Sunday, December 17, 2006

Press Release: Unlock the Secrets of a Haunted Manor in Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst

Games of MysteryMystery Case Files: RavenhearstSEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Big Fish Games, a leading developer and distributor of casual games, today announced the launch of Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst, a thrilling game that puts game players in the role of Master Detective to solve the mystery surrounding the Ravenhearst manor.

This is the third episode in Big Fish Games’ top-selling franchise, Mystery Case Files. The two previous episodes, Mystery Case Files: Huntsville and Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects, set online sales records in 2005 and 2006. Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects currently remains the top-selling casual game, a position it has held since it launched in April 2006, according to Logler.com, a site which tracks the top 10 global casual games based on data from major download portals.

Unlock the Secrets of a Century Old Mystery ...

Rumors surrounding the history of stately Ravenhearst Manor have circulated for decades. The recently acquired diary of Emma Ravenhearst may hold the key to unraveling the history of this unsettling place, yet all the pages are missing. Players assume the role of Master Detective to unlock secrets held within Ravenhearst, scouring 32 rooms in the manor for cleverly hidden clues. Locating and assembling diary pages help tell the history of the house and, ultimately, unlock the mystery. The game includes hundreds of items to find, which are new and different each time the game is played.

Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst also includes a hidden “easter egg” in the game that gives players a chance to enter a contest that will award them with the opportunity to have a photograph or character of their likeness embedded in a scene in the next Mystery Case Files episode after Ravenhearst.

Read the entire press release here.

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News: Murder the Write Way

Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles mysteries, writes in the Washington Post that as an author of mystery novels and medical thrillers, she inhabits a world in which killers are ruthlessly efficient and assassins seldom make mistakes. So when she considers the recent death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with radioactive polonium in London, the sheer clumsiness of the crime astonishes her.

She adds, Litvinenko's killer chose a poison that is rare and easily tracked: polonium-210. Extremely toxic, polonium is difficult to handle and it leaves a telltale trail of radioactive contamination, which British police have used to trace the poison's spread -- and presumably the killer's footsteps -- throughout London. The villain may as well have left a trail of breadcrumbs. The poison allowed the victim to live for days, during which he was able to provide police with vital information.

Had this been a fictional account, Gerritsen suggests alternative methods of murder that would have been more efficient. And, if she were writing this story, the plot suggests a specific villain as the mastermind behind the murder. Or does it?

Read her entire analysis on WashingtonPost.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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Friday, December 15, 2006

Mystery Bestsellers for December 15, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 15, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New this week: The time has come for Meredith Gentry Mistral's Kiss by Laurell K. Hamiltonto put aside her detective work and fulfill her ultimate obligation to the world of Faerie - where her efforts to conceive an heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court are crucial to restoring magic, and life itself, to the fey kingdom in Mistral's Kiss, the 5th book in this series by Laurell K. Hamilton. As plots and counterplots are hatched, and strategies and subterfuges played out, the destiny of an entire world turns upon the fortunes of Merry Gentry: object of obsession, target of treachery, pawn of uncertain fate. Publishers Weekly states that "Lots of earth-shattering, supernatural sex and a rousing climactic battle will have Hamilton's fans panting for more."

Also new this week, the latest thriller from Greg Iles: True Evil by Greg IlesTrue Evil. If you wanted to kill your spouse and get away with it, you had to do something truly ingenious: something that wouldn't even be perceived as murder. And that was the service that Andrew Rusk had found a way to provide. Like any quality product, it did not come cheap. Nor did it come quickly. Who is this merciless assassin? Why is murder an art form for him? And what clues could exist to lead them to a man of such twisted talents? Not even the clients who hire him know his identity, and the lawyer who works with him fears him above all else. Most terrifying, those who choose murder over divorce soon learn a terrible truth: once set in motion, the instrument of their anger cannot be stopped. The Washington Post says, "True Evil will be too dark for some readers, but for those who enjoy lush, full-tilt thrillers, it will be engrossing and fun."

