Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tours Track Tony Hillerman Mystery Sites

The Arizona Republic recently ran an article on the Hillerman Country Tours that takes visitors on a tour of sites featured or described in Tony Hillerman mysteries. Hillerman is the author of the Jimmy Chee and Joe Leaphorn mystery series set on the reservations of northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico.

The tours cover more than 1,100 miles and extend over four days, taking participants from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon; the Hopi, Navajo and Zuni reservations; Canyon de Chelly; Chaco Canyon; trading posts and various villages and towns. Most of them are strategic locations in Hillerman's books.

For fans of the Hillerman series, or just the southwest US in general, this tour sounds like a wonderful way to see the area and experience the beautiful environment described in the books.

Read the complete article here which includes a detailed itinerary of the tour.

More blogs about mystery books.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

More Mystery Book Survey Results

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has been conducting a daily survey on its website asking visitors various questions about mystery books (and extensions thereof!). Each answer gives the visitor an entry into a monthly contest for a $25 gift card. Periodically results of the survey are posted in this blog.

Three questions were asked about Agatha Christie characters, and the actors who have portrayed them on screen.

1. Which is your favorite Agatha Christie character?

51% Miss Marple
40% Hercule Poirot
09% Tommy and Tuppence Beresford

2. Who has best portrayed Hercule Poirot in the movies and/or on television?

34% Albert Finney
20% David Suchet
46% Peter Ustinov

3. Who has best portrayed Miss Marple in the movies and/or on television?

33% Helen Hayes
10% Joan Hickson
46% Angela Lansbury
05% Geraldine McEwan
06% Margaret Rutherford

Thank you to all who have participated in the mystery book survey contest to date. The survey is expected to run through March 31, 2006, so there's plenty of time for you to cast your vote and get an entry into the monthly drawing for $25.

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mystery books.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Interview with Sue Grafton, author of S is for Silence

Sue Grafton's latest Kinsey Millhone mystery, S is for Silence, is scheduled to be released tomorrow, December 06, 2005. Grafton, a native of Louisville KY, was recently interviewed by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"The smartest thing I ever did was invent someone to support me," she says of Kinsey. Smiling, she adds with equal measures conspiracy and amazement, "Say someone reads S, and that's their first and they like it. You know what they do? They go back and buy A is for Alibi," she told the reporter. Then B is for Burglar ...

Grafton takes her work very seriously. She says she is glad to write two to four pages a day when she's rolling. "Any writer who says they write eight hours a day is either a liar or on drugs, and if it's the latter, I want some," she adds.

Read the rest of this entertaining article here.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books will provide a link to purchase S is for Silence on its website, or through this blog.

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Profile of Mystery Author Eleanor Taylor Bland

Eleanor Taylor Bland, a native of the Chicago suburb of Waukegan and author of the Marti MacAlister mystery series, was profiled recently by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The article describes Bland's 13th MacAlister mystery, A Dark and Deadly Deception, which is scheduled for publication by St. Martin's Minotaur in early December. In this book, a woman's body is found in the swollen Des Plaines River. She is identified as a bit actress in town shooting scenes for a film. Marti and her partner, Vic, must smoke out what tied the Californian to the Waukegan area and how that led to her murder. Meanwhile, the detectives also are trying to clear a case that dates back to the 1940s after finding the bones of a murdered man in a historic building. The story addresses the past and those struggling to reconcile themselves to it, including characters like Delilah, an octogenarian African-American who regrets having pressured her daughter, Tamar, to settle for a man and a life she didn't want.

Bland, who is in her 60s, published her first mystery in 1992. "I tried to write the all-American, or all-African-American, story for a while before I got hooked on mysteries," says the author.
She initially sent two manuscripts to St. Martin's Press that landed on the desk of an editor who liked the characters and the prose style, but not the story. The editor "went to her [boss] and said 'I like this author but not what she's doing. What do I do?' And the [boss] said, 'Encourage her. When I got those books back, basically what she said -- and I've still got the letter, a page and a half, single spaced -- was, 'Whatever you write, I'll read it.' So I never went to any other publishing company."

Read the rest of this interesting profile of Eleanor Taylor Bland here.

