Monday, November 30, 2009

Author Book Tour: Joanna Challis, author of Murder on the Cliffs

Author Book Tour

Mystery Books News is pleased to be coordinating this week's online book tour for author , whose new mystery Murder on the Cliffs (St. Martin's Minotaur, November 2009) introduces series character Daphne du Maurier.

Joanna will be visiting ten blog sites this week:

Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
In Reference to Murder: Author Interview
Bookish Ruth: Book Review

Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Melissa's Bookshelf: Book Review
Shhh I'm Reading: Author Guest Post

Thursday, December 03, 2009
Lesa's Book Critiques: Author Interview
The Friendly Book Nook: Author Guest Post

Friday, December 04, 2009
Wendi's Book Corner: Book Review
Murder by 4: Author Guest Post

Saturday, December 05, 2009
Allie's Musings: Author Interview
Cafe of Dreams: Book Review

A complete schedule of Joanna's tour including a biography and more information about Murder on the Cliffs can be found at .

We're also thrilled to announce that Joanna is giving away a signed copy of her new book to one lucky tour visitor. Visit each tour site on the day indicated and pick up a unique PIN to be used to enter the giveaway on that day. The entry form can be found on Joanna's tour page.

We hope you have the opportunity to stop by each of the tour sites this week to learn more about Joanna, her new series character Daphne du Maurier, and the challenges an author faces when writing about a real person.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 30, 2009

A 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!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for November 30, 2009

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A E J M N O R S Y

Her short story "Copycat" appeared in the mystery anthology A Deadly Dozen (9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page 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 29, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Doubleback by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Doubleback by Libby Fischer Hellmann. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Doubleback by Libby Fischer Hellmann

by
A Georgia Davis Mystery

Bleak House Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-60648-052-9 (1606480529)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60648-052-6 (9781606480526)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Libby Fischer Hellmann brings her two series characters together to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the kidnapping of a young girl in Doubleback, the second mystery to feature Chicago private investigator Georgia Davis, with an appearance by documentary producer Ellie Foreman.

Ellie Foreman responds to a request from her best friend to council the mother of a kidnapped girl by calling in Georgia Davis. Together, they plead with Christine Messenger, who was told not to call the police, to let the authorities handle the situation. She reluctantly agrees. Much to everyone's surprise, Christine's daughter is returned several days later, unharmed. Christine is so thrilled to have her daughter back that she doesn't question what happened in the interim, and only wants to get on with her life. But that life is tragically cut short when she is in a fatal car accident only days later. But that only raises more questions for Ellie and Georgia, who continue to investigate what really happened during the period of the little girl's kidnapping ... and together they uncover a far-reaching conspiracy that may have implications for the country's security.

Doubleback suffers primarily from an embarrassment of too many well conceived, though not fully realized plot points. The author creates storylines involving the girl's kidnapping, bank fraud, private national security firms, illegal immigration, Mexican cartels, drug trafficking, profiteering from ethanol production, and, oh yes, a radical family that runs a winery in Arizona. To be fair, these disparate elements are all eventually linked together, and in a reasonably logical manner, but the path there has so many detours and side trips that it's hard for the reader to remain fully engaged along the way.

Another minor issue is the inclusion of Ellie's character in the story. Though told in first person from Ellie's perspective, Georgia is most definitely the lead character in Doubleback with Ellie relegated to at best a minor role. It seems her appearance here is little more than a contrivance.

Something Hellmann does very well in her novels is to include factoids that illuminate and help define certain plot points. Not only do they add depth and interest, they're often educational and entertaining. Two that come to mind here are how banks can loan money they don't have, and that not only does the desert southwest have a good climate for growing grapes, there are actually a fair number of wineries based in Arizona.

Special thanks to Bleak House Books for providing an ARC of Doubleback for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Doubleback from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Little Molly Messenger is kidnapped on a sunny June morning. Three days later she's returned, apparently unharmed. Molly's mother, Chris, is so grateful to have her daughter back that she's willing to overlook the odd circumstances.

A few days later, the brakes go out on Chris's car.