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

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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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Press Release: The Moon Affects the Stock Market

Paradigm by Robert TaylorEl Dorado Hills, CA (PRWEB) December 14, 2006 -- A research paper discussed in the November issue of Harvard Business Review adds credence to the theory that author Robert Taylor developed years ago and set forth in his groundbreaking recent book Paradigm: the macro movement of the stock market can be predicted by gravitational fluctuations.

According to Taylor, who has worked with leading academicians and research scientists, the macro movement of the stock market is predictable. Gravitational fluctuations, such as those caused by the moon and other celestial bodies, influence masses of humans to feel simultaneously bullish or bearish about the stock market.

An article from the June 5, 2006 issue of BusinessWeek titled "The Sun, the Moon, and the Market," details Taylor's conclusions. Reporter Adrienne Carter called Paradigm "The Da Vinci Code for the Wall Street set."

Taylor packaged his research into the fiction mystery thriller Paradigm in order to reach a wider audience than a scientific journal. At the end of the book is a lengthy academic presentation of his science called "The Taylor Effect," and information on how readers can prove it to their own satisfaction. The recent Harvard published peer-reviewed study supports Taylor's findings.

Read the entire press release 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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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

News: Stephen King to win MWA Grand Master Award

Stephen King has been announced as the recipient of the most prestigious honor the Mystery Writers of America bestow: The Grand Master Award given for lifetime achievement, writes Otto Penzler in The New York Sun.

He adds, although mainly famous as the author of the most terrifying horror fiction published during the past half-century or more, the multitalented Mr. King has also produced a strong body of work in the mystery/crime/suspense genre.

A long-time aficionado of mystery fiction, King stated: "I'm delighted to be getting the Grand Master Award and to be joining the likes of some of my greatest idols and teachers — people like John D. MacDonald, Ed McBain and Donald E. Westlake. The award means a great deal to me personally because it's an award from people who understand two things: the importance of good writing and the importance of telling stories."

Read the rest of the story 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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Monday, December 11, 2006

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for December 11, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 11, 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 letters and mystery clue: A B D E F I L N R. This is the title of the second mystery in the Mechelle Deakes series by Lynn Abercrombie (9 letters).

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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Friday, December 08, 2006

Mystery Bestsellers for December 08, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 08, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The 4th book in the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris debuts in the second position at both Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com this week. Hannibal Rising by Thomas HarrisIn Hannibal Rising, the evolution of his evil is revealed. Synopsis (from the publisher): Hannibal Lecter emerges from the nightmare of the Eastern Front, a boy in the snow, mute, with a chain around his neck. He seems utterly alone, but he has brought his demons with him. Hannibal's uncle, a noted painter, finds him in a Soviet orphanage and brings him to France, where Hannibal will live with his uncle and his uncle's beautiful and exotic wife, Lady Murasaki. Lady Murasaki helps Hannibal to heal. With her help he flourishes, becoming the youngest person ever admitted to medical school in France. But Hannibal's demons visit him and torment him. When he is old enough, he visits them in turn. He discovers he has gifts beyond the academic, and in that epiphany, Hannibal Lecter becomes death's prodigy.

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

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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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Press Release: Mystery Writers of America to Honor Bookstores

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Two bookstores, which have been major supporters of fiction and non-fiction crime writers, will be honored by Mystery Writers of America with the Raven Award for 2007. Kathy and Tom Harig of Mystery Loves Company bookstore, and Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books bookstore will be presented with the Raven at the 2007 Edgar® Awards Banquet to be hosted by Al Roker of NBC's "Today." Established in 1953, the Raven is awarded by MWA's Board of Directors for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.

Kathy and Tom Harig are being presented with the Raven for the role that Mystery Loves Company has played in supporting the careers of hundreds of established and emerging crime writers, and in connecting mystery enthusiasts from the Maryland community with authors. Mystery Loves Company's two stores are located in Baltimore and Oxford, Maryland.

Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books is being presented with the award for the support that his Books & Books bookstores have given writers over the years, as well as for his leadership in founding and chairing the largest book fair in the country, Miami Book Fair International. Books & Books' three stores are located in Florida's Miami-Dade County.

The Edgar Awards, or "Edgars," as they are commonly known, are named after Mystery Writers of America's patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are awarded to authors of distinguished work in various categories. The Edgar Awards Banquet will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, NYC, on April 26, 2007.

Read the entire press release 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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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Press Release: New Online Sweepstakes for Mystery Author Lisa Gardner

Gone by Lisa GardnerNorth Conway, NH (PRWEB) December 5, 2006 -- What kind of writer invites readers to "Kill A Friend, Maim A Buddy?" Avid readers of New York Times bestselling mystery and suspense author, Lisa Gardner, know that while Gardner may not look like the dark, twisted type, she has her macabre side. On her website, readers can enter the "Kill A Friend, Maim A Buddy" online sweepstakes and nominate a friend, family member, coworker, boss, fellow mystery lover -- or even themselves -- to be the Lucky Stiff who meets their demise in Lisa Gardner's 2008 novel. The winner's nominee gains immortality, while the winning entrant receives a signed copy of the novel.

As devilishly devious as the sweepstakes may be, Gardner is quick to point out, "Kill A Friend, Maim A Buddy is meant as a harmless bit of fun. We ask that those entering the sweepstakes don't provide a physical description of the proposed Lucky Stiff or details about the manner in which they'd like to see the person die. It's a contest, not the starting shot at revenge -- or couples therapy." Entries will be accepted online at the Kill A Friend, Maim A Buddy Sweepstakes entry page until 11:59 p.m. ET, May 25, 2007, after which the winner will be randomly selected.

Gardner's most recent release, Gone, which will be published in paperback on December 26, 2006, recently received a reviewers' pick award from San Francisco Chronicles as one of the best books of 2006.

Read the entire press release 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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News: Clooney Reportedly Buying Rights to Grisham Bestseller The Innocent

The Innocent Man by John GrishamFor the second time in less than a week, we have news that George Clooney is getting involved with movie adaptations of mystery books. Variety (and others) are reporting the Clooney and Warner Independent Pictures are buying the screen rights to the latest John Grisham bestseller, The Innocent Man. Last week we noted that Clooney had signed on to produce and star in the James Ellroy mystery, White Jazz.

According to Variety, Grisham ultimately will be paid a seven-figure sum against the gross participation deal if The Innocent gets made. His approval of the deal came only after several conversations with Clooney and partner Grant Heslov.

The deal is the first studio pact in several years for Grisham, whose previous courtroom thrillers The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, and A Time to Kill routinely sparked fevered auctions and seven-figure movie deals, culminating in a then-record $8 million deal from New Regency for Runaway Jury.

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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Monday, December 04, 2006

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for December 04, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 04, 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 letters and mystery clue: A C G H L M N O P. Mary Anna Evans’ mysteries feature Faye ________, a student of archaeology: (last name only, 9 letters).

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, December 03, 2006

Mystery Book Review: A Fatal Appraisal by J. B. Stanley

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of A Fatal Appraisal by J. B. Stanley. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.A Fatal Appraisal by J. B. Stanley

A Fatal Appraisal by J. B. Stanley
A Collectible Mystery with Molly Appleby

Berkeley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-21264-5 (0425212645)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-21264-6 (9780425212646)
Publication Date: October 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Amateur sleuth Molly Appleby has a keen knowledge of antiques, a special fondness for collectibles, and a canny acquaintance with the criminal mind ...Molly Appleby is in Richmond Virginia, to cover a taping of the hit antiques show Hidden Treasures. But after the show's main appraiser inspects an 18th-century desk with hidden compartments, she finds him dead. Molly thinks that the antique desk holds the key to this 21st-century crime. It's up to her to collect the clues before more new blood is shed over old rarities.

