Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Mystery Bookshelf: The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong, a Chen Cao Mystery

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.

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The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong
A Chen Cao Mystery (6th in series)
St. Martin's Minotaur (Trade Paperback)
Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-60123-2

The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong
More Information About The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong

About The Mao Case (from the publisher): Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Department is often assigned cases considered politically "sensitive" and now the Minister of Public Security insists that Chen personally take on a "special assignment." Leery of international embarrassment, the party is concerned about rumors related to Chairman Mao. Jiao, the granddaughter of an actress who had a "special relationship" to Mao, has moved into a luxury apartment and become involved with a new social set centered around the remnants of pre-Communist Shanghai society. All without any visible means of support.

Worried that Jiao has inherited some sort of artifact that could prove damaging to Mao’s reputation, Chen has been given a few short days to infiltrate her social circle, determine if the feared material exists and, if it does, retrieve it quietly. And if he fails, the consequences will be unpleasant for all concerned.

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About Qiu Xiaolong: The author of five previous novels featuring Inspector Chen, he was born and raised in Shanghai, where he was a renowned poet, having written and translated several volumes of poetry. Qiu lives with his family in St. Louis (MO). Visit his website at QiuXiaolong.com.

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ABC Renews Castle for Third Season

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
More information about the book

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that ABC has officially renewed Castle for a third season.

The series stars Nathan Fillion as bestselling mystery author Richard Castle, who teams up with NYPD Homicide Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to solve crimes in the city. She also serves as the inspiration for a new series of books he's writing, featuring NYPD cop Nikki Heat.

The first of these books, Heat Wave, has been a bestseller itself. The book's real author, however, remains a mystery.

About Heat Wave (from the publisher): A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. PulitzerPrize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

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First in a Series of Posters from HBO to Promote the Third Season of True Blood

True Blood (HBO)

HBO has begun issuing downloadable posters as part of their marketing effort for the third season of True Blood. The first in a series of 12 is shown to the right; The Hollywood Reporter has a more provocative one (maybe the second in the series?).

True Blood is based on the series of Southern Vampire mysteries by Charlaine Harris, and features telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin). A collection of short stories featuring the character, A Touch of the Dead, was published last October.

The third season of True Blood begins on June 13th at 9 PM (ET/PT).

About True Blood (from the network): Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse, however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires -- particularly when it comes to Bill Compton, a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But at the service of Bill's less virtuous vampire associates, Sookie is drawn into a series of catastrophes that will put their love to the test.

Watch a short (27 second) production video from the third season below:

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ITW Announces Finalists for 2010 Thriller Awards

Mystery Book Awards: The Edgars, The Agathas, The Anthonys, and many more.

The finalists for the 2010 Thriller Awards have been announced by the International Thriller Writers organization. These awards, in four categories, recognize the best books and short stories published in this genre during the previous year. The finalists are:

Best Novel:
Vanished by Joseph Finder
Long Lost by Harlan Coben Review of Long Lost by Harlan Coben
Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker Review of The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

Best Paperback Original:
Shadow Season by Tom Piccirilli
Urge to Kill by John Lutz
Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina
The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli
No Mercy by John Gilstrap

Best First Novel:
Fragment by Warren Fahy
Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton
Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau Review of Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau
Dracula: The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker
Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti

Best Short Story:
The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey
A Stab in the Heart by Twist Phelan
Aftershock & Others by F. Paul Wilson
Iced by Harry Hunsicker
Boldt's Broken Angel by Ridley Pearson

The winners will be announced during ThrillerFest V (July 7th - 10th, 2010) in New York City.

Mysterious Reviews indicates a review by Mysterious Reviews.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Murder in the Palais Royal by Cara Black

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books


by
An Aimee Leduc Investigation

Soho Crime (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-620-9 (1569476209)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-620-8 (9781569476208)
Publication Date: March 2010
List Price: $25.00

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Murder in the Palais Royal by Cara Black
Buy Murder in the Palais Royal by Cara Black

Review: Private investigator Aimee Leduc is framed for the shooting of her business partner by someone who seems to have studied her closely -- or possibly knows her very well -- in Murder in the Palais Royal, the tenth mystery in this series by Cara Black.

