Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mysteries on TV: The Streets of San Francisco Season 1

Mysteries on TVNew television mystery series to be released this week on DVD:

The Streets of San Francisco, the first season (volume one), starring Karl Malden as Detective Lieutenant Mike Stone and Michael Douglas as his rookie partner Inspector Steve Keller.The Streets of San Francisco Season 1

Stone was the street-smart 20-year veteran cop while Keller was a college-educated rookie who solved crimes in . The appeal of the series was how well Malden and Douglas played their respective characters and the camaraderie they had as partners.

The 1st season ran for 26 episodes during the 1972/1973 television season on ABC. This DVD set includes the first 14 episodes on 4 disks.

A British crime drama is also being released today:

Murder in Suburbia, the second season, starring Caroline Catz as Detective Inspector Kate Ashurst and Lisa Faulkner as Detective Sergeant Emma Scribbins who have a unique blend of humor and an unorthodox style in solving crimes in the London suburb of Middleford.Murder in Suburbia Season 2

The 2nd season and final season ran for 6 episodes during the spring and summer of 2005 on the ITV1 network in the UK. This DVD set includes all 6 episodes on 2 disks.

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

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for April 09, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for April 09, 2007A new 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 E I L R S W Y. This author’s first mystery, Shadow of Innocence, introduces PI Michael Prescott (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!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Press Release: Sleuth Brings Viewers More Weekend Movies and More Series

Mysteries on TVBURBANK, Calif. - April 4, 2007 - This month, April showers Sleuth viewers with weekend movies and more of their favorite series. Audiences will be entertained with marathons and added episodes of some of their much-loved programs. Viewers can set a movie date with Sleuth on Fridays at 11pm and Saturdays at 8pm that will keep them looking for clues with five great selections.

"Sleuth is bringing viewers more of what they love the best mystery and crime movies and series," said Dan Harrison, Senior Vice President Emerging Networks, NBC Universal Cable. "With these new scheduling blocks, our audience will be able to catch their favorite Sleuth programming much more conveniently."

Look for new series blocks to include a Saturday morning stack of three new Simon & Simon episodes and a Sunday late-night stack of three Magnum, PI episodes. Also, a move on April 30 will land The Burning Zone in a new time period at 6pm (ET) replacing Medical Investigation five days a week, then spend the weekends with Homicide: Life on the Street at 11am and 6pm (ET) while weekend afternoons at 1pm (ET) belong to Miami Vice. Lastly, Conviction and Turks can be seen back-to-back all weekend with episode premieres on Thursdays at 11pm and 12am (ET).

Read the entire press release on NBCUniCable.com here. Visit the Sleuth channel website here.

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

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Mystery Bestsellers for April 06, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending April 06, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

White Night by Jim ButcherNew this week: White Night, the 9th hard-boiled mystery by featuring professional wizard Harry Dresden, debuts on the Barnes&Noble.com mystery hardcover bestseller list. Dresden is investigating a series of deaths in . Someone is killing practitioners of magic, those incapable of becoming full-fledged wizards. Shockingly, all the evidence points to Harry's half-brother, Thomas, as the murderer. Determined to clear his sibling's name, Harry uncovers a conspiracy within the White Council of Wizards that threatens not only him, but his nearest and dearest, too. Publishers Weekly calls White Night "superlative". [Mystery Books News Editor's note: The Dresden Files is now a series on the SciFi Channel. Visit the series homepage on SciFi.com here.]

The Naming of the Dead by Ian RankinAlso new on both lists this week: The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin. The leaders of the free world descend on Scotland for an international conference, and every cop in the country is needed for front-line duty...except one. John Rebus's reputation precedes him, and his bosses don't want him anywhere near Presidents Bush and Putin, which explains why he's manning an abandoned police station when a call comes in. During a preconference dinner at Edinburgh Castle, a delegate has fallen to his death. Accident, suicide, or something altogether more sinister? And is it linked to a grisly find close to the site of the gathering? Are the world's most powerful men at risk from a killer? While the government and secret services attempt to hush the whole thing up, Rebus knows he has only seventy-two hours to find the answers.

