Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 07/10/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 10, 2006A 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!).

This week's mystery clue: Jonathan Kellerman’s sleuthing shrink Alex Delaware returns for his 17th case in this thriller (with “A”) (9 letters): A C D E H L O R T

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, July 09, 2006

News: USA Today's Roundup of New Mysteries

Looking for a good mystery to read this summer? In the July 5th edition of USA Today, four new mysteries are recommended, three of which have links to excerpts.

No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman, the 8th mystery featuring Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan.

The Betrayed by David Hosp, the 2nd mystery featuring Darius Train and Jack Cassian, a mismatched pair of D.C. detectives.

What is Mine by Anne Holt, the debut mystery in a series featuring Johanne Vik, a former FBI profiler now working as an academic psychologist, and Norwegian Detective Inspector Adam Stubo.

The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King, the 5th book in the Kate Martinelli mystery series.

Read the entire article on USAToday.com, with links to excerpts, here.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Blown Away by Shane Gericke

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Blown Away by Shane Gericke. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Bullet Trick by Louise WelshSynopsis (from the publisher): A serial killer is playing a deadly game. There are no rules except one: The killer always wins. The loser always dies.

Since joining the force, rookie cop Emily Thompson has had one ambition: to work homicide. Now she’s got her chance. A twisted sociopath is turning her safe Chicago suburb into a brutal killing field, and every single one of his grisly clues leads directly to Emily. In 72 hours, on her fortieth birthday, he intends to make her his greatest trophy. If she doesn’t stop him before then, Emily’s first case will be her last.

In a city gripped by terror, and with little more to go on than her instincts, Emily must match wits with a madman bent on chilling revenge. It is an investigation that will lead her into a nightmare world of unimaginable crimes, the dark secrets of her own past—and to a final shocking discovery…

Review: Blown Away, the debut police procedural thriller in a new series by Shane Gericke, gets high marks for action, but falls short on originality.

Rookie cop Emily Thompson finds herself the target of a psychopathic killer after (literally) stumbling across clues left for her to find, clues she and her fellow officers will need to decipher in order to identify him. Gericke, however, makes no effort to mask the identity of the killer to the reader, so Blown Away becomes more of a "whydunit" than a "whodunit".

There are several clever plot elements in Blown Away, the tautly written prologue is especially chilling, and some of the secondary characters are particularly interesting, but all of these are overshadowed by questionable lapses in logic as the plot unfolds and the depiction of a police force that at times seems unusually inept.

With Emily Thompson as a lead, Gericke has created a dynamic cast of characters that, together with more original plots, should serve him well in future books in this series.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of Blown Away for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Game Preview: Nancy Drew in Danger by Design

Games of MysteryJack Allin of Adventure Gamers provided an advance look at the 14th game in the popular Nancy Drew Mystery Series for the PC, Danger by Design. The game is expected to begin shipping in early August.

Nancy Drew 14: Danger by DesignA famous fashion designer named Minette has fallen far behind in preparations for her upcoming show, and a concerned investor asks Nancy to secretly investigate under the guise of a new intern. Along with snooping out suspects, Nancy will also have to maintain her cover as an intern, and Minette proves to be a most demanding boss. Luckily for players, that means plenty of activities, and Danger by Design looks to have a nice variety of puzzles and minigames, writes Allin.

Almost everything about the game is classic Nancy Drew, so those with any experience at all with the series will feel right at home immediately. Allin concludes that the first-person, node-based, point and click interface is a breeze, and all the tried and true features from previous games have returned.

Another game in the series will be released in October: The Creature of Kapu Cave. The Hardy Boys debuted in last year's Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, and the boys return in the upcoming game, but this time they are much more involved, and players will have the chance to control both Frank and Joe in significant roles throughout the game.

Read his entire preview here.

Find information about the entire series of Nancy Drew mystery games and more at Games of Mystery.

