Monday, October 15, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for October 15, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for October 15, 2007A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now 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 F I K R U T. This “nutty” baked good is featured in a Bed-and-Breakfast title by (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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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Compendium of Mystery News 071015

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

Andy Klein interviews Michael Caine for Los Angeles CityBeat. Caine's latest movie, Sleuth, opened this past weekend.

• Early reviews from last Friday's premiere of Women's Murder Club on ABC: "Pleasant surprise" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), "Dumbed down and cheap-looking" (Chicago Sun-Times), "An embarrassing mess" (New York Post), "It is all kinds of bad" (San Francisco Chronicle), "There's a great show in there somewhere" (Newsday), "Isn't really a terrible show" (Chicago Tribune), "Based on the James Patterson mystery series but is better-written" (Columbus Dispatch), "Flat crime show" (Boston Globe), "The show's glossily generic [but] the attractive cast clicks" (Detroit Free Press), "Smart, entertaining" (Hollywood Reporter), "The crimes don't play on this chick fest" (Washington Post), "Smart, stylish crime drama" (Los Angeles Times), and dozens more.

Simon & Schuster acquires the US rights to British author and journalist Tarquin Hall's mystery series set in New Dehli. The first book, Vish Puri: The Case of the Missing Servant, is scheduled to be published in Spring 2009.

• Boston Globe reporter Johnny Diaz profiles TV veteran investigative reporter and mystery writer , whose latest mystery, Face Time, was published this month. (MBN note: has a review of Ryan's first mystery, , and will publish a review of Face Time later this month.)

Albert Jack presents his list of the world's ten best mysteries (not mystery books) in the Times Online.

David Suchet has been signed to reprise his role as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in four new films for ITV1. The first, Mrs. McGinty's Dead, begins production this fall.

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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Friday, October 12, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for October 12, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending October 12, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

by , a mystery featuring Virgil Flowers, a character introduced in Sandford's Davenport series, takes over the top spot on the list this week.

Blonde Faith by Walter MosleyNew this week: , the 10th mystery in the Easy Rawlins series by . Easy comes home one day to find Easter, the daughter of his friend Chrismas Black, left on his doorstep. Easy knows that this could only mean that the ex-marine Black is probably dead, or will be soon. Easter's appearance is only the beginning, as Easy is immersed in a sea of problems. The love of his life is marrying another man and his friend Mouse is wanted for the murder of a father of 12. As he's searching for a clue to Christmas Black's whereabouts, two suspicious MPs hire him to find his friend Black on behalf of the U.S. Army. Easy's investigation brings him to Faith Laneer, a blonde woman with a dark past. As Easy begins to put the pieces together, he realizes that Black's disappearance has its roots in Vietnam, and that Faith might be in a world of danger.

For those readers who think that one Stephanie Plum mystery a year isn't enough, yet another "between the numbers" book is coming out in January and is destined to be a bestseller for the prolific author. Titled Plum Lucky, it is available for pre-order.

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, October 11, 2007

Mystery Book Review: In Over My Head by Diane Marquette

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of In Over My Head by Diane Marquette. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.In Over My Head by Diane Marquette

In Over My Head by
A Chesapeake Conference Center Mystery

Cambridge Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-59431-468-3 (1594314683)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59431-468-1 (9781864314681)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $16.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Jill McCormick works as the night security guard at an exclusive, high-level conference center on 's Chesapeake Bay. She considers her job a stepping stone to something better in her pursuit of a career in law enforcement, and recognizes that a stint at the prestigious Chesapeake Conference Center will look impressive on her resume.

But the tranquil waters turn choppy when the drowning of a prominent guest begins to look more like murder, and the evidence mounts against Jill's boss, the self-centered and unpopular general manager of the center. When the local sheriff seems content to look the other way rather than suspect his good friend the manager, Jill enlists the help of her deputy lover, Mitch Garrett, to conduct an investigation of their own, even though it may implicate both their bosses in the murder.