Aimee learns that Rene Friant has been hospitalized with a collapsed lung, the result of a bullet to the chest. Unable to talk to him, she visits the scene of the crime -- their shared office -- only to discover that witnesses in the building describe someone very much like her as the shooter. Her only clue is that the woman wore an unusual motorcycle helmet, identical to one Aimee owns, available in only a couple of shops in Paris. She locates the store, and manages to acquire a surveillance video of the entrance where a woman, who even Aimee admits looks strikingly like her, hails a cab after purchasing the helmet. But the cab records indicate the woman was dropped off at Aimee's home address. The police have all the evidence they need to detain Aimee, but pulling a few strings in the department, she remains free to investigate on her own as to why someone has gone to a lot of effort to frame her -- for reasons unknown. Meanwhile, someone is depositing large sums of money into her bank account from an untraceable source outside the country, triggering a financial investigation by the authorities into the possibility that her office is laundering money from abroad.

Murder in the Palais Royal proceeds along at a brisk, at times frantic, pace. There's a lot going on here, especially since the titular crime doesn't even take place until well past the half-way point. In addition to the primary plotlines previously mentioned, there's a subplot that opens the book in which Aimee is preparing to leave for New York City to search for a brother she never knew she had, another having to do with the blackmail of a French government official, and still a third involving someone with surreptitious links to the CIA. In the less capable hands of another author, it would be a bit overwhelming. Still, it's not all that successful either. There's a sense that the reader is being taken along for a ride here, but is not fully engaged, drawn into the story, as it were. There is a direct link to the first book in the series, so it's possible that those who have not read it may not fully appreciate all that occurs -- and why it happens -- in this entry.

Special thanks to Soho Press for providing an ARC of Murder in the Palais Royal for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Her partner, René, has been shot, and eyewitnesses have identified Aimée as the culprit. A mysterious deposit has been made to their firm’s bank account, interesting the taxman in their affairs. Someone seems to be impersonating Aimée; someone wants revenge. Two murders ensue. How do they relate to the youth whom Aimée’s testimony sent to jail in the very first Aimée Leduc investigation, Murder in the Marais?

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

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Games of Mystery: The Blood River Files to be Released for iPhone Next Month

Games of Mystery

99games, a developer of casual games for the Apple iPhone, has been working on their first mystery game, and has recently been tweeting for beta testers.

Titled The Jim and Frank Mysteries: The Blood River Files, the game is similar in appearance to the popular Professor Layton series of games for the Nintendo DS. According to 99games, in The Blood River Files players take on the role of Jim and Frank, who on an adventure-filled quest must solve a mystery left to them by their grandfather.

The developer estimates there are 20-30 hours of gameplay involving 4 chapters that include over 30 different characters, 60 puzzles and 8 mini-games. A hint system is included.

The Jim and Frank Mysteries: The Blood River Files is expected to be available in the App Store in late April or early May. Watch a trailer for the game, uploaded by 99games, below:

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is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Cinemystery: Sherlock Holmes, New This Week on DVD and Blu-ray Disc

Sherlock Holmes
More information about the book

Director Guy Ritchie's reinterpretation (reinvention? reintroduction? reimagining?) of the famous consulting detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is released on DVD and Blu-ray disc tomorrow. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, the film is an action-packed adventure with a solid mystery worthy of the great detective himself at its core.

About Sherlock Holmes (from the studio): The hangman did his job, Dr. Watson declared the condemned man dead ... yet Lord Blackwood has emerged from the tomb to assert his deadly will over 1890 London. Is he in league with the forces of hell itself? Is the whole Empire in peril? It's a mystery macabre -- and only Sherlock Holmes can master it.

Original theatrical release date: December 25th, 2009. Available formats: Sherlock Holmes (DVD) and Sherlock Holmes (Blu-ray disc) combo pack, which includes the DVD version and a digital copy.

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Mysteries on TV: Judge John Deed, Lawman, The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, and The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, New This Week on DVD

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling three series and one collection being released on DVD this week.