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e-book Publisher Releases Detective Novel

Press release (12/04/05): The usual menacing characters and unexpected plot twists found in detective novels meet their match against an unusual protagonist, in a new e-publication from DigitalPulp Publishing (

Crimson Ice is the story of Frankie Lupino, a single mother who suddenly finds herself juggling childcare and crime solving against the harsh winter background of the Pocono Mountains. When her sister disappears, Frankie embarks on a life changing adventure full of sinister characters, and surprising turns of events. In her search, she forges a professional and romantic bond with Sarvonsky, a cynical New York undercover cop turned detective.

Read the rest of the press release here.

More blogs about mystery books.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (12/02/2005)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 02, 2005 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Not only does James Patterson continue to top all three lists, but his books are listed multiple times in the top ten lists. On the Barnes & Noble site, his titles sell as four of the top ten .

More blogs about mystery books.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fast-paced Detective Story Brings to Life Unforgettable Characters

Press Release (11/30/05): An avid lover of mystery novels since his youth, E. E. Williams has captured the true essence of the gumshoe detective in his first novel, Tears in the Rain published by BookSurge.

Set against the backdrop of luscious Miami sunsets, Williams introduces the reader to Noah Greene, a man who has run away from everything in his life, including his wife and son. Greene is a man who dreams of being a detective like his screen idols, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade, but in reality, can barely get by as a bicycle mechanic in Miami. His dream is suddenly realized one day when a young woman hires him to prove her brother is dead so that she can inherit $400,000.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Free Signed Mystery Book Contest

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books is continuing to offer a monthly free mystery book contest on their website. For December, the prize is a signed copy of Mean High Tide by James W. Hall. Congratulations to Robert B. as the winner of the November contest; he will receive a signed copy of To The Nines by Janet Evanovich.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to enter. While there, please take a moment to see all the features that the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has to offer: new titles, bestsellers, reviews, trivia, and more! And don't forgot to enter the daily mystery survey contest!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Mystery Hardcovers for November 2005 (updated)

Seven additional mystery book titles have been added to the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books November 2005 New Hardcover list. These additions represent the last books to be added for November. The December 2005 list is expected to be updated next week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stanford University "Rediscovers" Sherlock Holmes

Stanford University is "rediscovering" Sherlock Holmes with a special reprint of some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales just as they were originally printed and illustrated in The Strand Magazine. This project is a continuation of Stanford University's "rediscovery" of other important works, including those of Charles Dickens that were published over the past three years.

Over 12 weeks from January through April 2006, Stanford University will be republishing, free of charge, two early Holmes stories, “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Speckled Band”; the nine-part novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles; and the famous “last” encounter between Holmes and Moriarty, “The Final Problem.”

Read more of the details here and to subscribe to receive the reprints.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Recent Press Releases for Mystery Books

Below is a list recent press releases covering the subject of mystery books compiled by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books:

11/27/05: Marty Mitchell Aims to Satisfy Innovative Suspense Thriller Cravings with Print-on-Demand Availability of The Sensation Inside at

Marty Mitchell inspires and ignites the suspense thriller genre with the publication of The Sensation Inside in conjunction with Lulu (, the world’s fastest-growing provider of print-on-demand books. The Sensation Inside is a new type of suspense thriller that combines the mood of such modern television shows as The X Files and the intricate mysteries of writer Agatha Christie. (Read the rest of the press release here.)

11/23/05: America's Favorite Ice Skating Sleuth, Bex Levy Returns to Catch Cold-Blooded Murderer in Axel of Evil

"Murdered!" screamed the headlines. Igor Marchenko, a skating Champion and world-renowned coach who first made news twenty-five years earlier for his defection to America during the height of the US-USSR Cold War, lay dead in a Moscow skating rink. Now Bex Levy, researcher for the 24/7 sports network, has been ordered by her boss to help solve the crime on live television. She’s gotten lucky twice before…can she do it again in front of the entire world?” So begins Axel of Evil, the third novel in the Figure Skating Mystery series from writer Alina Adams, which is scheduled for a January 2006 release from Berkley. Adams has created the first and only mystery series of its kind, set in the world of competitive figure skating, and it holds particular appeal leading up to the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy this February. (Read the rest of the press release here.)