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

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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Thursday, April 05, 2007

News: Coben's Mysteries to be Advertised on ATM Machines

In the "For What It's Worth ..." category:

UK's Orion Books is taking a filmic approach as it becomes the first publisher to advertise a new book using the ATM:ad medium, which enables advertisers to run campaigns using ATM machines.

Orion will promote the UK paperback edition of Promise Me by on 28 London-based ATM machines where users will see a short film ad. The ads will run for 4 weeks and are expected to be seen 240,000 times, once for each transaction. The printed receipt will also have an ad for the book.

Julie MacBrayne, Marketing Executive at Orion Books, said: "We wanted to increase the profile of the marketing campaign, so we decided to use the film as a way of advertising on ATM cash machines. We are the first publisher to do this, and we believe ATM:ad is an incredibly exciting, new way of grabbing the attention of consumers whilst also capturing the imagination of retailers and the in-house sales force. "

View the 9 second ad on YouTube here. [Mystery Books Editor's Note: We haven't been able to find an "official" source of the ad, but we'll keep looking!]

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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News: Mystery Author Michael Dibdin Dies

The BBC is reporting that Michael Dibdin, a mystery author probably best known for his Italian detective Aurelio Zen, has died at the age of 60.

Dibdin's first published book, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, was an affectionate parody of the consulting detective which took the form of a confessional manuscript by Dr. Watson. His first Zen mystery, Ratking, was inspired by the 4 years he spent teaching English in Italy. It was a Gold Dagger award for crime fiction in 1988. The most recent entry in the series, End Games, will be published posthumously.

Dibdin was married to another mystery author, Katherine (K. K.) Beck, who he met at a writers' conference in Spain in 1993. They lived in Seattle.

He died on March 30th after a short illness.

Read the rest of the story on the BBC website here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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 Book Review: Death Pans Out by Ashna Graves

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

Death Pans Out by Ashna Graves
A Jeneva Leopold Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-373-6 (1590583736)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-373-9 (9781590583739)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): While recovering from a double mastectomy, journalist Jeneva Leopold seeks solitude and healing at her uncle's idle gold mine in the sagebrush desert of Eastern Oregon. Hiking the rocky ridges, swimming in the old mining pond, and ignoring the outside world save for occasional letters, Jeneva gains strength and a new will to live.

As her interest in life returns, so do Jeneva's journalistic habits. And though the locals are at first puzzled by all of her questions, she soon gets to know a young woman rancher, various miners, a quirky old artifact hunter, and an itinerant priest and medieval scholar. These people and other colorful locals give her the inside story on living in the harsh landscape of sagebrush and coyotes and revealing how the old west is changing under new economics and regulation.

But the Oregon desert is also a place of secrets. The more Jeneva talks with the locals, the more she wonders about her uncle's mysterious disappearance. Why did her uncle and her mother stop talking so many years ago? Does she know more than she is acknowledging? The murder of a young miner sends her on a quest for answers, leading her to an elderly woman artist living in a converted chicken house, a tongue-tied funeral home owner, and a swashbuckling sheriff with rule-bending tendencies.

The appalling business she uncovers shocks the region and nearly claims her life, but it also brings closure to an old family misunderstanding and the enigma of her uncle's fate.

Review: Death Pans Out, Ashna Graves' debut novel introducing journalist Jeneva "Neva" Leopold, is a quietly absorbing mystery that captures the remoteness of the high desert of Oregon in a way that complements the engaging characters and a decidedly chilling plot.

Following a double mastectomy and subsequent depression, Neva escapes to a mining cabin in eastern Oregon formerly inhabited by her uncle who disappeared 15 years ago. The remoteness of the region and minimal conveniences of modern living have a startling effect on Neva: she rapidly recovers from her depression and her long walks around the area have rejuvenated her body.

Meeting up with some of the local residents and discussing their lives stirs up her journalistic instincts. She begins by investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her uncle. How could someone who knew the area well have so completely vanished? The recent murder of a young miner and another gone missing don't seem related to her in any way; men had always killed for gold, she says. Yet the mysterious appearances in the middle of the night of a truck rumbling along the old mining roads are hardly coincidental and suggest there may be something more sinister happening than anyone is aware of.