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Information on Judge John Deed: Season One

Martin Shaw starred as The Hon. Mr. Justice Sir John Deed, or more simply , in this British series that ran for 6 seasons.

Judge John Deed is an idealist at heart, and his more traditional colleagues regard him as a dangerous and unpredictable maverick. Deed is proof that power does not have to corrupt. Armed with a sharp intellect, rakish charm, keen wit and a passionate belief in justice, he has made it to the top on his own terms. Fearless and independent, he is sworn to serve State and Sovereign and will not allow himself to be influenced by Government lackeys. Even if it means making powerful enemies.

In addition to hearing cases before the court, Deed's personal life is also shown, with Queen's Counsel Jo Mills (Jenny Seagrove) being his primary love interest.

The Judge John Deed: Season One DVD set of 3 discs contains the 5 episodes (including the series pilot) that originally aired in 2001 on BBC.

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Information on Lawman: Season One

His movies have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. He is an expert martial artist, with a 7th-degree black belt in akido. He’s considered to be in the same class of action heroes as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris.

But it turns out that Steven Seagal isn’t just an action hero in the movies. For the past 17 years, Seagal has been working as a , a fully-commissioned deputy sheriff in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. By day, a camera crew will ride shotgun with Deputy Sheriff Seagal. And the cameras will continue following him at night, as he pursues his many ventures (including energy drinks, songwriting, and animal activism) from a luxury hotel suite in New Orleans.

The Lawman: Season One DVD set of 2 discs contains the 4 episodes that aired during December 2009 on A&E.

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Information on Lord Peter Wimsey: Set One

Dorothy L. Sayers’s alluring, aristocratic sleuth is played to perfection by Ian Carmichael as in these acclaimed BBC adaptations of the classic crime thrillers.

First seen on Masterpiece Theatre, where their success inspired the long running Mystery! series, each full-length drama features vivid characters, sparkling wit, and lavish 1920s settings.

The series also stars Glyn Houston as Bunter, his manservant and partner in crime.

The Lord Peter Wimsey: Set One DVD set of 3 discs contains the two episodes ("Clouds of Witness" and "The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club") that aired in 1972.

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Information on Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Set Two

Sherlock Holmes wasn’t the only fictional detective in Victorian London. Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, other writers of the time created a colorful cast of sleuths: Dr. Thorndyke, Max Carrados, “Klimo,” Lady Molly, Detective Dagobert Trostler, the mysterious Mr. Laxworthy, and more, all collectively known in this series as the .

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Set Two DVD set of 4 discs contain thirteen episodes that originally aired during the spring of 1973, including an adaptation of one of our personal favorite short stories of all time, "The Problem of Cell 13", published by Jacques Futrelle in 1905 and featuring Professor Van Dusen, who was also known as The Thinking Machine.

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

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Games of Mystery: Titanic, Secrets of the Fateful Voyage, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual 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.

Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, Secrets of the Fateful Voyage
Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, Secrets of the Fateful Voyage

Find out what lies beneath in this story set aboard history's most famous ocean liner. Go on board the infamous Titanic and probe the mysteries that lie deep within us all on a journey into the heart of your character. Explore the beautiful ship as it begins its doomed descent and discover helpful items as you make your escape from the ship. Carefully manage your inventory to have the tools you need at your disposal. Find hidden objects as you make your way through beautiful rooms that change as the water level rises. Can you survive this historical event?

Also available: Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, the Fateful Voyage Game Walkthrough.

See also other versions of this game: Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, the Fateful Voyage (Nintendo DS version) and Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, the Fateful Voyage (Nintendo Wii version)

Hidden Mysteries: Titanic, Secrets of the Fateful Voyage may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (213.66 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard 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. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

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

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for March 29, 2010

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 March 29, 2010

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A D E G L M N O S

He is the author of Earthly Justice, a collection of suspense short stories (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, March 28, 2010

Mystery Book Review: How to Lose a Client by Becky A. Bartness

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of How to Lose a Client by Becky A. Bartness. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

How to Lose a Client by Becky A. Bartness

by
A Kate Williams Mystery

iUniverse (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4401-7748-1 (1440177481)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4401-7748-4 (9781440177484)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $17.95

Review: Attorney Kate Williams is thrilled with her new role as corporate attorney for a well-paying client ... until she learns her predecessor was murdered and she may be next ... in How to Lose a Client, the third mystery in this series by Becky A. Bartness.

