Monday, December 18, 2006

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for December 18, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 18, 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: D E H K N O R T Y. This doctor is featured in the classic English mystery series written by R. Austin Freeman (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 17, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde

The Only Pure Thing by Patrick Hyde
A Stuart Clay Mystery

Beckham Publications Group (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-931761-61-1 (0931761611)
ISBN-13: 978-0-931761-61-4 (9780931761614)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Benny Batiste's head winds up on a Georgetown parking meter, defense attorney Stuart Clay inherits his problems. Police discover Cleveland Barnes wearing a green army raincoat, a battered top hat, and bloodied Bally loafers. As Benny was found both headless and shoeless, Cleveland is charged with murder and Stuart is appointed to represent him.

Stuart thinks Cleveland is a hapless street person who filched some shoes. The police insist that things are not so simple. Pursuit of the case leads to clues that connect a band of homeless living under the Key Bridge, the Bronx mob, the urban renaissance of Washington, D.C., and a malignant evil so dark that it threatens to consume Stuart's very existence.

Review: Patrick Hyde's debut mystery, The Only Pure Thing, introduces Washington DC criminal attorney Stuart Clay who is assigned to defend Cleveland Barnes, a homeless man accused of the murder of a man whose head was found on a parking meter and whose shoes were found on Barnes' feet.

The Only Pure Thing is not a typical legal mystery ... and the better for it. It's virtually impossible to predict where the plot of this book is heading, the result being the reader enjoys the journey almost as much as Stuart Clay in taking it. The ending is a bit over the top, but that's a minor flaw.

Hyde has a deft style of writing, and he vividly portrays the nation's capital from an insider perspective. In describing Barnes and the other homeless people in his sphere, he writes, "I [Stuart Clay] concluded that Cleveland didn't even know the people under the bridge. He and the others coexisted in a psychic half light, stranger to each other in a shared reality. They clung to a subterranean world the way the oppressed poor and sick cling to flawed ideas the world over. They huddled from a distance not of geography but of mind." This is powerful and perceptive prose. And in a clever nod towards the O. J. Simpson trial, he crafts the sound bite, "Bloody Ballys don't prove murder", that becomes a rallying cry for Barnes' supporters.

The Only Pure Thing is a strong start for Stuart Clay. If subsequent books share the same strength in plot and characterization, it will definitely be a series worth reading.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing a copy of The Only Pure Thing for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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News: Best Mysteries of 2006 from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

As we approach the end of the year, several publications produce their "best" lists. At the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, they have published their list of the best mysteries of 2006.

In order ...

1. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos.

2 (tie). The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais.

2 (tie). Echo Park by Michael Connelly.

3. No Good Deeds by Laura Lippman.

4. Promise Me by Harlan Coben.

5. Kidnapped by Jan Burke.

6. Piece of My Heart by Peter Robinson.

7. Prisoner of Memory by Denise Hamilton.

8. Stripped by Brian Freeman.

9. Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason.

10. A Garden of Vipers by Jack Kerley.

11. Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder.

12. A Long Shadow by Charles Todd.

13. White Shadow by Ace Atkins.

On their website, they also list their choices of the best debuts of the year, and the best short story collection (A Merry Band of Murderers, a review of which can be read at Mysterious Reviews.)

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 Book Review: The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

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

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
A Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles Mystery

Ballantine Books (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-345-47699-9 (0345476999)
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-47699-9 (9780345476999)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $25.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): PECCAVI. The Latin is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman's brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It's a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who swiftly link the victim to controversial celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O'Donnell—Jane's professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

On tony Beacon Hill, the club's acolytes devote themselves to the analysis of evil: Can it be explained by science? Does it have a physical presence? Do demons walk the earth? Drawing on a wealth of dark historical data and mysterious religious symbolism, the Mephisto scholars aim to prove a startling theory: that Satan himself exists among us. With the grisly appearance of a corpse on their doorstep, it's clear that someone-or something-is indeed prowling the city. Soon, the members of the club begin to fear the very subject of their study. Could this maniacal killer be one of their own-or have they inadvertently summoned an evil entity from the darkness?

Delving deep into the most baffling and unusual case of their careers, Maura and Jane embark on a terrifying journey to the very heart of evil, where they encounter a malevolent foe more dangerous than any they have ever faced . . . one whose work is only just beginning.

Review: The Mephisto Club is the sixth mystery in this series featuring Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, this time on the case of the brutal murder of a young woman on Christmas Eve. Though both women participate in the investigation, Jane plays a much larger role than Maura in the book.

The crime, and a subsequent murder, is quickly linked to an unusual group of wealthy individuals who are members of the Mephisto Club, an organization that seeks out evil in the world. The group is headed by a mysterious and powerful man with the highest level connections, giving him access to confidential information on the victims and the crimes. Though apparently working on the same side as the officials investigating the murder, it's not clear his objectives are the same. Is he part of the solution or part of the problem?

The Mephisto Club has a solid, effective, fast-paced plot with a number of unusual features that make it an above average thriller. The incorporation of obscure symbolism and the inclusion of arcane biblical references make the, at times, implausible storyline quite credible.

There are a few problems, however, that prevent The Mephisto Club from being first rate. In an effort to show the familial side of both Jane and Maura, Gerritsen includes two side stories that seem incongruous. For Jane, there are the droll scenes with her parents that seem to be present solely for comic relief. For Maura, it's her troubled relationship with Father Brophy. Neither seems terribly important for this book, but may simply have been included for the purpose of continuity of the series.

A more serious problem is the motivation of the culprit and the purpose for the murders. Though it appears to be personal, in the end, the implication is that there was an ulterior motive to the crimes that is at odds with the events that took place. It's rather convenient how it all turns out, and just a bit illogical.

Despite these few shortcomings, The Mephisto Club is definitely worth adding to your library.

Special thanks to The Book Report Network for providing a copy of The Mephisto Club for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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

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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.

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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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