Monday, April 30, 2007

Press Release: South Beach Shakedown Named Finalist in Benjamin Franklin Awards

Ipswich, MA (PRWEB) April 26, 2007 -- South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns has been named one of three finalists in the mystery/suspense category of the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Awards ™ competition.South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

Named in honor of America's most cherished publisher/printer, the Benjamin Franklin Awards™ recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Publications, grouped by genre, are judged on editorial and design merit by top practitioners in each field. This year's awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2007, at the Park Central in New York at 870 Seventh Avenue at 56th Street.

Published by Oceanview Publishing, is the third release in Bruns' music murder mystery series featuring rock and roll journalist Mick Sever. Heralded by BookPage magazine as what "may be this season's quintessential suspense read," South Beach Shakedown won top honors in the mystery/suspense category of the "Best Books 2006" awards, sponsored by USA Book News, and was named a finalist in the mystery/suspense category of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

is a musician, advertising executive and award-winning novelist who divides his time between Ohio and Florida. His next book, Stuff to Die For will be released by Oceanview on September 1, 2007.

For more information, read the entire press release here.

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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for April 30, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for April 30, 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: B D I L N O P S T. FBI Agent Bernadette Saint Clare is introduced in this mystery by Terri Persons (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 29, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Secret Sins by Kate Charles

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

Secret Sins by
A Callie Anson Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-356-6 (1590583566)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-356-2 (9781590583562)
Publication Date: March 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Life may not be getting any easier for curate Callie Anson, but it is definitely getting more interesting. Her relationship with policeman Marco Lombardi grows ever warmer, even though he seems to be keeping her away from his close Italian family. Then her own brother Peter, beloved and engaging as he is, gets a bit too close for comfort when he moves in with Callie.

Professionally, things are challenging as well. Callie has become involved with the problems of a new parishioner. Morag Hamilton is worried about her granddaughter Alex--a lonely and isolated twelve-year-old with a work-obsessed father and a self-absorbed step-mother. If Morag knew how much time Alex spends on the internet, she would have even more cause for worry.

Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Neville Stewart tries to put his personal problems on hold as he deals with Rachel Norton, a pregnant young woman with a missing husband. With the birth of their first baby only a few days away, why would Trevor Norton go out jogging and not return?

Trevor's disappearance may not be what it seems. Just when Neville thinks he's solved it, someone else goes missing: young Alex Hamilton.

Review: Kate Charles' second entry in the Reverend Callie Anson series, Secret Sins, is a series of interrelated vignettes that when viewed as a whole make for an intriguing novel but which barely qualify to be characterized as a mystery.

The primary plot thread and the only one that has a logical beginning and ending is also the most interesting. Alex Hamilton is the young daughter of a successful businessman who attends an exclusive school where she doesn't fit in. She has an antagonistic relationship with her stepmother and though her treasured grandmother lives only a short distance away, Alex isn't allowed to visit with her. She has only a locket by which to remember her mother who is locked away in a hospital in Scotland. When her situation at home becomes intolerable, she leaves on a treacherous trek to find her mother. Callie Anson, the local parish curate who has befriended Alex's grandmother Morag, unwittingly participates in the investigation of Alex's disappearance when she accompanies Morag on a trip to Scotland.

The mystery of Secret Sins is in one of the secondary subplots. A father-to-be is killed one morning while jogging by person or persons unknown. The only item missing is his iPod which the police rapidly conclude the theft of which was the reason he was killed. Astute readers will just as rapidly come to a different, more probable, and in the end correct, conclusion. Callie isn't involved in this subplot which itself seems to have been added for the sole purpose of including a dead body into the book.

The various other plot threads (Callie's relationship with her family, her potential romantic relationship with policeman Marco Lombardi, her relationship with the members of her church and their families, and two or three more) all serve to round out the principal character, but do little else in and of themselves.

Secret Sins is an interesting, well written book populated by appealing, complex characters, but don't expect a whodunit, howdunit, or whydunit—it's none of these.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Secret Sins for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 - Hidden Staircase Mystery Books - All Rights Reserved.

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News: LA Times Names Book Prize Winners for 2006

The Los Angeles Times recognized the most accomplished authors of 2006 at its 27th Annual Book Prizes ceremony last night. Established in 1980, the Book Prizes span a wide variety of literary genres, including mystery.