Kate is settling down in her new hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. A former criminal lawyer in Chicago, she left the Windy City to take a position as Maricopa County attorney -- but that didn't quite work out, so she's opened her own office: Caitlin Williams, Attorney at Law. She's brought along a few former colleagues: M. J. Polowski, young eccentric paralegal; Marcus John Martinez-O'Reilly Ramirez, who everyone calls Sam, investigator; and Beth Portucci, secretary-receptionist-administrator-extraordinaire. Their most lucrative client is Ms. Katherine Paar, a.k.a. Tangerine, owner of Pole Polishers Inc., a ... ahem ... gentleman's escort service. In addition to a substantial retainer, Tangerine entrusts Kate with a flash drive containing a list of their clients, which includes ... ahem ... some rather prominent city and county officials. But then Tangerine disappears. And when someone learns that Kate has her client list, they go after Kate as well. Kate's current boyfriend, Brian Turner (who just happens to be interim Sheriff of the county), tells her to stay out of the investigation, but Kate being Kate, she just can't help herself. She gets her team together and they find Tangerine -- only to lose her again. It's a complex web of mysterious goings-on that Kate faces while trying to solve the disappearance of Tangerine and the murder of her former attorney.

How to Lose a Client is a delightful mystery. The captivating characters are colorfully drawn, the plot intriguing without being too demanding. And despite a storyline involving ... ahem ... ladies of the night, the author keeps the narrative light and positive without resorting to coarse or rough language. It's always a pleasure to read a book that relies on strong characters, setting and plot to tell a story, and does not depend on excessive violence or offensive words to punch up the action.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of How to Lose a Client and to Becky A. Bartness for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing How to Lose a Client from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Kate Williams, Esq., has just started her own criminal defense law firm in Phoenix, Arizona, when Katherine Paar aka Tangerine, a new client, walks in and proposes a lucrative deal to bring Kate on as her attorney. Things get complicated and events unfold quickly when the body of Tangerine's ex-lawyer is discovered and Tangerine disappears. Kate, aided by MJ, her tattooed, pierced, and fashion-challenged paralegal and Sam, her sometimes cross-dressing investigator, along with a cast of characters straight out of a John Waters movie, try to unravel the bizarre mystery and save Tangerine's life.

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Games of Mystery: Secret Files Tunguska, New for Nintendo DS and Wii

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of al new mystery game for the Nintendo DS. More mystery games for this platform are available on our recently updated webpage.

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Secret Files: Tunguska (Nintendo DS)
More Information About Secret Files: Tunguska (Nintendo DS)

Secret Files: Tunguska begins with a baffling kidnapping. Nina Kalenkow's world is turned upside down when she learns that her father, the scientist Vladimir Kalenkow, has vanished without a trace. Since the police can't (or won't?) help, Nina decides to search for clues to her father's whereabouts on her own. On the way, she meets Max Gruber, one of her father's colleagues, who spontaneously offers the attractive young woman his help. The trail leads Nina and Max to a mysterious disaster in the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908, which Vladimir Kalenkow had been investigating. Does the disappearance of Nina's father have something to do with his previous expeditions to Siberia?

The search for an answer leads the two heroes from Berlin around the globe and to the Antarctic, and it soon becomes clear that there are others who are also interested in Nina's father's secrets. After all, there's much more going on than the mere disappearance of an old man.

Secret Files: Tunguska is a classic single player, point-and-click adventure game. Players use their choice of the DS/DSi stylus or the D-pad to move heroine Nina Kalenkow around the gameworld in search of items to move action forward as well as clues to explain the disappearance of her father and the inexplicable and devastating disaster in Tunguska. Once found, select objects can be combined to create more useful items and if players choose, they can utilize the game's magnifying glass tool which will highlight items in the environment that Nina comes in contact with.