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Profile: Tempa Pagel's Debut Mystery Raises Story from the Ashes

Jill Oestreicher Gross, writing for the Newburyport Current, recently reported on the debut mystery by Tempa Pagel that has its origins in a mystery 200 years old. In 1811, fire raged through Inn Street and Market Square and destroyed much of downtown Newburyport. To this day, it is still unknown how the fire started.

Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple by Tempa PagelGross writes that Tempa Pagel decided to devise a plot around the mystery, the result being her first novel, Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple. Three sections of the book are set in 1811, and the rest is set in present-day Newburyport.

Plot summary: When a storm damages the steeple of a local church, revealing a skeleton and a silver tankard that has been missing from the church plate since 1811, Andy Gammon, with her background in historical research, decides to mount an investigation. The mystery spills over into the present when a second body - this time a very recent one - is found at the church, and a fire is set on Andy's property, leading Andy to wonder if tragedies of the past are being recreated in the present.

Pagel started the novel in 1996 while a stay-at-home mother to her two children, who are now in college. "It was fun to try and weave a mystery around the history," she says.

Read the rest of the profile of Tempa Pagel on Newburyport TownOnline.com here.

The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series. Please visit often!

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Friday, July 07, 2006

New Mystery Hardcover Titles for July 2006 (updated)

New MysteriesAn update of new hardcover mysteries for July 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. Three new titles have been added, and one (Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth A. Adler) has been pushed from June.

by Michael Bowen is the third mystery in the Rep and Melissa Pennyworth mystery series. Publishers Weekly states that "Bowen effectively captures his Midwestern locale and takes readers on a fast-paced, exciting ride."

The Next Time You Die by Harry Hunsicker is the second entry in the Dallas PI Lee Henry "Hank" Oswald mystery series. Publishers Weekly calls it "... macho mayhem to the max."

Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh is a follow up to her art-world noir mystery, The Cutting Room. Mysterious Reviews calls Bullet Trick "... a stylish noir thriller ...".

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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News: A Passion for Mysteries Spawns New Publisher

Susan Adams, writing for Forbes Magazine in its Entrepreneurs section, recently profiled Maggie S. Topkis whose passion for mysteries led to the creation of Felony & Mayhem Press, a small publishing house Topkis runs out of her cluttered two-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village.

Adams writes that in business barely a year but with a list of 42 titles, including one hit, Topkis seems to be on her way to profitability. By the end of 2006, she predicts, she'll be breaking even on annualized sales of $1 million and paying herself a $50,000 salary. In the tightfisted world of publishing, where chain stores and online discounters make it tough to operate in the black, that's no small feat.

Topkis puts out paperbacks only, with 11-point type and generous margins. "The market for our books is definitely over 35," says Topkis, who is 46. "They've got older eyes." She sells mostly to non-chain stores; her list is packed with books she adores. "My stuff is pitched to women, and 60% to 70% of the line is British," she says. "Prose-driven, intricately plotted stuff."

Adams continues by providing a detailed summary of the company's finances, including start-up costs, unit costs, other expenses.

Read the entire article on Forbes.com here.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (07/07/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending July 07, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

12 Sharp by Janet Evanovich remains at the top of all four lists this week, with The Husband by Dean Koontz being a close second on three of the lists, third at Barnes & Noble.com.

New this week is the 8th thriller in the Sigma Force series, Black Order by James Rollins. Black Order by James Rollins A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore ignites a relentless hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory. And Commander Gray Pierce dives headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany. Publishers Weekly calls Black Order "inventive" and states "... every time the author appears to have stretched too far, he saves the read by throwing in a fascinating scientific or historical fact, plus a scene of heart-pumping action."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Bullet Trick by Louise WelshSynopsis (from the publisher): Meet William Wilson, a floundering so-called mentalist, conjurer, and above all — despite frequently being the opening act for strippers — a master performer. When his agent books him for a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he's hoping his luck's on the turn. Among the showgirls and grifters of Berlin's scandalous underground, Wilson can forget his lonely heart, his muddled head, and, more important, his past. But secrets have a habit of catching up with William and as he gets in over his head with a certain brand of lucrative after-hours work, the line between what's an act and what's real starts to blur.