11/18/05: Utah Author and LDS Publisher Announce Mystery Writing Contest

Jeffrey S. Savage, bestselling author of Cutting Edge, Into the Fire, and House of Secrets, joins Covenant Communications, the leader in LDS fiction, in announcing the Shandra Covington Mystery writing contest. (Read the rest of the press release here.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Interview with Rosemary Herbert, co-editor of A New Omnibus of Crime

This past September, A New Omnibus of Crime was published by Oxford University Press. Tony Hillerman, noted mystery author, and Rosemary Herbert, writer, editor, and critic, co-edited the book which was patterned after the original 1920 version edited by Dorothy L. Sayers.

This new collection picks up where the original left off bringing together monumental, important, and entertaining works of mystery short fiction from the inter-war years of the twentieth century to the first years of the twenty-first century. Rosemary Herbert and Tony Hillerman introduce each story and place each selection in the context of the author and the genre's literary history. A New Omnibus of Crime is full of a whole range of engaging, page-turning, and spine tingling selections from the past eight decades and brings together some of the greatest crime and mystery short fiction ever collected.

Rosemary Herbert was interviewed recently about the book in her home state of Maine. She said it took about 18 months to come up with the list of stories to include. When asked what makes a good mystery book or short story, she said: "Readers still turn to mystery writing for strong plot, and increasingly, for complex characterization." Read the interview in its entirety here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mystery Book Review: High Heels and Homicide by Kasey Michaels

Title: High Heels and Homicide
Author: Kasey Michaels
Publisher: Kensington Books (Paperback Original)
Publication Date: December 2005
ISBN: 0-7582-0880-4
Series Character(s): Maggie Kelly and Alexandre Blake, Viscount Saint Just
Entry in Series: Fourth

The latest book in the Maggie Kelly series, High Heels and Homicide, is a delightfully funny mystery set largely in an atmospheric 17th century English manor house during a dark and stormy night.

The unusual twist in this series is that mystery author Maggie Kelly has created a fictional Regency-era character for her books, the aristocrat-detective Alexandre Blake, Viscount Saint Just, who has mysteriously come to life with all the characteristics that Kelly imbued in him but without any knowledge or experience of modern life. This premise makes for many comical situations, and Michaels takes full advantage of them in her mysteries.

Maggie and Saint Just leave New York for England where a production of one of Maggie's mysteries is being filmed. The weather is miserable, and the constant rain has flooded the grounds around the manor house where the cast and crew are housed, cutting them off from the outside world. Not long after Maggie argues with the screenwriter who is adapting her book for the film, he's found hanging outside her bedroom window. Another body is soon found, and there are suspects aplenty. The secondary characters in this series play an important role in this book, and are every bit as interesting as Maggie and Saint Just.

Michaels captures the essence of the movie industry very well with all its personalities, egos, and insecurities. The action moves along at a brisk pace, and the dialog is frequently funny and entertaining. The fact that the author spends more time on “romance” than “mystery” in this romantic mystery is quibbling.

Don't judge this book by its cover … or its title for that matter. The original title for this mystery, Maggie Gets Some Direction, is not only more appropriate for the book and the series, but adds an ironic element to the storyline and the interplay of the principal characters.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing the ARC of High Heels and Homicide for this review.

Read other recent mystery book reviews by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Copyright © 2005 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Brendan DuBois Wins Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award

Earlier this month, Brendan DuBois received the Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award for Best Short Crime Fiction Story at the fourth annual New England Crime Bake, a mystery convention organized by the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. The winning short story, "The Road's End," originally appeared in the Windchill crime anthology, published by Level Best Books.

The award was created by the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America to honor the late Al Blanchard, a mystery novelist and short-story author who was serving as president of the group's annual Crime Bake convention when he died suddenly last year. Blanchard’s widow, Enid Blanchard, was one of the judges of the short-story contest, and she presented the award to DuBois during this year’s convention.

Brendan DuBois is the author of the Lewis Cole mystery series (Dead Sand, Black Tide, Shattered Shell, Killer Waves, and Primary Storm). Lewis Cole, a magazine writer and former Department of Defense research analyst, investigates mysterious happenings in and around the New Hampshire seacoast.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (11/25/2005)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending November 25, 2005 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Mary, Mary by James Patterson continues to top all three lists. Look for S is for Silence by Sue Grafton to be a top seller when it is published the first week of December.


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