This adventure game is based on the mysterious Tunguska phenomenon that occurred in June 1908 in which the Siberian region of Tunguska was engulfed in an inferno of flames that turned everything into debris and ashes. This phenomenon remains unexplained to this day. With its unique mysterious setting, spectacular graphics, and innovative puzzles, Secret Files: Tunguska sets the stage for intrigue, drama, and a deep conspiracy to uncover.

After multiple delays, Secret Files: Tunguska for Nintendo DS is now scheduled for release on March 30, 2010, and is available for pre-order. It is ESRB rated Teen. Secret Files: Tunguska for Nintendo Wii is also scheduled for release on March 30th.

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Games of Mystery: Island, The Lost Medallion, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual 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.

Island: The Lost Medallion
Island: The Lost Medallion

Pam, a young archeologist, comes home from an expedition with an ancient medallion of unknown origin. The next day, she is kidnapped and now her boyfriend, James, must track her down. Follow the medallion across the globe and travel to a mysterious island to learn the secret behind Pam’s disappearance in this exciting hidden object game.

Island: The Lost Medallion may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (165.76 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard 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. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

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

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Deadlines by Paul McHugh

Mysterious Reviews

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

Deadlines by Paul McHugh

by
Non-series

Lost Coast (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-935448-04-8 (1935448048)
ISBN-13: 978-1-935448-04-4 (9781935448044)
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $16.95

Review: Paul McHugh's second novel, Deadlines, is less of a mystery than a character study from an insider who clearly knows the newspaper business, inside and out.

Sebastian Palmer blew into The City late in the summer of 2007. By City, I actually mean California's "Babylon-by-the-Bay" -- as a Post-Dispatch newspaper columnist once dubbed it -- San Francisco.

Palmer is a newspaper neophyte from Florida, eager to make a name for himself as an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Post-Dispatch, just not sure he wants to start at the bottom writing press releases on upcoming events. He stumbles onto an interesting story when he takes a call from Beverly Bancroft, an elderly woman who tells him she's being threatened by members of the Cornu Point Association, which manage the coastal land given by her family to the state to preserve as a park. She offers to send him some information to support her claim, and he agrees to look at it. But the potential story takes a deadly turn when the next day Beverly Bancroft is accidentally killed by a rider on a horse while walking with her dog on Cornu Point. Palmer decides to look into the matter further and discovers there are those who found the old woman more than a little troublesome and may have had a motive for murder.

Deadlines uses the "Columbo" strategy of detailing the whodunit, howdunit, and, for all practical purposes, whydunit in an opening prelude, allowing (in this case) investigative reporter Sebastian Palmer to lay the groundwork for the authorities to identify the culprit. Assisting him are Elle Jatoba, a woman he meets at a rock climbing gym, and Colm MacCay, a long-time columnist, who the paper's new management would like nothing more than to see leave, voluntarily if possible. The book is largely narrated in first person from the point of view of MacCay, though some early chapters are written in third person, as if MacCay is providing background information to the reader. It's a little confusing initially, since MacCay was obviously not present to relate, for example, the conversation between Palmer and Elle while they're rock climbing, or the details of when Palmer first visits Cornu Point.

When all is said and done, however, the book is about MacCay. Palmer, the murder, the investigation, are all used to help define MacCay as a character, a Pulitzer Prize nominee (three times!) who's gotten cynical and jaded, who fondly recalls the glory days of the power and influence that newspapers once wielded and now fears what the future may hold for the medium, who relishes the fact that he can't be fired from a job that he obviously loves but seems to have grown to hate, and who sees in Palmer a younger version of himself and wonders how he came to be the man he is today. The subtitle of the book is "a novel of murder, conspiracy, and the media", which it most definitely is, but Deadlines is mostly a novel about the life journey of a journalist ... and one has to wonder how biographical this tale may be.

Special thanks to Paul McHugh for providing a copy of Deadlines for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Buy from Amazon.com

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

Synopsis (from the publisher): Elderly land-use activist Beverly Bancroft is found dead on a beautiful stretch of California shoreline. Her murder, disguised as a tragic accident, plunges Sebastian Palmer into his first newspaper investigation. Veteran columnist Colm MacCay is assigned as his mentor. Palmer and a new friend, Elle Jatobá, who yearns to be a cop, begin to unravel the mystery behind the death. Then the conspirators come after Palmer.