An accident? Maybe. Except that it turns out that Chris, the IT manager at a large Chicago bank, may have misappropriated three million dollars. Not convinced that his daughter is safe, Molly's father hires PI Georgia Davis to follow the money and investigate Chris's death.

Working with video producer Ellie Foreman, the two women track leads from Northern Wisconsin to an Arizona border town, where illegal immigrants, smuggled drugs, and an independent contractor called Delton Security come into play. Georgia and Ellie go to great lengths to find the truth, and Georgia discovers that you can cross a line, but sometimes you have to double back.

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Mystery Book Review: Dark Dreams by Michael Genelin

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Dark Dreams by Michael Genelin. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Dark Dreams by Michael Genelin

by
A Commander Jana Matinova Mystery

Soho Crime (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-557-1 (1569475571)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-557-7 (9781569475577)
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $24.00

Review: In Michael Genelin’s second novel in the Commander Jana Matinova series, Jana’s lot in life hasn’t gotten much better. A young grandmother she’s still mourning the loss of her bank robber husband, experiencing dark dreams about her dead daughter, and struggling to survive in a cesspool of political, judicial and police department corruption. Even the bright spots of a visit with her granddaughter and a passionate affair with a government lawyer fade to black when an attempted kidnapping fails and her lover appears to be joining anti-corruption forces waging a bitter war against her.

Set in post-communist Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, Genelin’s novel brings a sense of dark realism to the politics of the struggling country. Jana is on the edges of the maelstrom since her earliest friend, Sofia, raped years ago by a now prominent political figure, has rebounded to become a member of parliament and has had a torrid affair with the designated deputy prime minister that has boiled over into the national newspapers. Jana has her own problems to face. In her rise through the ranks she’s accumulated enemies, and someone is out to get her, even going so far as to plant incriminating evidence of corruption and trying to assassinate her while she investigates a series of murders, some obviously related to an international smuggling ring. In her rough and tumble world, Jana’s no goody two shoes. She’s not above threatening witnesses and suspects alike, shooting alleged criminals, or bending the law to its breaking point. On her softer side she is torn with the threat of losing contact with her granddaughter, and falls in love with a government prosecutor who sees her as ”the youngest, prettiest, and sexiest grandmother I have ever seen.” Her boss, with his fetish for collecting police headgear from around the world, is a memorable character too. But while their relationship is a supportive one, others of Matinova’s crumble, especially when she catches her deputy rifling through her desk, gets caught in a cross-fire of bullets between anti-corruption police and unidentified shooters, and has a falling out with best-friend Sofia over her newly-found allegiances, including her earlier rapist.

A highly competent thriller by a UCLA graduate lawyer who has worked at the Department of Justice in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, Genelin’s novel is an excellent tour through the Slovakian environs and neighbouring countries – even to scenes and murders in Nepal, India and Switzerland. It’s an even darker trip through the hearts and minds of warring criminal gangs, of a corrupt politician and his even more devious wife, and of jealous lovers and rogue police officers. It’s a slam-bang trip well worth taking if only for Matinova’s astonishing role in the final scene in ensuring rough justice of the direst kind is meted out to a deserving murderer who appears to have eluded the formal justice system.

Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham (mw_cunningham@telus.net) for contributing his review of Dark Dreams and to Soho Press for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Dark Dreams from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Dark Dreams (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Jana and Sofia were best friends as schoolmates in communist Czechoslovakia. Jana’s a judge’s daughter, was prudent; Sofia, impetuous. Now, Jana, who entered the Czechoslovakian police force, has risen to the rank of commander in the post-communist country of Slovakia, based in its capital, Bratislava, a crossroads of Central Europe.

Sofia, formerly a fiercely independent political reformer, is now a member of parliament and is having a scandalous affair. When she finds herself in a political predicament, she appeals to her old friend for help.

One night, Jana returns home to find an enormous diamond suspended from a string in her living room. A fabulous gift? Or, for a police officer, a trap? Can Sofia be implicated somehow?

