Monday, March 05, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for March 05, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for March 05, 2007A 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 E J L N S T Y. She is the author of the Collectible mysteries featuring pottery dealer Clara Appleby (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, March 04, 2007

News: Florida Book Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the First Annual Florida Book Awards Competition have been announced, and mysteries did very well.

In the general fiction category, Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen took silver (2nd place).

Mysteries swept the popular fiction category. The top prize, gold, went to Escape Clause by James O. Born. Silver was awarded to The Perfect Assassin by Ward Larsen, with bronze medals given to Murder at Wakulla Springs by M. D. Abrams, Dark Light by Randy Wayne White, and The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer.

The winners will be recognized in Tallahassee on March 23rd. For more information, visit the Florida Book Awards 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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Profile: For Brown, It's No Mystery Why Cats Rule

Kerry Lengel of the Arizona Republic recently profiled and interviewed Rita Mae Brown. Brown is the bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series and the "Sister" Jane Arnold Foxhunting mystery series as well as several other books of fiction. Her most recent book, Puss 'n Cahoots, was the 15th mystery in the Mrs. Murphy series, and is co-authored (like all other books in the series) by Sneaky Pie, her cat.

Puss n Cahoots by Rita Mae BrownA few highlights from the interview:Q: How old is she? [Sneaky Pie, that is!]

A: Well, we're on Sneaky 2 now. Sneaky 1 lived to 18, and her daughter is carrying on the business. Luckily, I get all my animals to live a long time. But I must say, it is interesting and fun to be overshadowed by a cat. She gets her own fan mail. She gets pictures from other cats. She has a whole life of her own.

Q: How are cats different from people in how they view the world, and in how they solve mysteries?

A: Their senses are much better. They aren't hagridden by ideology. The human animal lives in a state of constant self-delusion. We have these screens of religion and political ideologies, and they don't, so they're much more able to respond to a crisis effectively. We don't want to see the world the way it is, and sometimes when it breaks through we quickly reach for a drink. [Mystery Books News Editor's note: I have to admit I had to look up the word "hagridden". Not part of my everyday vocabulary! It means "worried or tormented, as by a witch". Hmm ...]

Read the entire profile and interview on AZCentral.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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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mystery Book Review: By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt

By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
A John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery

Henry Holt (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-8050-8061-9 (0805080619)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8050-8061-2 (9780805080612)
Publication Date: February 2007
List Price: $19.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): For years, John Cardinal's wife, Catherine, has battled severe depression. People are saddened when she finally takes her own life, but they are not really surprised. Cardinal, of course, is devastated. Despite the suicide note in Catherine's own handwriting and the coroner's finding that there is no evidence of foul play, Cardinal cannot bring himself to believe that Catherine has really killed herself.

When hateful notes about his wife's death begin to arrive in the mail, he begins to suspect murder - perhaps revenge from one of the many criminals he has put away over the years. But because the police have not opened a case, he is forced to investigate on his own. Even his longtime colleague Lise Delorme can't help him - she's wrapped up in a nasty case of her own.

Cardinal enlists the help of Catherine's psychiatrist to help him figure out who is behind the notes. And as he investigates further, he uncovers an alarming rash of suicides in Algonquin Bay - far more than would seem natural for such a small city. Is it possible that they are, in fact, murders?

Review: John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, detectives working for the (fictional) Algonquin Bay police department, pursue separate investigations in By the Time You Read This, the fourth mystery in this series by Giles Blunt.

Cardinal's case is personal. His wife, Catherine, who has been treated for depression for years, is found dead one night at the base of an apartment building, apparently the result of a suicide. He refuses to believe she could have taken her own life, and though the department never opens a case of suspicious death, Cardinal undertakes a private investigation using police resources to determine the truth. Meanwhile, Delorme has been assigned a case of child pornography involving a young girl spanning several years. Evidence suggests Algonquin Bay as being the source of the pictures, but little more is known. Cardinal and Delorme eventually team up to track down the pornographer and in the process uncover the reality behind Catherine's suicide.

By the Time You Read This is an exceptionally well-written, deftly plotted novel, but should not be read as a mystery per se. It is, in many ways, a police procedural in which the reader is aware of facts not yet known to the investigators. Though the psychological and physical crimes are horrific, Blunt manages to derive much of the suspense in the story from how Cardinal and Delorme will piece together the puzzle. That their cases are linked is never in doubt (to the reader); how they are connected remains a mystery until the exciting conclusion.