Review: The Bullet Trick is a stylish, noir thriller in addition to being a character study of one William Wilson, an introverted illusionist performing in modern Berlin.

There are two mysteries that run in parallel in The Bullet Trick. The narrative alternates between two time frames: one set in Berlin and taking place before some life-altering event, and the other set largely in Glasgow and taking place a year after this event. What happened between Berlin and Glasgow that caused such a drastic change in William Wilson is the first mystery.

The second mystery has to do with a missing person. Though often the more interesting storyline, it is less important to the overall plot of the book than the events leading up to the first mystery.

William Wilson isn't the most appealing of characters, but the reader is quickly swept up into his life and cares what happens to him. The alternating time frames help keep the reader's attention on William as he is the only fixed point of reference in the story.

Welsh writes exceedingly descriptive prose which usually makes for atmospheric settings, but at times seems overdone. And though the conclusion is not unexpected, it could have been written more in the noir style of most of the book instead of the somewhat mawkish approach chosen by the author.

Special thanks to Grove Atlantic for providing the ARC of The Bullet Trick for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mystery Book Contest: Win a Set of Signed Mysteries by Lori Avocato!

New! The Perils of Pauline Contest is now available on The Mystery Book Contest Website. Enter daily through September 05, 2006, for a chance to win a complete set of all four published Pauline Sokol mysteries by Lori Avocato, each personally signed by the author!

The mysteries featured in this prize package are:

A Dose of Murder, the first Pauline Sokol mystery, with the former nurse and newly minted private investigator going undercover investigating fake insurance claims.

The Stiff and the Dead, where Pauline investigates a prescription for murder in a local senior's center.

One Dead Under the Cuckoo's Nest, with Pauline investigating a sleazy psychiatric scam.

Deep Sea Dead, with Pauline on the high seas undercover as a nurse on a luxury cruise ship.
A Dose of Murder by Lori AvocatoThe Stiff and the Dead by Lori AvocatoOne Flew Under the Cuckoo's Nest by Lori AvocatoDeep Sea Dead by Lori Avocato
Lori Avocato is an Air Force veteran, registered nurse, and award-winning author who often uses her military, medical, or a combination of both backgrounds, in her plots.

The Perils of Pauline Contest is sponsored by Lori Avocato, the author of the Pauline Sokol mysteries, Book Trends, and Mysterious Reviews.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Profile: Ann Ripley Finds Fertile Ground for Murder

Jodi Torpey, special to The Denver Post, recently wrote a profile on Ann Ripley, whose gardening mysteries feature Louise Eldridge, the host of "Gardening with Nature," a popular syndicated television show. Torpey writes that plants are used throughout her books to add scenic descriptions, create plot points, or serve as clues for solving the crime.

Many of Louise's adventures are based on Ripley's real-life experiences. "But I'm not as foolish as Louise," Ripley says. "She's always getting herself into trouble."

Torpey adds that for the books in the series, Ripley has visited botanic gardens, talked with experts from the Department of Agriculture and interviewed a professor who regularly travels to the Amazon researching medicinal plants. Ripley also draws on her own gardening expertise. Her grandfather was a farmer and her father was a practical gardener.

Summer Garden by Ann RipleyRipley's most recent mystery, Summer Garden Murder, the 9th in the series, is to be followed by a Death in the Orchid Garden, inspired by a recent trip to Kauai. She envisioned Louise taking her gardening show to Hawaii, where she meets a group of elite botanists attending a convention there. "There's a murder or two," Ripley says. "One guy is shoved off a cliff and, of course, Louise is right in the middle and gets to the bottom of the case."

Read the rest of the profile of Ann Ripley on the Denver Post.com here.The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series. Please visit often!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 07/03/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 03, 2006A 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!).