Review: Diane Marquette's debut novel, In Over My Head, featuring security guard Jill McCormick, might have worked better as a mystery if only it were a mystery. Inexplicably, Marquette pens a three paragraph prologue that not only reveals (for all practical purposes) who the killer is, but the motive for the murder as well. For someone interested in a whodunit, there's almost no point in reading any further.

A medical conference is taking place at the Chesapeake Conference Center organized by Dr. Roger Henderson, a cardiologist from . The morning after everyone attending the conference arrives, Dr. Henderson is found dead in the swimming pool. Jill McCormick, a security guard at the conference center, is just getting off the night shift and helps recover the body. She participates in the subsequent investigation which determines (no surprise here) the death is not accidental, and is instrumental in solving the crime by identifying the killer.

Setting aside the whodunit aspect for a moment, In Over My Head suffers from not knowing what kind of mystery it wants to be. At times it tries to be a cozy. There is the requisite cat, Gunther, which has a higher character profile than the victim or any of the suspects. Or is it a police procedural, where the discovery of clues and piecing together the evidence inexorably leads to the apprehensive of the killer? Maybe romantic suspense, where the focus is less on the crime than on the relationship between Jill and Deputy Mitch Garrett? It's all this and more, including the increasingly tired plot device of a woman professional having to work twice as hard as a man in order to get the recognition she deserves.

This disarray is all the more unfortunate because Marquette seems to be a competent writer. The narrative is relatively crisp and the dialog natural. Character development is a bit weak as is setting and locale, but in a series these can advanced over time. However, if she's going for a whodunit-style mystery, at the very least there has to be some suspense, some unknown factor that compels the reader to turn the page and find out what happens next. In Over My Head has none of that.

Special thanks to Diane Marquette for providing a copy of In Over My Head for this review.

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

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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Compendium of Mystery News 071011

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

talks about marketing and book trailers which "can be a seductive escort, leading you to the gripping story within the book's pages." See a related article on the production of a book trailer.

says "Not So Fast, Philly" in a CityPaper.net column on 's claim to Edgar Allan Poe.

• In a press release, Bella Fe Films announces the screen option of author Chris Grabenstein's Tilt a Whirl, the first novel in the John Ceepak mystery series. Tilt a Whirl was the winner of the 2006 for best first novel.

• Charles Brownman reviews five new mysteries for the Daily Camera.

Five different mysteries are reviewed by Margaret Cannon in her column for the Globe and Mail.

• The International Mystery Writers' Festival has acquired the rights to stage the US premiere of the "lost" Agatha Christie play Chimneys.

• Buried deep within the Anchorage Daily News is a short paragraph stating that mystery author Dana Stabenow has been named Artist of the Year by the Alaska state arts council.

• Reuters is reporting that Michael Eisner will produce and distribute international versions of his highly successful web-based mystery series Prom Queen.

• The latest game for the PC, The Legend of the Crystal Skull, the 17th in the series, was released this week. A playable demo is available from the Her Interactive website. (MBN note: see all at .)

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, October 10, 2007

Mystery Book Review: The Drop Edge of Yonder by Donis Casey

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Drop Edge of Yonder by Donis Casey. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.The Drop Edge of Yonder by Donis Casey

The Drop Edge of Yonder by
An Alafair Tucker Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-446-5 (1590584465)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-446-0 (9781590584460)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Who killed Uncle Bill? Alafair Tucker is desperate to find out. One August evening in 1914, a bushwhacker ended a pleasant outing by blowing a hole in Bill McBride, kidnapping and ravaging Bill’s fiancee, and wounding Alafair’s daughter Mary. All Mary knows is that the crime had something to do with the Fourth of July.

Or is there more? The answer seems to be working its way through the fog of Mary’s shock and grief and floating to the surface of her consciousness. Several malicious acts suggest that Bill’s killer is still around and attempting to cover his tracks.

The law is hot on the bushwhacker’s trail. Alafair thinks there is little she can do to help the sheriff, but that will never stop her from trying. She has no qualms about driving Mary to distraction with her persistent snooping and constant hovering. Can Mary remember the crime before the murderer manages to eliminate everyone who could identify him?