Blunt's character development is so well done that it's difficult not to empathize with Cardinal's loss, feel his emptiness at home, experience the void in his life. And it's equally difficult not to share Delorme's disgust with her pornography case, her rage at the loss of a child's innocence, her determination to find the man responsible. That the reader is drawn so completely into the story and its characters is just one measure of how splendidly it is written.

By the Time You Read This is a superior novel of suspense and is highly recommended.

Special thanks to Henry Holt for providing an ARC of By the Time You Read This for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 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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Mystery Books: New Hardcover Titles for March 2007

New Mysteries for March 2007New hardcover mystery titles scheduled to be published in March 2007 are now available on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. Below are a few titles selected by us to highlight here. Prices are current as of the date of this post, but are subject to change.

Hades by Russell Andrews $16.49, the 3rd Justin Westwood thriller.

In Dublin's Fair City by Rhys Bowen $16.29, the 6th mystery in the Molly Murphy series.

Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs $16.29, the 8th entry in the Tea Shop mystery series with recipes and tea time tips.

Simmer Down by Jessica Conant-Park $15.61, the 2nd mystery in the Gourmet Girl series.

Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke $14.96, the 9th entry in the Hannah Swensen mystery series with recipes.

Deadly Retreat by Christine Green $22.00, the 10th mystery in the Kate Kinsella series.

On the Wrong Track by Steve Hockensmith $16.29, the 2nd entry in the Holmes on the Range mystery series.

A Crazy Little Thing Called Death by Nancy Martin $14.93, the 6th mystery in the Blackbird Sisters series.

Hog Wild by Cathy Pickens $16.29, the 3rd mystery for South Carolina lawyer Avery Andrews.

The Bad Quarto by Jill Paton Walsh $16.29, the 4th mystery in the Imogen Quy series set at Cambridge University.

Hunter's Moon by Randy Wayne White $16.47, the 14th mystery featuring Doc Ford.

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: LA Times Book Prize Finalists for Mystery Announced

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, to be given out at an Awards Ceremony held April 28-29, 2007, on the campus of UCLA, has announced the finalists for outstanding books published in 2006 in nine categories, including mystery/thriller.

For mystery/thriller, the nominees are:

Michael Connelly, Echo Park (Little, Brown)
Patrick Neate, City of Tiny Lights (Riverhead Books)
George Pelecanos, The Night Gardener (Little, Brown)
Jess Walter, The Zero (HarperCollins)
Don Winslow, The Winter of Frankie Machine (Alfred A. Knopf)

For previous winners, visit our Mystery Awards page.

Information about the awards ceremony and the Book Prize awards program is available at http://www.latimes.com/bookprizes.

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: Second L. A. Confidential Sequel to be Filmed?

File under Hollywood rumors ...

TMZ is reporting that a second sequel to L. A. Confidential may be in the works.

L. A. Confidential was based on the third book in the James Ellroy "L. A. Quartet" series of mysteries. A movie based on the fourth book, White Jazz, has already been announced with George Clooney starring.

This second sequel, L. A. Confidential II (for lack of a better name), would not be based on any Ellroy book, but would simply pick up where the original movie left off.

No deals have been made, but discussions are reportedly on-going.

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, March 02, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for March 02, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending March 02, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The Watchman by Robert CraisNew this week: The Watchman by Robert Crais debuts in the top spot at Amazon.com and in third place at Barnes&Noble.com. The Watchman is subtitled as a Joe Pike mystery, but readers of Crais' Elvis Cole series will immediately recognize the enigmatic character as Cole's partner. In The Watchman, Joe owes a man a favor, and the favor is to protect Larkin, a spoiled, self-centered, rich girl who happens to be a federal witness in a case the feds are putting together to bust a crime cartel linking organized mobsters and West Coast industrialists. And when Pike learns that the man he'll be working for is one of his oldest and most trusted friends - his former LAPD training officer, Bud Flynn - Pike signs on and commits himself to protecting the girl's life. But Pike and the girl immediately come under intense fire, and Pike realizes that someone is leaking information that could get them both killed. Turning to his friend Elvis Cole for help, Pike's investigation soon reveals a web of lies and deceptions, half-truths and betrayals, and the stunning revelation that even the cops are not who they seem. Publishers Weekly states, "The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general." Mysterious Reviews adds, "[An] outstanding example of a mystery thriller, and will certainly be remembered as one of the year's best novels." (Read the complete review at Review: The Watchman by Robert Crais.)