The search for answers leads Jana across Europe to unravel am international criminal conspiracy that has perpetrated multiple murders in Nepal, India, Switzerland, Hungary, and Bratislava itself and threatens Jana’s career, family and life.

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New Hardcover Mysteries for December 2009

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in December 2009. Please note that some titles may publish early (and may already be available) and some may be delayed, published at a later date.

Below we're listing those authors with returning series characters, new series characters, and non-series or stand-alone mysteries in separate sections. All titles are available on our page. We're also using the "carousel" widget by Amazon.com to display a random selection of titles; refreshing this page will change the selection displayed.

• Authors with mysteries having returning series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Alison Bergeron), (Cotton Malone), (Sydney Fitzpatrick), Stephen Coonts (Tommy Carmellini), (Murder with Recipes), (Valentino), Jonathan Gash (Lovejoy), (Mr. Monk), Ed Gorman (Sam McCain), (Kinsey Millhone), (Home Repair is Homicide), W. E. B. Griffin (Honor Bound), Cora Harrison (Mara, Brehon of the Burren), (Bob Lee Swagger), (Ali Reynolds), (Nathan Active), (Tess Monaghan), Colleen McCullough (Carmine Delmonico), Christopher Nicole (Anna Fehrbach), (C. J. Dunn), (Sandor Seymour), Ann Purser (Lois Meade), (Lena Jones), (Inspector Chen)

• Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Jenny Cooper), Jayne Ann Krentz (Dreamlight Trilogy), (J. McNee), (Carter Ross), (Witch & Wizard), and Linda Reid (Sammy Greene), David Niall Wilson (DeChance Chronicles)

• Authors with non-series or stand-alone mysteries this month:

, , Michael Crichton, , Philip K. Dick, , Dominick Dunne, , , , , , Tami Hoag, , Bill James, Alex Markman, ,

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, also updated with December 2009 releases.

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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Games of Mystery: Echoes of the Past, Royal House of Stone, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Echoes of the Past: Royal House of Stone
Echoes of the Past: Royal House of Stone

Having made an incredible journey in time, you’ll find yourself in the medieval kingdom of Orion. Reveal an ancient curse and save the kingdom and its inhabitants. The last prince of Orion is waiting for your help! Open the weird locks and explore every room of the castle. You will meet the castle’s inhabitants and learn the horrible mystery of the royal family in this exciting hidden object adventure game.

Echoes of the Past: Royal House of Stone, a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (165.68 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

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Get any game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: Joey Fly, Private Eye and Homelanders

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12, and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older).

This week we added two series, for which the first book in was published last spring (but we somehow missed).

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Clues in the Woods by Peggy Parish



Aaron Reynolds is the author of several graphic novels for kids. His most recent, Creepy Crawler Crime, is the start of a new series featuring Joey Fly, Private Eye, which incorporates a noir-ish feel to the graphic novel format. The plot of this novel and those that follow will use the hard-boiled classics as inspiration, and are likely to be as enjoyable for parents as they will be for kids.

Synopsis from the publisher: Have you ever had one of those moments? You know—you’re trying to find a stolen diamond pencil box for your beautiful butterfly customer, your mosquito witness won’t give you any information, and your clumsy scorpion assistant has just tampered with your only bit of evidence? Joey Fly has those moments a lot. In fact, he’s probably having one right now. But that won’t stop him from solving the mystery in Creepy Crawly Crime, his fantastic first graphic novel!

The Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novel mysteries are recommended for children aged 7 to 9.

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Seven Paths to Death by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler



Adult mystery author Andrew Klavan starts a new young adult series with The Last Thing I Remember, featuring ordinary high school student Charlie West, who goes to bed one night only to wake up as a hunted man. Terrorists are trying to kill him. The police want to arrest him for the stabbing death of his best friend. He doesn’t know whose side he’s one or whom to trust. Is he a terrorist himself? A murderer? He isn’t sure.