It falls to MacCay to revive his dormant investigative skills, and persuade Elle to join him in uncovering the land-grab scheme behind the assaults. MacCay and Jatobá face a determined killer. At stake are their lives and the fate of the California coast. Their search for clues takes them from waterfront bars to a smugglers’ den, from downtown San Francisco to corridors of power in Sacramento, from the glitter of Las Vegas to an isolated monastery on the Big Sur coast. En route, MacCay must battle his dubious new bosses at the Post-Dispatch, as well as his own inner demons.

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Games of Mystery: Dark Parables, Curse of Briar Rose, New from Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual 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.

Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose
Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose

1000 years ago, Sleeping Beauty was kissed by a prince, which removed a terrible curse from the kingdom. The rampant briars were held at bay, but the poor princess was left in her slumber. Follow a modern day detective as he travels to Edinburgh, Scotland, and attempts to end the curse once and for all.

The game's plot appears to be based (at least in part) on the novel Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, in which the life story of a young woman named Briar Rose is the basis for the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

Also available: Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose Strategy Guide and Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose Game Walkthrough.

For a more in-depth playing experience, see Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose Collector's Edition.

Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (146.41 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard 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. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

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

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Warner Bros. Options Glen David Gold's Carter Beats the Devil

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
More information about the book

By a rather circuitous route, we learned from Film School Rejects that Glen David Gold's debut novel, Carter Beats the Devil, has been optioned for film by Warner Bros. No further information is available, and though we haven't read it, it sounds like an entertaining book that would make a terrific movie.

About Carter Beats the Devil (from the publisher): America in the 1920s was a nation obsessed with magic. Not just the kind performed in theaters and on stages across the country, but the magic of technology, science, and prosperity. Enter Charles Carter -- a.k.a. Carter the Great -- a young master performer whose skill as an illusionist exceeds even that of the great Houdini. Fueled by a passion for magic born of desperation and loneliness, Carter has become a legend in his own time.

Carter the Great's thrilling act involves outrageous stunts carried out on elaborate sets before the most demanding audiences. Night after night, in towns across the nation, he performs these masterful feats, bringing his unique brand of magic to those starved for wonder. But nothing in his career has prepared carter for his most outrageous stunt of all, which stars none other than President Warren G. Harding and which could end up costing Carter the reputation he has worked so hard to create.

Filled with historical references that evoke the excesses and exuberance of Roaring Twenties, pre-Depression America, Carter Beats the Devil is a complex and illuminating story of one man's journey through a magical -- and sometimes dangerous -- world, where illusion is everything.

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Save 30% on Casual and Adventure Games This Weekend at Big Fish Games

Big Fish Games Spring 2010 Sale

This weekend only, you can purchase a spring full of mysterious fun at Big Fish Games! Save 30% on all standard games* through Sunday, March 28, 2010. (*) Collector's Editions, Daily Deals, and Special Offers are excluded.

Select the game you want to purchase, click the Buy It button, enter the coupon code SPRINGFEVER into the box, then click Apply Code to realize your savings.

For mystery fans, we've collected all the mystery and suspense, casual and adventure, games available from BFG on our Games of Mystery: Big Fish Games page. Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, Delaware St. John, Sherlock Holmes, Mystery Case Files, and more are represented.

Visit Big Fish Games this weekend and stock up on mystery (and others, of course!) games at 30% off. Remember this spring sale ends Sunday, March 28, 2010.

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First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: New Titles for April 2010, Part 2

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 April 2010.

Because there are so many this month, we're splitting this list into two. Today we're featuring Sleuths in Training (ages 10 to 12) and Apprentice Sleuths (ages 13 and older). Yesterday we featured mystery, suspense, and thriller novels for younger kids.