The mystery is terrific and the characters are colorful and well drawn. But the real appeal of Death Pans Out is in the way Graves captures the imagination of the reader with her descriptions of the region and Neva's exploration of it. There isn't a log of dialog; Neva spends most of her time alone. But she is hardly lonely. Her joy at discovering her new environment and her recovery in it is expressed as inspired and eloquent narrative. Following the resolution of the mystery, the conclusion is both poignant and appropriate.

As a stand-alone effort, Death Pans Out is wonderfully complete. However, it would be even better if Graves brings the captivating Neva back for a subsequent mystery.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Death Pans Out for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which 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: Bones to Integrate Viewers in a Murder Mystery

Five-Week Campaign Kicks Off Wednesday, April 4, on Fox.com and MySpace. Viewers Have Chance to Follow Clues to Decipher Who Victim Will Be And Who Committed Fictional Murder.

In an unique integration, the FOX series Bones, in conjunction with Fox.com, has created a comprehensive online world that will parallel the characters and storyline of the upcoming episode "The Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House" airing Wednesday, May 9 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Eighteen MySpace (http://www.myspace.com) profiles have been created to mirror the characters in the episode, and the MySpace pages will be live and accessible through Fox.com (http://www.fox.com and http://www.fox.com/bones) beginning Wednesday, April 4 at noon PT. Additional promotional content related to the character profiles and episode storyline will be available on Fox.com.

In the episode, written by Bones executive producer Stephen Nathan and directed by Caleb Deschanel, Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) are called in by Homeland Security to investigate potentially radioactive remains, which are emitting a green glow at the crime scene. Brennan's team at the Jeffersonian joins her and Booth in pursuing the murder mystery, which leads them to a group of friends who are shocked to discover that one of their own is the victim. During the course of the investigation, the characters' MySpace pages become a virtual tool for the Jeffersonian team's search for answers.

In-depth MySpace pages on characters will include personal blogs referencing the episode's storyline, as well as photos and videos that reveal details about the characters' relationships and insights into their personalities. These profiles will enable viewers to immerse themselves in the characters' world and gather clues as to the identities of both the fictional victim and the murderer.

Personal blog postings and ancillary pages will be updated in real time, multiple times per week, throughout the campaign leading up to the episode enabling viewers to gather new information, clues and hints on a regular basis. Each profile cross-references the others, creating a parallel online version of the episode's storyline, with characters commenting on each other's pages, blogs, images and videos.

Bones is from Josephson Entertainment and Far Field Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Barry Josephson, Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan are executive producers.

[Mystery Books News Editor's note: Bones is based on characters created by forensic anthropologist and mystery author Kathy Reichs. The 1st season of Bones has been released on DVD and is available from the website.]

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

News: Clues to Writing a Mystery

, in a new column in The Providence Journal, writes about writing. Mystery writing to be specific. Writing is not alchemy, he says; it’s more like carpentry. He’ll try to demystify the process by speaking regularly to the best writers in the mystery field to get their tips on storytelling, creating compelling characters, spinning a narrative, and breaking into the business of mystery fiction.

It all starts with an idea, and Arsenault consults with one of the best and most prolific in the business: . Tapply says he starts with a subject, for example, blackmail. His first task: identify the villain and the victim. Who blackmails whom? Tapply will brainstorm, playing the game: What if? “What if this is 20 years later and it’s her son who found out about it?” he says. “I play out this whole scenario until I have all the details of what happened.”

Tapply calls this the "first story", what happens before the detective gets involved. He then writes a detailed summary that contains clues. “There comes a point for me when a kind of critical mass arrives and I find it’s time to start writing the novel," Tapply says. "Then it’s still a process of discovery because lots of things I thought would happen don’t, and things I never imagined do. But that underlying story remains the same. Sometimes I end up with a different villain. But that process of figuring out what happened — once I got it, I feel confident I can write the story. I have a road map and I don’t feel I’m going to get stuck in the middle.”