Book synopsis: Charlie West just woke up in someone else's nightmare. He's strapped to a chair. He's covered in blood and bruises. He hurts all over. And a strange voice outside the door just ordered his death. The last thing he can remember, he was a normal high-school kid doing normal things -- working on his homework, practicing karate, daydreaming of becoming an air force pilot, writing a pretty girl's number on his hand. How long ago was that? Where is he now? Who is he really? And more to the point ... how is he going to get out of this room alive?

The second book in the series, The Long Way Home, publishes February 2010.

The Homelander mysteries are recommended for children aged 13 and older.

— ◊ —

We are also pleased to offer First Clues Reviews, reviews of mysteries featured on our site written by students. These book reviews provide a unique perspective by their young readers, often insightful, always entertaining.

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Reviews of Mystery and Suspense Books for Kids, New This Week on Book Trends

Book Trends: Reviews of Young Adult and Children Books

Book Trends, a review site for young adult and children books, published several new book reviews this past week. We're presenting here a summary of those in the mystery / suspense category.

Nate the Great and the Hungry Book Club by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat. 26th book in the Nate the Great series. Recommended for readers aged 7 to 9. Reviewed by a 6th grade student who wrote, "I would recommend this book to any young reader who is interested in sleuthing, or loves to read."

For more reviews of children and young adult books, visit Book Trends; their reviews will amaze you!

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Games of Mystery: Dream Sleuth and Wisegal, New This Week from Amazon Video Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun, is pleased to announce this week's new mystery and suspense games available for immediate download from Amazon Video Games.

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Dream Sleuth
Download and Buy Dream Sleuth

Dream Sleuth

Catherine has always had normal dreams. That is, until one day she had one about a little girl that went missing and that the police couldn't find. The dream was so clear and vivid that she decided to start her own investigation. Delve into Catherine's mind as she interviews people that knew the missing girl and sifts through the facts and rumors in the real world ... but pay attention at night, as the most important clues are to be found in her dreams ...

Windows Vista / XP (81 MB download).

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Wisegal
Download and Buy Wisegal

Wisegal

Take the role of Patty Montanari, a real life Mafia mom, as she struggles to track down her son from the world of the Wiseguys. Follow the clues as they guide you through the seedy Mafia underworld. Drawing on the past of a "Wisegal," you must find objects and piece together evidence to save her son. Be loyal to the family, but devoted to your own!

Based on the hit TV movie of the same name.

Windows Vista / XP (60 MB download).

— ◊ —

A complete list of downloadable mystery games is available on our Games of Mystery: Amazon.com Game Download page.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Breaking the Wall of Crime Fiction, an Article in Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

In an article earlier this week in the Publishers Weekly Talkback section, Jordan Foster writes about breaking the wall of crime fiction.

What separates the genre of crime fiction from literary fiction may be more membrane than wall, Foster writes, but it's still a barrier that is often tricky to penetrate. The very act of categorizing brings with it an implicit ranking and the idea that anything shelved under “genre” is somehow lacking. In particular, the genre's rigidness of structure seems to work against it. Yet crime novelists have come up with myriad ways to work around this perceived limitation.

In the end, Foster writes, what matters to writers and readers of crime fiction—and fiction in general—is the quality of the writing, the depth of the characters, the intricacies of the plot, and the richness of the setting. “When you're working to make a sentence as perfect as it can be,” says Tana French, author of the Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox mystery series, “or to make a character real and vivid and three-dimensional, how and whether you do that isn't dependent on where the book will be shelved.”

Read this interesting article in its entirety here.

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Mystery Bestsellers for November 27, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending November 27, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

A quiet Thanksgiving week, with little change among the top 15, with only one new title entering the list.

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

A rollicking adventure thriller marks Pirate Latitudes by the late Michael Crichton.

The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English Crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses.

In this steamy climate there's a living to be made, a living that can end swiftly by disease—or by dagger. For Captain Charles Hunter, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking, and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.