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Secret of the Bradford House by Albert A. Bell

Secret of the Bradford House by Albert A. Bell


The spooky old Bradford House at the top of the hill has loomed over Steve Patterson and Kendra Jordan's neighborhood for years. But not until a new neighbor, 11-year-old Rachel Mendoza, notices an eerie light in an attic window does the question arise: Is there a ghost in the house?

While they try to answer that question, Steve and Kendra have to deal with the tension caused by the presence of a "new kid" in the neighborhood, one who seems to have a more than casual interest in Steve. Steve is also reconnecting with his divorced father and learning how difficult that process can be.

The 2nd mystery in this series.

This Steve and Kendra Mystery is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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Disney in Shadows by Ridley Pearson

Disney in Shadows by Ridley Pearson


When Disney Imagineers installed hologram guides for the Magic Kingdom, using teenage models they had no idea the technology might backfire. But backfire it did: some nights when the kids go to sleep, they wake up in one of the Disney parks as a hologram.

The five teens, Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene, and Maybeck search to find Wayne, their mentor and head Imagineer who has mysteriously gone missing. Concerned Wayne has been abducted by the Overtakers -- Disney villains, who along with other Disney characters, take over the parks when the turnstiles stop spinning, and want desperately to steer the parks to a far darker place -- the five kids pick up a major clue from a close friend, Jez, whose dreams (nightmares, really) often accurately predict the future.

The very few clues from Jez’s dream lead the kids into Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot -- through imaginary worlds that become real, by imaginary kids who are real. Each clue seems tied to the last, and with the stakes growing ever higher, what starts out as a puzzle ends up as a fight for their lives. Through a transparent paper box, a quest for a sword, rides on Soarin' and Maelstrom, life-and-death encounters with giant snakes, and a devious Maleficent, the Kingdom Keepers not only begin to decipher deeper meanings to the clues, but discover new truths about themselves and their ever-growing friendships.

The 3rd book in this series.

The Kingdom Keepers thrillers are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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The Light by D. J. MacHale

The Light by D. J. MacHale


16-year-old Marshall Seaver discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this is, it’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined.

The 1st book in this trilogy of thrillers.

This first Morpheus Road book is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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We the Children by Andrew Clements

We the Children by Andrew Clements


Sixth-grader Ben Pratt is thrust into a mystery-adventure when his school's janitor shoves a gold coin in his hand, passing on the responsibility to save Oakes School from developers. Captain Oakes gave the school to the community back in 1783; its original building overlooks the Massachusetts town's harbor. But the land has been sold, and buildings will be razed to make way for a theme park. With his parents recently separated and new living arrangements—one week at home with mom, the next on dad's sailboat—Ben has had enough change. He and Jill Acton, a friend with brainpower and potential, embark on a campaign to stop the attack.

The 1st mystery in this series.

This Benjamin Pratt "Keepers of the School" mystery is recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett

The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett


Xander’s classmate gives a report at school about a famous amulet of the Egyptian god of time, Thoth. It was thought to be so powerful that it could turn back time one day every hundred years. And that day will come in a week!

The amulet disappeared from a museum in London years ago. Xena and Xander’s celebrated ancestor, Sherlock Holmes, tried to find it, but with no luck. The twins are on the case—but so are some mysterious foes who are trying to thwart and perhaps even harm them! Can Xander and Xena track down what Sherlock Holmes could not?

The 3rd mystery in this series.

The Sherlock Files are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers


Being able to detect black magic isn’t all tea and crumpets—and for Theodosia Throckmorton, it can be a decidedly tricky business! When Sticky Will drags Theo to a magic show featuring the Great Awi Bubu, she quickly senses there is more to the magician than he lets on, setting in motion a chain of events she never could have bargained for.

Meanwhile, back at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities, Henry is home for the spring holidays and makes an accidental discovery of an artifact that alchemists have been hunting for centuries. Soon, every black-cloaked occultist in London is trying to get their hands on it ...

The 3rd mystery in this series.