The winner in the mystery/thriller category: Echo Park by Michael Connelly (Little Brown).

The other authors and their books nominated in this category were Patrick Neate for City of Tiny Lights (Riverhead Books), George Pelecanos for The Night Gardener (Little, Brown), Jess Walter for The Zero (HarperCollins), and Don Winslow for The Winter of Frankie Machine (Alfred A. Knopf).

For a complete list of the categories, nominees, and winners, read the press release here. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

News: Video Preview of Upcoming Nancy Drew Game

Games of MysteryA video preview of the upcoming Nancy Drew PC game, Legend of the Crystal Skull, has been released by the publisher, Her Interactive. See the video on the GameVideos.com website here.

In Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull, currently scheduled for release in October 2007, Nancy is off to with her friend Bess for a vacation. But where Nancy goes, mystery is sure to follow, and sure enough, Nancy finds a new adventure when she meets a friend of Ned Nickerson, Henry Bolet Jr. 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. Bruno possessed a powerful crystal skull that was said to protect its owner against death by any natural causes. And so it's up to Nancy and Bess to figure out whether Bruno was murdered.

Available in June 2007, 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.

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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Friday, April 27, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for April 27, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending April 27, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Simple Genius by David BaldacciNew this week and at the top of both Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com mystery bestselling lists: Simple Genius by David Baldacci. Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are back and struggling in their lives. Dogged by personal demons, Maxwell is agrees to treatment in a psychiatric institution, after barely surviving a violent barroom brawl. And King, to right their partnership, accepts an offer to investigate a murder in a scientific think tank named Babbage Town. Feeling cured, Michelle joins him on the case, and they penetrate this secret enclave of geniuses working to surpass the capabilities of the most sophisticated microprocessor in the world. Suddenly, the pair find themselves in a race against time to expose those who would tip the entire global power structure...and destroy what's left of their lives.

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

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News: Edgar Award Winners Announced

The Edgar Award winners were announced last night at a banquet at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The Edgars are awarded annually by the Mystery Writers of America to authors of distinguished work in various categories of the mystery genre.

The winners included:

Best Novel: The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin;

Best First Novel: The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson;

Best Paperback Original: Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara;

Grand Master: Stephen King.

For a complete list of the categories, nominees, and winners, visit The Edgars website here. Congratulations to all the winners!

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 25, 2007

Press Release: First Crime Novel Competition Announced

NEW YORK, April 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Daniel J. Hale, Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), and Andrew Martin, Vice President and Publisher of St. Martin's Minotaur, today announced the first annual St. Martin's Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition.

This contest provides a previously unpublished writer an opportunity to launch his or her career with a major mystery imprint, St. Martin's Minotaur. The winner will receive a one-book, $10,000 contract.

The competition will be officially announced during MWA's April 2007 Edgar® Award festivities by Mr. Martin. Entries will be accepted immediately through December 15, 2007. The winner will be recognized at the 2008 Edgar Awards banquet, and his or her novel published in 2009.

The competition is open to any writer who has never been the author of a published novel. Details, rules and specific guidelines on eligibility, as well as entry forms, are available at the St. Martin's Minotaur website: http://www.minotaurbooks.com.

Read the entire press release here.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

News: Financial Thriller Author Paul Erdman Dies

Paul Erdman, a world-class economist and a pioneer in the development of financial thrillers, has died. He was 74.

His first book, The Billion Dollar Sure Thing, won an Edgar Award in 1974. He went on to write several more novels. His second book, The Silver Bears, published in 1974, was turned into a comic crime movie starring Michael Caine and Cybill Shepherd. The publication of his novel The Swiss Account in 1992 is often cited as influential in renewing international interest on the conduct of Swiss banks during the Nazi regime in Germany.

Mr. Erdman is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two granddaughters.

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: Rankin to Write a Libretto for Scottish Composer

It's always fascinating to learn something new about a mystery author. The Playbill Arts website is reporting that Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus mysteries, has agreed to write a libretto for a new opera by composer Craig Armstrong.

Rankin, who is about to publish his final novel about Inspector Rebus, is reportedly not giving any hints as to what his composition will be about.