Read the rest of the article on ProJo.com here. And we look forward to the next entry in what promises to be a very enlightening newspaper column.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Press Release: Two New Nancy Drew PC Games for 2007

Games of MysteryBELLEVUE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world-famous teen super sleuth, Nancy Drew, is back to unravel mysteries in two new PC game adventures this year as Her Interactive today announced Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek and Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull. Her Interactive, a pioneer in the female gaming experience, has sold over four million Nancy Drew games to date, making it the number one PC adventure game series in total units sold in the U.S.

“A newly contemporized Nancy Drew and the values she represents – smarts, confidence, independence – are once again relevant with today’s girls and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity,” said Megan Gaiser, president and CEO of Her Interactive. “With a new Nancy Drew film due this summer creating greater awareness, this year promises a great opportunity to expand our leadership position in the girl software category through a variety of strategic partnerships, digital distribution and the expansion of our product line to include a DVD game.”

Available in June, Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek finds Nancy undercover at the Icicle Creek Lodge in the Canadian Rockies. She is there to investigate strange accidents and a mysterious wolf which appears before each incident. When Nancy arrives, there is an explosion and a bunkhouse is destroyed. She will soon discover a dangerous plot afoot that could have international repercussions.

In October, Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull has the teen detective and her best friend Bess flying to for spring break. Nancy plans to visit Henry Bolet Jr., a friend of Ned Nickerson. Henry’s grandfather is recently deceased and Henry is in New Orleans to wrap up his affairs. As Nancy’s adventure unfolds, family secrets are revealed and questions abound.

Rated “E” for Everyone, both titles will be available for purchase at retailers nationwide, as well as from the Her Interactive website for a suggested retail price of $19.99. More information about Her Interactive and the company’s entire line of exciting Nancy Drew games can be found online at www.HerInteractive.com.

Please visit the Games of Mystery website to see a list of all . Our website also features information on of all kinds as well as , , and more!

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Mysteries on TV: Law & Order Season 5

Mysteries on TVNew television mystery series to be released this week on DVD:

Law & Order, the complete fifth season, starring Sam Waterston as Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy and Jerry Orbach as Detective Lennie Briscoe.Law & Order Season 5 This season also marked the departure of Chris Noth as Detective Mike Logan.

Law & Order began its 17th season in the fall of 2006 making it the longest running crime series and the second longest running drama series in the history of broadcast television. (Gunsmoke ran for 20 years.)

Each episode follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points. The first half of the show concentrates on the investigation of the crime by the police, the second half follows the prosecution of the crime in court.

The 5th season ran for 23 episodes during the 1994/1995 television season on NBC. 5 discs are included with the DVD set.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Murder... Suicide... Whatever... by Gwen Freeman

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

Murder... Suicide... Whatever... by Gwen Freeman
A Fifi Cutter Mystery

Capital Crime Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9776276-1-6 (0977627616)
ISBN-13: 978-9776276-1-5 (9780977627615)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When Bosco, my freeloading brother--make that half brother--showed up on my front porch, I should have followed my first instinct and slammed the door. But he said Uncle Ted had been murdered and there might be money in it for us. Truthfully? I didn't even know we had an Uncle Ted.

"Uncle" Ted Herrernan, insurance borker to the stars (porn stars, that is) meets his end in a locked office on the fifteen th floor of a Century City high rise. Plenty of people have lots of good reasons to do away with the cheating, stealing, lying sleazeball. It's up to Fifi Cutter, an unemployed, biracial twenty-something, and her brother Bosco, to find out what happened ... and why. Pretending to be private investigators who are pretending to be grief counselors, they stumble over bodies, misconstrue motives, and completely screw up--until it's almost too late.

Review: Gwen Freeman introduces chronically underemployed Fifi Cutter in Murder... Suicide... Whatever..., a half-hearted attempt at a chick-lit mystery that fails miserably.