Review: The third mystery in the Alafair Tucker series by Donis Casey, The Drop Edge of Yonder, concerns the shooting death of Alafair’s young brother-in-law, Billy, the attempted murder of her daughter, Mary, and disappearance of Billy’s fiancĂ©e. On a beautiful August day in 1914, four young people take a ride down the pike. All of a sudden a shot is fired. Teenager Ruth, another daughter of Alafair, hastily turns her horse around and gallops away for help. More shots are fired but no one knows where they are coming from. Mary sees her Uncle Billy fall from his horse. Then she feels a bullet graze her head just above her ear. She, too, falls from her horse and immediately passes out. When she wakes, she crawls to Billy and finds him dead. When the sheriff and her parents find Mary, she is lying on her back in the grass, saying, “This has something to do with the 4th of July.” Her head wound compromises Mary’s memory and it takes time for the thoughts locked in her brain to surface. Laura, the 4th member of the party, is found a couple of days later by her father. She has been brutally beaten from head to toe, and is virtually comatose. There are no clues or explanations as to why these young people were fired upon. So begins this excellent mystery with Alafair leading the way.

After Billy’s funeral in the family plot, Mary starts a journal so if anything comes to her mind she can write it down and not forget it. The only thing she really believes is that it had something to do with the 4th of July. Alafair doesn’t know how she can help the sheriff, but she is going to try. No one is going to hurt another member of her family if she can help it. She has a way of talking to people so that they are unaware they are being interrogated. She learns from Billy’s friends that he had a couple of arguments with friends, especially on the 4th of July but they did not believe any one would want to see him dead. Alafair decides to take a look in Mary’s journal, only to find that she is just about ready to remember, and maybe identify the killer. When Mary realizes her mother has read her journal, she asks, “Do you expect there’s a part of a person that’s connected right to the truth of things? A part that’s half way between this world and the next – that’s standing on the drop edge of yonder?”

This is such an enjoyable book that the last chapter comes far too quickly. The mystery behind the murder of Billy is indeed a puzzle until the very end. But there are also poignant stories about Alafair’s family. She and her husband have twelve children, aged 2 to 23, and she tells us a story about each one. One of her boys turns 18 and for this family that is the most special birthday. They tell what they wish for their son’s future, but most importantly, he tells them what he wants to accomplish as an adult. The author also tells of their home life and the joys (and problems) of raising twelve youngsters in a small farmhouse. The reader learns about their farm, with horses, cows, chickens, a not so nice rooster, and a cotton field that needs picking every year.

The Drop Edge of Yonder is one of those exceptional books that can be savored now and when read again will retain much of its wonder and joy. It’s one of the best mysteries of the year.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Drop Edge of Yonder and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

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

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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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mysteries on TV: Murder She Wrote, Miss Marple, and CSI New York

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

The marvelous Angela Lansbury returns as mystery author Jessica Fletcher in . In contrast to the previous season, Jessica makes an appearance in virtually all episodes this season, albeit for some just as the narrator of the exploits of others, notably jewel thief turned insurance investigator Dennis Stanton. Jerry Orbach is also featured in one episode as private investigator Harry McGraw, his last appearance in the series before his untimely death.

Murder, She Wrote aired on CBS from September 1984 through May 1996. This DVD set, from the 1990 / 1991 season, contains all 22 episodes on 5 disks.

Four mystery movies are featured on starring our personal favorite actress to play the part, Geraldine McEwan. Not everyone likes these new, updated adaptations of the Christie classics, but McEwan's outstanding portrayal of the senior sleuth and the production values more than compensate for the sometimes inane dialog.

The four movies included on this DVD set of 4 disks, which originally aired on ITV1 in the UK last winter and on PBS in the US this past summer, are: Towards Zero, At Bertram's Hotel, Nemesis, and Ordeal by Innocence.