The Theodosia Throckmorton mysteries are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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The Emperor's Code by Gordan Korman

The Emperor's Code by Gordan Korman


As the race to find the 39 Clues builds to its explosive finish, Amy and Dan must explore an ancient culture and steal a Clue guarded by thousands of the world's best-trained soldiers. It's the most dangerous Clue search yet. As their enemies crowd in, Amy and Dan find themselves separated for the first time ever. The choice lies before them – find the next Clue, or find their way back to each other.

Be the first to find out where the next Clue is! There are three messages hidden on the cover of Book 8: The Emperor’s Code. Go to The39Clues.com/theemperorscode for a blow up of the cover, enter the secret messages you find, and unlock a page from The Emperor’s Code that reveals the whereabouts of the next Clue.

The 8th book in this seris of adventures.

The 39 Clues suspense novels are recommended for readers aged 10 to 12.

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Seeing Green by Carolyn Keene

Seeing Green by Carolyn Keene


What was supposed to be a blissed-out vacation at a pristine eco-resort has turned into one of the biggest cases of my life. And just as we were getting into it, Bess, George, and I had to return to River Heights. But, it looks like the case has followed us home. Now that I'm back on my home turf, I can investigate Cristobal's mysterious American girlfriend further -- I'm sure she has more to do with the sabotaging of the Casa Verde resort than her boyfriend and resort owner, Cristobal, would let on.

But as I've so often come to find out, this case goes much deeper the more I scratch the surface. Who are these mysterious people Cristobal and his girlfriend are involved with? And what is their plan? I'm on the case and determined to find out!

The third and final book in the Eco-Mystery trilogy.

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

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Conspiracy 365: April by Gabrielle Lord

Conspiracy 365: April by Gabrielle Lord


Don't blink. Don't forget to breathe. On New Year's Eve Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning ... They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days!

Hurled into a life on the run, the 15-year-old fugitive is isolated and alone. Hunted by the law and ruthless criminals, Cal must somehow uncover the truth about his father's mysterious death and a history-changing secret. Who can he turn to, who can he trust, when the whole world seems to want him dead? The clock is ticking. Any second could be his last.

The 4th book in this series.

The Conspiracy 365 thrillers are recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine


Me: Lucas Swain—I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.

The missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.

The dead: That's Violet ... in the urn. Speaking of crazy—I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father ...

I may have met Violet after she died. But it didn't stop me from getting to know her ...

This novel is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson

Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson


With Dan McAndrews's murder finally behind her, Scarlett has high hopes for a fresh start at Wakefield Hall Collegiate, the elite English boarding school her grandmother runs. Unfortunately, those hopes are dashed when her nemesis, the infamous Plum Saybourne, is transferred to the school. Plum wastes no time turning Scarlett’s impressionable classmates against her.

Scarlett has dealt with Plum’s nasty schemes before, and she can handle her archenemy very nicely, thank you—until Plum sets her sights on Scarlett’s best friend, Taylor, and new boyfriend, Jase. Then Scarlett is more than willing to fight for what’s rightfully hers.

Things only get worse after Scarlett becomes entangled in a mysterious death on campus. Scarlett is compelled to investigate because she wants to protect someone close to her. She never imagines that she’ll uncover secrets related to her parents’ fatal accident so many years ago.

The 3rd mystery in this series.

The Scarlett Wakefield mysteries are recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

The Knife That Killed Me by Anthony McGowan


Paul Vanderman could be at any normal high school where bullies, girls, and annoying teachers are just part of life. But “normal” doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s biggest bully, Roth—a twisted and threatening thug with an evil agenda.

When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but somehow Roth keeps finding reasons for him to stick around. Then one day Roth hands him a knife. And even though Paul is scared, he has never felt so powerful.

This novel is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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Possessing Jessie by Nancy Springer

Possessing Jessie by Nancy Springer


Quiet, cautious Jessie had always lived in the shadow of her dynamic younger brother -- her mother's clear favorite. His recent death leaves Jessie and her mother numb with grief. That is, until the morning Jessie cuts her hair and dresses in Jason's clothes, swaggering out of the house in an uncanny imitation of her brother. Her mother is visibly cheered, and for once Jessie is the center of attention at school. But each day Jason takes over Jessie more and more. Can she escape his power?

This thriller is recommended for readers aged 13 and older.

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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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