Review: A Fatal Appraisal is the second mystery in this series to feature Molly Appleby, a reporter for Collector's Weekly. The series also features collecting and appraisal tips.

Molly is in Richmond (VA) to cover a television show patterned after the real TV series, Antiques Roadshow. There are the alliterative experts (Frank for furniture, Alicia for art, Clarke for china, Tony for toys, and so on), a host, a producer, and others that are part of the drama. Inevitably, one is found dead (was it murder?), and it's up to Molly to determine who was responsible.

A Fatal Appraisal starts off strong. Molly Appleby is a very appealing, energetic character. She is not only good at her job, she seems to enjoy it despite a less than desirable boss. She probably eats a bit too much and her figure shows, but life is full of compromises. She's trying to find time to develop a relationship with that special someone and is convinced he's worth the effort. In short, a very strong, well developed, lead character for the series.

The other characters associated with the show are varied and serve the plot adequately as suspects when Frank the furniture expert is found dead under mysterious circumstances.

It is at this point in the book that the story starts to meander, never quite finding its way back to its promising premise. Contributing factors include the general lack of motivation for anyone to kill Frank, the murder "weapon" (as it were) that is hardly a guarantee for success, and, in an odd way, the appearance of Molly's mother, who seems to dominate the latter half of the book.

Scattered between chapters is a side story that takes place in 1776 involving one of the pieces of furniture currently being displayed on the fictional Hidden Treasures show. It's actually rather interesting and does provide a unifying thread tying the past to the present.

Finally, the examples of hidden compartments in furniture provided at the end are marred by the small size and poor quality of photos. A link to a website with larger photos, in color, would have been a nice touch.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of A Fatal Appraisal for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

News: Clooney to Star In and Produce White Jazz

About a month ago we reported that a sequel to L. A. Confidential was in the works. Titled White Jazz, the fourth and final book in James Ellroy's L. A. Quartet series, Melbourne native Guy Pearce was in talks to play Ed Exley, a character common to both books.

The Hollywood Reporter (and others) are now reporting that George Clooney has signed on to star in and produce White Jazz for Warner Independent. Clooney will play a corrupt police lieutenant assigned to a potentially explosive case for the Los Angeles Police Department during a time when the department is under investigation for corruption. Production is set for 2008.

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: Bob Morris on His New Book, Bermuda Schwartz

Bermuda Schwartz by Bob MorrisEx-NFL player-turned-PI Zack Chasteen returns in February 2007 in Bermuda Schwartz, the 3rd mystery in the "island" series that began with Behamarama. The Royal Gazette (Bermuda) provides an update on the author's activities, quoting from a recent interview with Morris on the plot of Bermuda Schwartz, "Oh, it's just your typical tale of shipwrecks and lost treasure and money laundering and palm trees and love and a teeny bit of sex and death by icepick and, oh yeah, the search for the True Cross of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

He adds, "I went to Bermuda a couple of years ago to write a magazine story, then decided it had all the makings of a good place to commit murder and started cobbling together the pieces. I'm off next to Trinidad to research the fourth book in the series – Trinidday-O."

Morris is a contributor to National Geographic Traveler, Bon Appetit, Islands, Robb Report, Latitudes and other publications. Bahamarama was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Mystery Novel and chosen by the Library Journal as one the year's Top Five Mysteries. The second mystery in the series, Jamaica Me Dead, was released in October 2005 and was a BookSense Pick by the American Booksellers Association (ABA).

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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Friday, December 01, 2006

Mystery Bestsellers for December 01, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 01, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No new mysteries this week on the bestseller lists. Just a bit a reshuffling of last week's books. Cross by James Patterson retains the top spot at both Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com with Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen in second place.

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our website!

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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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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