Monday, January 16, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 01/16/2006

A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is 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!)

Previous puzzles will be stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy this new feature from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Sleuthing Out Bay Area Mystery Novels

The UCBerkeleyNews recently ran an interesting article describing the efforts of Bancroft Library cataloger Randal Brandt, a mystery aficionado with a passion for following book-related leads and sharing his discoveries.

With its storied history, signature landmarks, and abundant atmospheric fog, San Francisco has long been a favored stomping ground of literary sleuths. Just how much crime has bloodied this ground is apparent by visiting Golden Gate Mysteries, an annotated bibliography found on the Berkeley Library website and compiled by Brandt. There mystery fans will find the titles of hundreds of novels set in San Francisco and environs, featuring gumshoes as diverse as the names in a Frisco phone book and plots as twisted as Lombard Street.

Read the rest of the article here and take the time to visit Golden Gate Mysteries; it's time well spent.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Robert Goldsborough Hits a Home Run with New Novel

Press Release: Three Strikes You're Dead (June 2005), a Golden Age mystery written by Chicago author Robert Goldsborough of the famed Nero Wolfe novels, has reached a level of excellence within Echelon Press Publishing as it's overall best selling novel for 2005.

Three Strikes You're Dead takes fans back to 1938 Chicago, to a time when politics were king and baseball ruled. Dizzy Dean sat in the driver's seat of the Cubs' World Series ride, while scandal rocked the tight political community of the Windy City.

Goldsborough's trademark style of gritty detectives and vivid description are at a definite high in this novel of murder and mayhem. Deftly written dialogue and a unique and colorful cast of characters bring this classic-style mystery to life.

Read the entire press release here.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (01/13/2006)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending January 13, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Lilian Jackson Braun's latest Jim Qwilleran mystery, The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell, has debuted at the top of the Barnes & Noble's mystery bestseller list and in third place at Amazon.com. Despite tepid reviews for this 28th entry in the series, her fans keep buying her books.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Whodunit Book Channels Spirit of Stanford Mystery

Here's a decidedly odd news item from the Mercury News.

Stanford's late matriarch has inspired yet another whodunit book - Poisoned Palms, the Murder of Mrs. Jane Lathrop Stanford by Hawaiian author Dorothea N. Buckingham.

From the book's "About the Author" page, it states: "After reading countless pages, interviewing scholars and sitting and 'listening' to Mrs. Stanford speak to (the author), when asked if Mrs. Stanford was murdered, her response is long, circuitous and changes each time.'' So, does that mean Buckingham was chatting with Stanford's spirit? After all, Stanford herself was known to consort with mediums.

Read the entire article here.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Mystery Hardcovers for January 2006 (updated)

Eighteen additional mystery book titles have been added to the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books list of new mystery hardcovers for January 2006. This is the first of two updates expected this month.

There is a lot to choose from, including the latest Arly Hanks mystery (Malpractice in Maggody by Joan Hess) and a new Charlotte La Rue mystery (Married to the Mop by Barbara Colley). Dana Stabenow has written a non-series thriller (Blindfold Game) and Jesse Kellerman, the son of mystery writers Faye and Jonathan Kellerman, has written his first mystery, Sunstroke.

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Other Mystery Book Reviews Online

Roberta Alexander, who write the It's a Mystery column, recently reviewed four mysteries (published in the Contra Costa Times online edition). Her opening comments are so very true: "A sense of place roots a character and a story in a way that strengthen them so that the reader can get the benefit of travel without the jet lag. Some mystery authors have a particular knack for creating characters and situations that you cannot imagine taking place anywhere else."

The four books she reviewed are:

"Wildcat Wine," by Claire Matturro (William Morrow, $23.95, 295 pages);

"Last to Leave," by Clare Curzon (St. Martin's, $23.95, 256 pages);

"Over Her Dead Body," by Kate White (Warner Books, $24.95, 384 pages);

"The Cradle Robbers," by Ayelet Waldman (Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95, 218 pages).

Read her reviews here.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 01/09/2006

A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is 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!)

Previous puzzles will be stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy this new feature from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

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.

Two questions were asked about what kind of mystery books you read and how you read them.

Which is your favorite mystery genre?

20%: Private Eye
35%: Traditional / Cozy
22%: Legal or Medical Thriller
08%: Police Procedural
08%: Locked Room / Impossible Crime
07%: Other

How often do you skip to the end of a mystery to find out "whodunit"?