Word in port is that the galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is awaiting repairs in a nearby harbor. Heavily fortified, the impregnable harbor is guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of the Spanish king himself. With backing from a powerful ally, Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy outpost and commandeer El Trinidad, along with its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of island legend, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he even sets foot on foreign shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownI, Alex Cross by James PattersonTrue Blue by David BaldacciThe Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

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 26, 2009

Games of Mystery: Mystery Case Files, Dire Grove Collector's Edition, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove Collector's Edition
Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove Collector's Edition

Be the first to play Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove with this special Collector's Edition.

Considered a fairytale, its telling was common at campfires and as a bedtime story meant to frighten small children into staying in their beds through the night. However, a recently unearthed artifact in the United Kingdom corroborates the legend and so begins a journey of survival for a small band of graduate students in the secluded resort of Dire Grove.

The exclusive Collector's Edition includes bonus "Easter egg" levels and puzzles that reveal secrets related to both past and future Mystery Case Files episodes. The integrated Deluxe Strategy Guide also includes extra video outtakes, concept art, screenshots, and desktop wallpapers.

Visit the website, MCF: Dire Grove, for more information about the game, including a game trailer.

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove Collector's Edition, a Big Fish Game exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for $19.95 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version for this Collector's Edition is not available. The $6.99 standard edition, with a free trial version, will be available in early December.

Watch a preview video below:

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Get any game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: Nancy Drew Titles for December 2009

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12, and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older), is pleased to announce Nancy Drew series books that are scheduled for release during December, 2009.

— ◊ —

Princess Mix-Up Mystery by Carolyn Keene

Princess Mix-Up Mystery by Carolyn Keene
Series:

24th book in this series featuring an 8-year-old Nancy Drew.

No summary available.

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew books are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

Green-Eyed Monster by Carolyn Keene

Green-Eyed Monster by Carolyn Keene
Series:

1st book in the Eco-Mystery Trilogy.

George, Bess, and I were so excited when we won an amazing vacation at an eco-resort in Costa Rica. Fun, sun, surf -- all in the name of ecology and helping to keep our planet clean. But, as always, dirty business seems to follow me wherever I go, and this resort isn't as spic 'n' span as we originally thought.

After a string of increasingly dangerous "accidents," it seems that there is a jealous predator staying at the resort, making trouble for the management and the guests. Against the urging of my friends, I know that I need to take this case and get to the bottom of it before our entire week at Casa Verde is ruined -- or worse. Can I uncover who is sabotaging the press tour before it's too late? Or will our vacation come to an unhappy end?

Nancy Drew, Girl Detective books are recommended for readers aged 10 and older.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Mystery Bookshelf: A Secret and Unlawful Killing by Cora Harrison, a Mystery of Medieval Ireland

The Mystery Bookshelf: Discover a Library of New Mysteries

The Mystery Bookshelf, where you can discover a library of new mysteries, is pleased to feature a new mystery series title we recently received from the publisher.

— ◊ —

A Secret and Unlawful Killing by Cora Harrison
A Burren Mystery (2nd in series)
St. Martin's Minotaur (Trade Paperback)
Publication Date: November 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-58602-7

A Secret and Unlawful Killing by Cora Harrison
More Information About A Secret and Unlawful Killing by Cora Harrison

About A Secret and Unlawful Killing (from the publisher): It is 1509 and, for the people of the Burren in western Ireland, the Michaelmas Fair is a joyous time for trade and celebration, signaling the start of autumn. It’s a chance to gather, buy and sell their wares, and pay tribute to the lord of their clans. But this year is different. The steward of the MacNamara clan has decided to raise the amount demanded for its tribute, and it’s not long before tempers are running high.

When the steward’s body is found in the local churchyard, it falls upon Mara, the Burren’s Brehon Judge, to piece the puzzle together. Was it revenge, greed, or something more sinister that motivated the murder? When another body is discovered, it is up to Mara—despite the distraction of a surprising marriage proposal—to bring the killer to justice before there can be yet another death.

Originally published as Michaelmas Tribute in the UK.

— ◊ —

About the author: Cora Harrison lives in the Burren in the west of Ireland, an area whose landscape and history form the background to a medieval series of which this is the second novel. She has published twenty-six books for children, mainly dealing with Irish history and mythology. Please visit her Web site at CoraHarrison.com.