Fifi Cutter, a freelance insurance claims investigator who works whenever she can get an assignment, is desperate for money to pay the taxes on the house she inherited from her father. Before he died, her mother took everything else leaving the house an empty shell. It's important to her to keep the house, so when Fifi's half-brother Bosco arrives unexpectedly, she agrees to let him stay despite her reservations. He has a plan to raise some cash by investigating the suspicious death (murder? suicide?) of Ted Heffernan, a friend of the family and "uncle" to Bosco, and senior executive of an insurance brokerage. Ted's partner in the company is convinced it was murder, but he has a vested interest in the outcome: a corporate insurance policy on Ted the proceeds of which would pay off the judgment against the firm as a result of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a receptionist. Fifi and Bosco are hired to look into Ted's death and as they continue their investigation, more mayhem and murders follow. It's all a bit of a mess in the end.

Locked room mysteries can be intriguing, and Freeman has created a credible variation that works within the context of the plot. The problems in Murder... Suicide... Whatever... are with her characters, narrative, and execution. The author struggles to extract humor out of extended broken families, race relations, and corporate malfeasance, and misses the mark entirely on all three. Freeman tries to portray Fifi as a brash, brassy independent woman, but instead she comes off as selfish, condescending, and more often than not, just plain mean.

In mysteries of this genre, there's often a fine line between the reasonable and the ridiculous. Unfortunately, Murder... Suicide... Whatever... falls into the latter category.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing an ARC of Murder... Suicide... Whatever... for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which 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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News: Queen of Suspense Publishes Children's Mystery

With more than 85 millions copies of her books in print, Mary Higgins Clark, known in the publishing world as the Queen of Suspense, is venturing into new literary territory: she's published a children's mystery.

Ghost Ship by Mary Higgins ClarkGhost Ship is the story of two boys separated by centuries of sailing history. One afternoon after a night of terrible thunderstorms, Thomas, who is visiting his grandmother on Cape Cod, finds a weathered, old-fashioned belt buckle. When he picks it up, a boy his own age, Silas Rich, who was a cabin boy on a ship called the Monomoy that sailed almost 250 years ago, appears. Suddenly the world of sailing ships is very near as Silas tells his tale.

"I am so pleased to have written my first children's book and to have my dear friend Wendell Minor illustrate it," Clark says. "I thought it would be a daunting project, but with six grandchildren and eleven step-grandchildren, I've been telling stories to children for a long time."

Clark, a resident of Cape Cod for over 30 years, drew upon her knowledge of the area in writing the book. "I've always loved the background and myths and legends. It was easy to create a story, putting together some of the things that happened in the Cape," she says.

Clark and Minor are working on a second children's picture book, this time about George Washington.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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Monday, April 02, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for April 02, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for April 02, 2007A new 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 E I L M N O S. She is the author of the cat mysteries featuring journalist Theda Krakow (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!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Profile: A Literary United Nations in New Jersey

Virginia Rohan, writing for the North Jersey Media Group, recently interviewed , whose latest book, The Woods, is already a bestseller and it hasn't even been released. The New Jersey native's book hits the bookstores in mid-April.

The Woods by Harlan CobenIf the literary world had its own little United Nations, Rohan notes, the headquarters could be the wood-paneled library of Coben's home. There, on the floor between the bookshelves and the pool table, his international bestsellers peacefully coexist in one big heap.

"We're up to 37 languages now," the 6-foot-4 novelist says of the ever-growing number of translations of his thrillers.

She adds that the self-deprecating Coben claims to have "the attention span of a gnat," which he says helps in his writing. "If I'm bored, I'm thinking the reader's bored. I'm constantly trying to make sure that I'm engaging the reader at every level," says the author, who is known for his twists, turns and surprises.

Coben, 45, who was born in Newark and raised in Livingston, came to mystery writing relatively late, he says. His first book, which kicked off a mystery series about a sports agent named Myron Bolitar, came out in 1995. Coben worked as a writer in the travel industry until he was successful enough as a published author to quit.

Coben is already at work on his next novel, to be published in mid-April 2008. "I should be a lot farther along than I am," he says. "I'm only on about page 15 or 20, but I have the idea down."

Read the entire profile on NorthJersey.com here.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are 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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