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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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Press Release: Case of Missing Cover Art Solved

NEW YORK, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Nancy Drew's latest mystery -- the case of the missing cover art -- has been solved! Seeking the return of original paintings used on the covers of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books first published in the 1960s, Penguin Group (USA) and the paintings' creator Rudy Nappi sued former Penguin employee Carl J. Ferrero in December. All of the paintings, as well as original drawings used to illustrate the books, have been returned.

"It was a misunderstanding," Ferrero said. "They were in a box of books given to me as a departure gift, when I left Penguin. I thought they were a gift. I'm just glad that I saved them and they are being returned to Rudy Nappi."

Nappi, the 84-year-old artist who created the paintings for all of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books published in the 1960s, said from his home in North Carolina, "I haven't seen my paintings since I created them 40 years ago. I never thought I would get them back. I am grateful to Carl for his cooperation and to Penguin for its assistance which made this possible."

Helene M. Freeman of Dorsey & Whitney LLP stated the suit against Ferrero will be withdrawn now that the paintings have been returned.

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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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

News: Magnum P. I. 6th Season Available on DVD

Mysteries on TVNew this week on DVD: Magnum P. I.: The Complete 6th Season, starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum.The Prestige on DVD Other cast members include John Hillerman as Jonathan Higgins, Roger E. Mosley as T. C. Calvin, and Larry Manetti as Rick Wright. The series ran for 8 seasons.

Magnum, a former Navy intelligence officer turned private investigator, resides on the estate of never seen Robin Masters on the north shore of Oahu (Hawaii) which was managed by Higgins. T. C. and Rick are Magnum's buddies from Vietnam who help him on his cases.

The 6th season of Magnum P. I. ran for 20 episodes during the 1985/1986 television season on CBS, and opened with a 2-part episode in which Magnum and Higgins travel to London to oversee the opening of Robin Masters' new castle. While there, Magnum investigates the suspicious death of an old friend from Vietnam. 5 discs are included with the DVD set.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more television mystery series currently available on DVD.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

News: Anna Paquin to Star as Sookie Stackhouse

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Anna Paquin, winner of the 1993 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Piano, has been signed to star in True Blood, a pilot for HBO, based on the Southern Vampire mystery series created by Charlaine Harris. Paquin will play the lead character, Sookie Stackhouse.

All Together Dead by Charlaine HarrisTrue Blood is being written by Alan Ball who will also direct and produce. Ball was most recently executive producer of the television series Six Feet Under, also on HBO. Ryan Kwanten and Sam Trammell have also been cast for the show.

The next book in the Southern Vampire series featuring Sookie Stackhouse, All Together Dead, is scheduled to be published in May, 2007.

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 Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Arsenic Labyrinthn by Martin Edwards

The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards
A Lake District Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-328-0 (1590583280)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-328-9 (9781590583289)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): After 10 years, Guy--a drifter with a taste for deception--has returned to Coniston in England's Lake District. A local journalist, Tony di Venuto, is campaigning to revive interest in the disappearance of Emma Bestwick, and Guy knows what happened to her.

When he tips off the newspaperman that Emma will not be coming home, DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria's Cold Case Review Team, re-opens the old investigation. Her enquiries take her to the Museum of Myth and Legend and to the remote and eerie Arsenic Labyrinth--a series of stone tunnels used to remove arsenic from tin ore.

Meanwhile, historian Daniel Kind is immersing himself in the work of John Ruskin, whose neighbors created the Arsenic Labyrinth. A shocking discovery makes it clear to Hannah that there is not one mystery to solve, but two, and she turns to Daniel for help in untangling the secrets of the past. As Hannah and Daniel struggle to resist a growing but dangerous attraction, Guy's plan to make a quick buck runs into trouble, and he has to resort to desperate measures. Someone is determined to kill to keep their secrets safe.

Review: Martin Edward's third mystery set in the Lake District of England, The Arsenic Labyrinth, is at its best in the beautiful descriptions of the region and for creating a moody atmosphere for the characters. The plot, however, is a bit convoluted and the overlapping storylines make it at times difficult to follow.

After reading an article about the 10-year anniversary of the disappearance of Emma Bestwick, Guy Koenig, a man who knows better than to divulge too many secrets, makes an anonymous call to the reporter who wrote the story, stating simply, "Emma Bestwick won't be coming back." This phone call sets into motion a series of events that includes reopening the case by Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett, who was originally assigned to investigate the missing girl. Independently, historian Daniel Kind is researching the life of John Ruskin, the influential 19th century author, poet, and artist who spent much of his later life in the Lake District. Daniel's reasearch and Hannah's investigation intersect at a series of tunnels beneath the landscape known locally as the Arsenic Labyrinth, culminating in the resolution to the mystery of a young woman's disappearance a decade ago.