This week's mystery clue: This Detective Inspector is featured in a long-running mystery series by Ian Rankin (9 letters): B E H J N O R S U

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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Mystery Book Review: Feint of Art by Hailey Lind

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of Feint of Art by Hailey Lind on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

Feint of Art by Hailey LindSynopsis (from the publisher): At age ten, Annie Kincaid was declared a prodigy when she painted a perfect Mona Lisa. A similar copy at seventeen made her a crook. Lesson learned: Genuine art is priceless, and forgery gets you arrested. Now Annie is putting her artistic talents to honest use as a faux finisher in San Francisco. But her past may not be painted over as well as she thought ...

Annie's got bad news for her ex-boyfriend, curator Ernst Pettigrew: The snooty Brock Museum's new fifteen-million-dollar Caravaggio painting is as fake as a three-dollar bill. Then, the same night Annie makes her shattering appraisal, the janitor on duty in the museum is killed -- and Ernst disappears. To top it all off, a well-known art dealer has absconded with multiple Old Master drawings, leaving forgeries in their places. Finding the originals and pocketing the reward money will help Annie get her landlord off her back. But a close encounter with a fickle yet charming art thief could draw her into the underworld of fakes and forgers she swore she'd left behind ...

Review: Towards the end of Feint of Art, the first in a new mystery series by Hailey Lind featuring reformed art forger and current faux finisher Annie Kincaid, Annie ponders the situation in which she finds herself and deems it "overly complicated". The same can be said of Feint of Art. This is not necessarily a negative criticism, but there is easily enough material here for two books. So much happens in this mystery, what with a large cast of characters having suspicious relationships and multiple pieces of disappearing and reappearing artwork, it is virtually impossible to keep track of it all.

And it probably doesn't much matter. Feint of Art is like a roller coaster: the thrill is in the ride. Lots of twists and turns and a blur of details along the way.

Each chapter is prefaced with a quote from Annie's grandfather's unfinished and unpublished manuscript, Reflections of a World-Class Forger. The quotes are informative, fascinating, and frequently quite entertaining. It would be best if Lind keeps grandfather Georges at a distance in future books where he remains worldly and mysterious. But continue with the quotes; they are a treat in and of themselves. Finally, no surprise here, the book concludes with a recipe for a faux finish, Annie's Basic Old Master Glaze.

Though a bit overwritten in places, Feint of Art is a fine debut to a mystery series that shows a lot of promise.

Special thanks to Hailey Lind for providing a copy of Feint of Art for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Titles for July 2006

Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback MysteriesThe Mystery Bookshelf has posted a list of new paperback mysteries expected to be available in July 2006.

Some of the mystery authors whose books are coming out in paperback this month include:

Susan Wittig Albert, The Tale of Holly How, the 2nd mystery in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series; Rhys Bowen, Evan Blessed, the 9th mystery in the Constable Evan Evans series; Susan Conant, Scratch the Surface, the new Cat Lover's mystery series by the author of the Dog Lover's mysteries; J. A. Jance, Long Time Gone, the 17th mystery in the J. P. Beaumont series; Marcia Muller, Cape Perdido, the 2nd mystery in the Soledad County series by the author of the Sharon McCone mysteries; Sara Paretsky, Fire Sale, the 12th mystery in the V. I. Warshawski series; Karin Slaughter, Faithless, the 5th mystery in the Sara Linton series; and 20 more!

Titles are maintained on The Mystery Bookshelf for 6 months, and are available for browsing by author, series character, or date of publication. You may also use our search feature to search for current and archived titles.

Thank you for visiting The Mystery Bookshelf!

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Mystery Trivia for July 2006

Mystery BestsellersThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new mystery trivia questions for July 2006.

The first book in this long-running mystery series featuring a San Francisco private investigator, entitled Edwin of the Iron Shoes, was written by this author who also wrote a short series of mysteries in the 1980s featuring Joanna Stark, a partner in a firm specializing in security for museums and art galleries. What is this author's name?

She is married to another mystery writer with whom she has collaborated on a number of novels. What is his name?

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to see the answers to these questions as well as previous mystery book trivia questions from prior months.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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