02%: Always
12%: Once in a while
76%: Never

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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Friday, January 06, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (01/06/2006)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending January 06, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Several new books released this past week have hit the bestseller lists including the eighth Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery, A Long Shadow by Charles Todd, and the romantic thriller Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Andrea Kane.

January looks to be a busy month for new mysteries!

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Manolo Matrix by Julie Kenner

Title: The Manolo Matrix
Author: Julie Kenner
Publisher: Downtown Press
Publication Date: February 2006
ISBN:0-7434-9614-0

Series Character(s): None
Entry in Series: Second

The Manolo Matrix is the second book in Julie Kenner's Play.Win.Survive trilogy. The Givency Code, released in 2005, introduced the game and The Prada Paradox, expected to be released in 2007, will (presumably) provide answers to some obvious questions about the game (such as, who is behind it).

Synopsis (from the publisher): USA Today bestselling author of The Givenchy Code Julie Kenner reloads for her second novel of high-heeled thrills as another woman gets pulled into a mysterious world of extreme gaming where she must play or die.

Aspiring actress Jennifer Crane knows all about games -- the games girls play to get a guy; the games actresses play to land a part; and the good old game of credit-card roulette. (How else is a girl supposed to afford her shoes?) But she never expected to be playing a game with life-or-death consequences. Unable to successfully score an acting gig, she has, instead, been cast in the role of reluctant bodyguard to a real-life assassin's target -- a dashing FBI agent of all people! -- and must embark with him upon a scavenger hunt across Manhattan in search of the ultimate prize: survival. Before this, Jenn's definition of fighting dirty has been elbowing her way to the front of the line at a Manolo sample sale. Now, if she wants to stay alive, she's going to have to learn a few new uses for her stilettos ... and they ain't pretty.

Fast, flirty, and full of great footwear, The Manolo Matrix is another electrifying adventure in this breakout series for fashionistas who love a perfectly appointed mystery.

Review: The individual books of the best trilogies should be able to stand on their own, but The Manolo Matrix fails in this regard. The basis of the scavenger hunt (clues from Broadway plays) seems overly contrived, and the relationship between Jennifer and Devlin is never believable. The book is billed as an action-packed mystery and romantic comedy, but it is neither of these. It seems the author was simply trying to fill in the gap between the first and third books as quickly as possible with little regard to plot or character development.

Kenner is clearly taking advantage of the incredible publicity surrounding The Da Vinci Code (the title of the first book, The Givenchy Code, being an obvious clue) in penning this trilogy. But while The Da Vinci Code would never be classified as fine literature, it was at least fun to read. The Manolo Matrix is neither.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing the ARC of The Manolo Matrix for this review.

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

Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mystery Trivia for January 2006

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new trivia questions for January 2006 on its website.

This popular entertainer has written several mysteries often characterized as "comic-whodunits" which feature both himself and his wife. Who is he?

What is the title of the first book in this series?

Answers to previous mystery trivia questions.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Feature: Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has introduced a new feature on its website: a weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle. Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we give you a mystery book-related hint to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!)

Enjoy this new feature from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Monday, January 02, 2006

The Mystery of Nancy Drew

The Globe and Mail recently ran an article on the mystery of Nancy Drew. At 75, not only does Nancy Drew continue to make money, she's also the subject of scholarly essays that assess her social impact. These essays assess the historical and social impact of Nancy, and a bevy of academic events that started in the 1990s culminated in a massive open-to-the-public conference held this year in New York City.

Nancy Drew is still going strong. Though the original series of mysteries ended in 2003, Simon & Schuster, owner of the Nancy Drew brand, is keeping Carolyn Keene (the pseudonym under which the Nancy Drew stories have been written all these years) busy.

Simon & Schuster has rolled out two new series in the last two years. Nancy Drew Girl Detective (first-person Nancy) debuted in 2004 and even made The New York Times bestseller list.

This year, the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective Super Mystery series debuted, as well as a series of Nancy Drew graphic novels. And for the purists, the American history-oriented small press Applewood has been steadily re-issuing original unmodified Nancy Drew books complete with exact reproductions of covers and text (including the casual ethnic slurs that were cut out of the books as the times changed).

Read the entire article here.

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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.

Two questions were asked about how many mystery books you read in a month, and where you purchase your mystery books.

Where do you purchase most of your mystery books?

35%: Amazon.com
32%: Barnes & Noble
06%: Books-a-Million
16%: Borders
11%: Independent mystery bookstore

How many mystery books do you read every month?

47%: 0 - 1
41%: 2 - 4
12%: More than 4

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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