The librettos and scores must be completed by November, and the 15-minute works will be performed in Edinburgh and Glasgow in February 2008. At least one librettist and composer will be invited to extend their work into a full three-hour production.

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 23, 2007

News: Walter Mosley Says You Can be a Writer

Andrea Hoag, special to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, writes that mystery novelist says you, too, can be a writer. He has recently published a book, This Year You Write Your Novel This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley in which he offers up no-nonsense advice that is sure to set beginning writers along the righteous path to real authorhood.

When Mosley first decided to write a sort of everyman's writing manual, he said, "My problem was this: I've seen a lot of books on writing ... and I really do like to hear examples of great writing, but I think it's the biggest mistake in the world to use great writing as the tool for the beginning writer."

Mosley adds, "The other thing is, I've read a lot of books about writing that are like 300 pages long. It was very important to me that mine be 100 pages or less.

According to Mosley, "I'm not trying to say that anyone can be a great novelist ... and you shouldn't want to write a novel just because you want to be a Tolstoy. The truth is, we all have talent. Some have more than others and some are better than others."

Read the rest of Hoag's article on SeattlePI.com here.

[Mystery Books News Editor's note: Visit for more articles, books, and general information on how to write and, optionally, self publish your mystery book.]

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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Mysteries on TV: Columbo, Ironside, Kidnapped, and NCIS

Mysteries on TVIt's a very mysterious week with 4 television series coming out on DVD:

Columbo, The Movie Collection, 1989Columbo, The Mystery Movie Collection, 1989, contains five made-for-television movies that were shown in 1989 over a decade after Columbo the series ended its run. Peter Falk returned to play the Los Angeles police detective.

The movies on this 3 disk set are: Columbo Goes to the Guillotine featuring Anthony Andrews; Murder, Smoke, and Shadows with Fisher Stevens; Sex and the Married Detective starring Lindsay Crouse; Grand Deceptions featuring Robert Foxworth; and Murder, a Self Portrait with Patrick Bauchau.

Ironside, Season 1Ironside, Season 1, starred Raymond Burr as the San Francisco Chief of Detectives who survives an assassination attempt but is left paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. Hired by the department as a special consultant, he and his team investigate crimes in association with the authorities.

Raymond Burr took on the role of Ironside just one year after Perry Mason ended its long television run.

The 1st season ran for 28 episodes during the 1967/1968 television season on NBC. The 8 disk DVD set also includes the pilot which aired in 1966.

Kidnapped, The Complete SeriesKidnapped, The Complete Series, starred Timothy Hutton and Dana Delaney as a wealthy and powerful New York couple whose teenage son has been kidnapped. The couple hire a former FBI agent turned "retrieval specialist" to work outside the law while keeping the family's secrets behind closed doors.

Kidnapped aired on NBC in September and October 2006 and was cancelled after just 5 episodes, the remaining being available at the time on the NBC.com website. All 13 episodes are included on this 3 disk DVD set and are shown in widescreen presentations.

[Mystery Books News Editor's comment: Somehow we missed this series when it came out last year, but we've already ordered our copy! It sounds like our kind of television.]

NCIS, Season 3NCIS, Season 3, starred Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents travel the globe to investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties. The season begins following the devastating loss of one of their special agents to a terrorist at the close of season 2. Further complicating matters for Gibbs is his former lover who is the new director of NCIS.

The 3rd season ran for 24 episodes during the 2005/2006 television season on CBS. The 6 disk DVD set includes all episodes presented in wide screen format.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Napoleons Pyramids by William Dietrich

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich

Napoleon's Pyramids by
An Ethan Gage Mystery

HarperCollins (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-084832-4 (0060848324)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-084832-3 (9780060848323)
Publication Date: February 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ethan Gage, assistant to Ben Franklin and expatriate American in post-revolutionary France, wins an ancient—and possibly cursed—medallion in a card game one night. It turns out that the medallion, covered in seemingly indecipherable symbols, may be linked to a Masonic mystery. That same night, however, Ethan is framed for a prostitute's murder and barely escapes France with his life.

Faced with either prison or death, Gage is offered a third choice: to accompany the new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, as France sails to conquer Egypt—with Lord Nelson's fleet following close behind. Once Gage arrives, he encounters incredible surprises: one in the form of a beautiful Macedonian slave and another in the dawning knowledge that the medallion may solve one of the greatest riddles of history—who built the Great Pyramids, and why. What is revealed to Gage is more shocking than anyone could ever have imagined.