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First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: New Titles for December 2009

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

, your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12; and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older), is pleased to announce a selection of new mystery books (including series books) scheduled for publication during December, 2009.

— ◊ —

January Joker by Ron Roy

January Joker by Ron Roy


First book in a planned series of twelve.

Green Lawn, we have a problem! When Bradley Pinto wakes up in the night to strange lights in his backyard, he thinks there are aliens in town. When he sees three-toed footprints in the snow, he’s sure of it. His twin, Brian, and friends Lucy and Nate aren’t so certain. But then Lucy’s cousin Dink, the twins’ brother, Josh, and Nate’s sister, Ruth Rose, all disappear. Are there really aliens in Green Lawn? And where could they be taking Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose?

Calendar Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

February Friend by Ron Roy

February Friend by Ron Roy


Second book in this series.

It's a Valentine's Day party! Bradley is passing out his class’s valentines, but one of them has no name on it. Inside, the card tells the class to look in the closet. When they open the closet door, the kids find a rabbit named Douglas in a cage! What mysterious “friend” left him there? And why? Then the bunny gets sick. It’s up to Bradley, Brian, Lucy, and Nate to track down his owner and figure out what is wrong with poor little Douglas.

Calendar Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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Fox Announces Midseason Schedule, including New Series Past Life and Human Target

Fox Television

In a press release today, Fox Television announced its 2009 / 2010 midseason schedule, which includes the new thriller Past Life, the action drama Human Target, and an additional 9 episodes of the crime drama Lie to Me.

Past Life is based on the novel The Reincarnationist (read our review) and features detectives who investigate the world of the unexplained. It will air its 2-hour premiere on Thursday, February 11th at 8 PM, with subsequent episodes airing on Thursdays at 9 PM.

Human Target is based on the comic book series of the same name and features a private detective and bodyguard who will stop at nothing to protect his clients. It will air its premiere on Sunday, January 17th, with subsequent episodes airing on Wednesdays at 9 PM. (This is the second adaptation of Human Target for television. ABC aired a summer series in 1992 with Rick Springfield in the title role.)

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Tommy Lee Jones Leaves Production of The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the Novel by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Last month, we reported that Tommy Lee Jones was in negotiations to direct and co-star in the film adaptation of Michael Connelly's 2005 legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer. Variety is now reporting that, much to our dismay, Jones has left the production over "creative differences on the script." No replacement was announced. Matthew McConaughey, much to our dismay, apparently is still attached to play the lead, Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller.

The Lincoln Lawyer was the winner of the 2006 Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel, and won the 2006 Shamus Award for Best P. I. Hardcover.

Book synopsis: Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers -- they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it's about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it's even about justice.

A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney's dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal -- this time to save his own life.

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Psych Renewed for Fifth Season by USA Network

Psych (USA Network)

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the Psych sleuths will return for another year of "psychic" investigations. USA Network has ordered 16 episodes for its fifth season.

The series stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer who, with his keen eye for detail, convinces the police that he has psychic abilities and can assist them in solving crimes. Dule Hill plays his best friend and partner in their police consulting business.

The fifth season of Psych is expected to premiere during the summer of 2010.

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Games of Mystery: Cajun Cop in The French Quarter Caper, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Cajun Cop: The French Quarter Caper
Cajun Cop: The French Quarter Caper

Join Cajun Cop Jacques Lamont as he pursues a gang of jewel thieves through the streets of the Big Easy. Scour the city for clues, from the haunts of the rich to gritty back alleys. As the evidence piles up, the puzzles and mini-games only become more baffling. You'll need sharp eyes and keen wits as the gangsters attempt to cover their tracks. Will the long arm of the law ever bring them to justice? Join the pursuit and find out!

Also available: Cajun Cop: The French Quarter Caper Game Walkthrough.

Cajun Cop: The French Quarter Caper may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (55.09 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

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Get any game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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About Omnimystery News

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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.

Page/Post Author: Lance Wright
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