The crimes are more brutal. The evidence is more baffling. And every killer wants to get away with murder on featuring Gary Sinise as NYPD Detective Mac Taylor.

CSI: NY is the third in this franchise after the original based in and the subsequent , both of which are still in production.

CSI: NY first aired on CBS in September 2004. This DVD set includes all 24 episodes from the 2006 / 2007 season on 6 disks.

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

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for October 08, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for October 08, 2007A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now 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 I K N P R T W. Bonnie, Robert Spiller’s math teacher and amateur sleuth, has this last name (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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, October 07, 2007

Mystery Book Review: A Grave Breach by James Macomber

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of A Grave Breach by James Macomber. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.A Grave Breach by James Macomber

A Grave Breach by
A John Cann Thriller

Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-07-4 (1933515074)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-07-6 (9781933515076)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): International lawyer John Cann would never defend a war criminal - particularly the Serb accused of horrific acts during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. But when his friend, mentor and Senior Partner Arthur Matsen needs his help, John has to make a tough decision.

Struggling with legal issues and ethical dilemmas in Europe, John's past is close behind. Never far from his mind is Janie Reston, the young college student viciously abused and left for dead by terrorists.

As John uncovers what lies deep in Matsen's past, Janie is in increasing peril. Will past, present and future intersect or will time run out?

Review: The third international legal thriller by James Macomber, A Grave Breach, is a riveting novel that is all the more remarkable as the individual components of the story are not particularly compelling. A true case of the total being far greater than the sum of its parts.

There are two parallel storylines in A Grave Breach that are only tenuously connected, though the author clearly intends for the reader to infer the similarities between them. One is a continuation from a previous novel and deals with the recovery of Janie Reston. Janie, who had suffered severe physical, emotional, and mental trauma as the result of an attack by terrorists, is being cared for at a private clinic in . A doctor there wants to use an experimental technique to learn more about what Janie remembers from the attack, and uses legal means to gain control of her care and treatment.

Though a potentially interesting subplot in and of itself, there are several problems with it. The legal discussions, though mercifully brief, involve exceedingly esoteric matters of law. There is no courtroom drama here, only backroom maneuvering between counsel and the judge. The medical case is equally obscure. Implicit memory is a recognized concept, though somewhat controversial in amnesic patients. And then there's the motivation of the doctor, which is never fully explained.

The other storyline, and the primary one, has lawyer John Cann off to Europe to defend a man, Dubran Mribic, held in custody by international authorities, at the request of the senior partner in his law firm. He finds himself inexplicitly threatened, and then, after learning the man he is to defend was involved with ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian War and subsequently disappears, he teams up with Radovan "Rade" Nikolic, a member of the Serbian anti-terrorist authority, to find him and bring him to justice.

The most hard-core geo-political aficionado must be confused by the Balkans with its myriad ethnic groups and shifting alliances and conflicts over the centuries. The situation is made worse in A Grave Breach as 60 years of recent history is compressed into a few pages. Although critical to the story, it's confusing nonetheless. The legal matters discussed are even more arcane, largely involving procedural and jurisdictional issues. Again, no courtroom theatrics here, just a group of men from various government and international agency organizations discussing at length who has the authority to do what with Dubran Mribic.

Even the thriller aspect is fairly routine, in a Bond, James Bond sort of way. And yet, almost in spite of itself, it all comes together so very well. Macomber masterfully handles all these (sometimes tedious) topics and incorporates them into a page-turning book that is hard to put down. A Grave Breach is a first-rate thriller and is highly recommended.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing an ARC of A Grave Breach for this review.

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

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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Compendium of Mystery News 071007

Today's compendium of recently published mystery news articles:

• Sarah Weinman writes about recent books featuring serial killers in her monthly column on LATimes.com.

• Mary Wisniewski reports on the 20th anniversary of the founding of Sisters in Crime on SunTimes.com.

• Court TV and Gather.com have teamed up to create a contest to search for the next great crime writer. The winner will receive a publishing and distribution contract with Borders and a $5000 cash advance.