Review: William Dietrich has blended the characters of the Indiana Jones and Rick O'Connell (of the Mummy movies) into the energetic and resourceful Ethan Gage, an American living in late 18th century France, and inserted him into a magnificent adventure, Napoleon's Pyramids.

Ethan is probably best described as an intellectual neer-do-well, someone undoubtedly capable of greater things but willing to whatever is needed just to get by. An associate of Ben Franklin, he parlays his knowledge of the new science of electricity into a trip to Egypt as one of many savants in the company of France's new emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. Unable to invade England, Napoleon creates a new mission to expand the empire of France: the "liberation" (read conquest) of Egypt. An incidental objective, and the reason for his entourage of scientists and engineers, is to solve the mythical secrets of the Great Pyramid. An ancient Egyptian medallion, which Ethan won in a card game in Paris, may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the Pharaohs.

It's tempting to think of Napoleon's Pyramids as simply being a literary version of Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Mummy, but it is much more reminiscent of the imaginative tales of Jules Verne. As with Verne's novels, there's something about Ethan's journey that is so fantastic and so incredible that the reader is able to readily dismiss notions of the utter implausibility of some of the action and simply share in the adventure as presented. It certainly helps that Dietrich has effortlessly incorporated real historical events, mathematical conundrums, and the general wonder of the pyramids and the region into his story.

While Napoleon's Pyramids is not the perfect historical adventure story—a plethora of details often interrupt the otherwise non-stop action—it is certainly a thrill ride worth experiencing.

It should be noted that the rather abrupt ending to the book is somewhat intentional: the author has already announced that a sequel is in development based on Napoleon's invasion of the Holy Land.

Special thanks to The Book Report Network for a copy of Napoleon's Pyramids for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 - Hidden Staircase Mystery Books - All Rights Reserved.

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Profile: People Expect P D James to be Sinister

The Cambridge Evening News is reporting that celebrated author says that people expect her to be sinister. "People sometimes smile and say: 'How can a benign looking great-grandmother write such terrible things?'" she laughs.

The 87-year-old writer published her first novel, Cover Her Face, in 1962, when she introduced the poet detective Adam Dalgliesh to the world. Since then she has written 16 novels featuring Dalgliesh, as well as a series featuring her female sleuth Cordelia Gray. Both of these characters have been portrayed on film with Roy Marsden and Martin Shaw playing Dalgliesh at different times, and Helen Baxendale starring as Cordelia Gray. She has also written two non-series novels, one of which, The Children of Men, was made into a critically acclaimed movie in 2006 and was recently released on DVD.

When asked if The Lighthouse, published in 2005, was the last book to feature Dalgliesh, James replied, "It won't be his last because I am currently writing another. When you're 87 you're never quite sure how much time you have left and I suppose I thought there may not be another one. It's very lucky for him - he doesn't age, but I do."

James also comments on today's mystery authors. "Certainly there's very little in common between the modern detective story and the ones written by Agatha Christie's generation between the wars - the so-called 'golden age'. Nowadays we're much more realistic about crime; we know more about scientific investigation and things like DNA testing have changed everything. In the old days it was much more naive and simplistic."

Read the rest of the profile of P. D. James on Cambridge-News.co.uk here.

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Profile: Randy Wayne White Talks about Doc Ford

Chris Kridler, writing for Florida Today, recently profiled , the Pine Island resident who has written 14 books in the Doc Ford series. His most recent book, Hunter's MoonHunters Moon by Randy Wayne White, was published last month.

White says that his characters still surprise him. "The characters do indeed evolve," he said. "When I began the Doc Ford series, I wrote a detailed bio for the main characters." Doc Ford is a marine biologist and ex-government agent, the intellectual; Tomlinson is his spiritual buddy. "I knew from the beginning they were involved in a sort of death dance, because I think those two cerebral components in me are often at odds."

When asked about his latest book, Hunter's Moon, White says, "It's my favorite thriller of the series by far, but not all the Ford books are thrillers. Some are mysteries, and some are thrillers, and some are, I don't know what they heck they are."

Read the rest of Kridler's profile of Randy Wayne White on FloridaToday.com here.

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