be given out in Toronto on November 28, 2008. What's interesting to us is how long, if ever, it takes these mystery series air in the US market or even become available on DVD to purchase in the US. The Canadian crime series Flashpoint aired this past summer on CBS, and about a Vancouver coroner and the undercover crime drama are available on DVD, but there are precious few other examples. We hope to see more of these fine Canadian mystery series available to viewers here in the US soon.

• Not specifically mystery-related but of interest to all readers, Amazon.com continues to expand with its announced acquisition of book social network Shelfari. An e-mail sent to all Shelfari members (of which we are one through our partner site, ) read, "Amazon has long been a supporter of Shelfari as we grew into a global community of book lovers. And now Shelfari and Amazon will work hand in hand to create innovative new ways to enjoy the books you love." Amazon was already an investor in the company. Shelfari is expected to remain an independent company for now and to use its new capital to expand and accelerate its growth. Earlier this month, Amazon.com acquired independent online bookseller AbeBooks (press release) and earlier this year it acquired audiobook retailer Audible.com (press release).

Publishers Weekly has a brief conversation with whose latest crime thriller featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher, Angel's Tip, was published by HarperCollins earlier this month. Burke is the daughter of award-winning and bestselling mystery author and admits "[T]here’s been a lot of upside without much downside. I think his readers were willing to give me a shot, so, yes, that relationship helped me get started."

N-Gage released this month its (self-described) "masterpiece of mystery", Dirk Dagger and the Fallen Idol, an adventure game for mobile players that is currently available for Nokia Nseries devices. A free trial is available as is an online demo at DirkDagger.com.

• In other mystery game news, Encore, a wholly owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, announced in a press release that the first titles in their Mystery Adventure Games line, Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon and Sinking Island, have shipped to retailers. Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon takes players to Europe on a suspenseful quest to discover the reality of vampires and come face-to-face with Dracula. As Father Arno Moriani, players must travel to Transylvania to investigate a potential candidate for sainthood. Along the way players are submerged into a gripping storyline with numerous challenging and engaging puzzles to solve that leads to a final confrontation with Dracula! Sinking Island is a gripping detective story that combines suspense and intrigue. As an investigator sent to a luscious tropical island to solve the murder of a multi-billionaire hotel developer, players must sort through 10 suspects to the crime as a storm rages on the island. Players have only three days to solve the mystery before the island and the mystery disappears into the ocean. [For more mystery games available to purchase, download, or play online, visit .]

• The Times Online has an entertaining article on what makes for the perfect crime movie written by mystery author Christopher Fowler. He makes an interesting observation when discussing the variants of suspense movies: "In a crime film the criminals know that they’re guilty, but in a noir thriller they’re dumb enough to think that they’re innocent." In a companion piece is their list of the ten best crime movies. [MBN note: For a list of suspense and thriller movies adapted from mystery books and available on DVD, visit .]

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