Following an intriguing opening chapter, The Arsenic Labyrinth quickly loses its momentum as Edwards sets up the various subplots through alternating points of view. The most interesting of these is that of Guy Koenig, a petty criminal and con man, who plays a pivotal role in the investigation, and, as Hannah considers him, "never had an unselfish impulse in his life". Somewhat ironically, it isn't until after his murder about halfway through that the story regains the traction of its original premise. The startling conclusion, with its disclosure of Guy's true involvement in the disappearance of Emma Bestwick 10 years ago, more than compensates for a slow start to this reflective mystery.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of The Arsenic Labyrinth for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 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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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for February 26, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for February 26, 2007A 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 E H I K M N R T. She is the author of the horse racing mystery series featuring Steve Cline (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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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Snowman by Dave Saari

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

Snowman by Dave Saari
A Matt Davidson Mystery

Lulu.com (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4303-0563-0 (1430305630)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4303-0563-7 (9781430305637)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $17.46

Synopsis (from the publisher): Matt Davidson, an underachieving golf bum and a somewhat nerdy engineer, inadvertently witnesses a shocking scene while playing golf, which launches him on an adventure that proves to be an emotional roller coaster ride. Though unsure what to do or how to do it, he drops everything to help a stunningly beautiful woman he's never even met. His clumsy efforts soon entangle him in a web of sex, fraud, and abuse that could end up costing him his life.

Review: Dave Saari crafts a story around "an improbable series of eerie coincidences" in Snowman, a murder mystery featuring golfer and sometime businessman Matt Davidson.

The series of events begins on the golf course one afternoon when, while chasing after an errant shot that has landed in the yard of a private home, Matt beholds a most beautiful woman. Not just any woman, but an angel, a goddess, an enchantress. He becomes obsessed with this woman, and in an effort to meet her, to know her, and to be with her, he embarks on a journey of improbable coincidences that will not only jeopardize his career but also his life.

Many readers will likely roll their eyes and immediately identify Matt with Dudley Moore and the mysterious woman with Bo Derek and think Snowman is simply a knock-off of the movie "10". And to be fair, the first third of the book reads like the movie, substituting the beach and the Mexican Riviera for golf courses and Minnesota. Not exactly a captivating exchange.

But then the story gets interesting, and a plot develops that is far better than the opening chapters may initially suggest. An accidental death that may not be what it seems, a complicated property development deal, and connections to a Chicago organization, all make for a rather engrossing mystery. There are some thoughtful plot twists, and Matt's bravado towards the end is a refreshing extension of his character.

Saari writes in a perfunctory, mechanical style that is somewhat incompatible with the character relating his story. Setting the story in Minnesota with its perceived (and no doubt unwarranted) lack of comfort and warmth doesn't help. And the last couple of chapters are far too trite. But as a first effort, and especially as a self-published endeavor without professional assistance, Snowman is an admirable achievement.

Special thanks to Dave Saari for providing a copy of Snowman for this review. Click here to purchase Snowman directly from the author at a special discounted price.

Review Copyright © 2007 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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Friday, February 23, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for February 23, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending February 23, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Innocent in Death by J. D. RobbJust edging out Step on a Crack (James Patterson) for the top spot at Barnes&Noble.com is the latest from J. D. Robb in the "In Death" series, Innocent in Death, the 24th mystery featuring NYPD Lieutenant Eve Dallas. The book lands in second place at Amazon.com, though by a very slim margin. The death of a history teacher, whose packed lunch was tainted with deadly ricin, shocks his colleagues. But they have some shocking secrets of their own. It's Eve's job to get a feel for all the potential suspects, and find out why someone would have done this to a man who seemed so inoffensive, so pleasant, so innocent. When another man turns up dead, the case begins to take some strange turns and hitting some frustrating dead ends. Eve knows all too well that innocence can be a facade. Keeping that in mind may help her solve this case at last.

Other new entries on the Barnes&Noble.com list include Puss 'n Cahoots by Rita Mae Brown, the 14th mystery in the Mrs. Murphy series, and Death of a Maid by M. C. Beaton, the 23rd Hamish MacBeth mystery. Mysterious Reviews will have a review of Death of a Maid on its website next week.

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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