• Gaming Today is reporting on a new point-and-click adventure game under development called The Abbey, a murder mystery set at an old abbey. No release date yet.

• More gaming news: Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park, the first game in this series for the Nintendo DS, has begun shipping. It is available from the website. Visit the official game site here. (MBN note: We've been experimenting with creating Squidoo lenses, authoritative sites on subjects of interest to the author. Visit our page and let us know what you think by leaving feedback in the form at the bottom of the page.)

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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Friday, October 05, 2007

Mystery Bestsellers for October 04, 2007

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten for the week ending October 04, 2007 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

, the 14th thriller in the Stone Barrington series by Stuart Woods, displaces 's at the top of the bestselling mystery list this week. Patterson needn't worry too much, though: he still has three books in the top 15.

Dark of the Moon by John SandfordNew this week: by Virgil Flowers, a character introduced in Sandford's Davenport series, and a member of the the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has never seen a case like this. A house way up on a ridge explodes into flames, its owner, a man named Judd, trapped inside. There is a lot of reason to hate him, Flowers discovers. Years ago, Judd had perpetrated a scam that'd driven a lot of local farmers out of business, even to suicide. There are also rumors swirling around: of some very dicey activities with other men's wives; of involvement with some nutcase religious guy; of an out-of-wedlock daughter. In fact, Flowers concludes, you'd probably have to dig around to find a person who didn't despise him. But it's not an isolated incident. Three weeks before, there'd been another murder-two, in fact-a doctor and his wife. Flowers knows it isn't a coincidence, it had to be personal. But just how personal is something even he doesn't realize, and may not find out until too late. Because the next victim ... may be himself. Publishers Weekly states that "Sandford keeps the reader guessing and the pages turning while Flowers displays the kind of cool and folksy charm that might force Davenport to share the spotlight more often."

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier'Tis the season for trimming the tree, caroling, baking cookies, and curling up by the Yuletide waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. But in , a festive collection of holiday whodunits, murder is also paying a visit. , Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier have each written a mini-mystery featuring their respective series character (Fluke's Hannah Swensen in Candy Cane Murder, Levine's Jaine Austen in The Dangers of Candy Canes, and Meier's Lucy Stone in Candy Canes of Christmas Past). Kirkus Reviews states that, "Like a box of holiday chocolates, this recipe-studded assortment gives all readers a crack at their favorites."

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, October 04, 2007

Mystery Book Review: In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

In the Shadow of the Glacier by
A Molly Smith Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-448-1 (1590584481)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-448-4 (9781590584484)
Publication Date: October 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Trouble is brewing in the small, bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. An American who came to Trafalgar as a Vietnam War draft dodger has left land and money to the town but there’s a catch: the money must be used to build a garden to honor draft dodgers. This bequest has torn the close-knit, peaceful town apart. Then the body of a leading opponent is found in an alley, dead from a single blow to the head.

Constable Molly Smith is assigned to assist veteran Detective Sergeant John Winters in the investigation. But Winters doesn’t want the help of the enthusiastic rookie, and suspects that he’s been assigned Smith for political reasons – her mother, a life-long activist, is the leader of the group arguing for the park.

Egged on by a muck-raking TV personality, outside agitators from both sides are soon streaming into Trafalgar, while Smith and Winters search through small-town secrets for a killer.

Review: The first book in Vicki Delany's new series featuring Constable Molly Smith, In the Shadow of the Glacier, takes on a controversial subject that, after more than thirty years, is still alive for many today: the war in Vietnam.

It is estimated that more than 50,000 young men, in order to avoid the draft in the US during the Vietnam War, became draft dodgers and fled to Canada, leaving their homes and families in America. Some never returned, even though amnesty was offered. One draft dodger settled in the small mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. He spent his life there, and when he died he left all of his land and money to the city, but only if it would used to create a beautiful garden to honor all draft dodgers. This idea split the normally close-knit city right in two. There were those who heartily supported the plan, and those who still felt draft dodgers were traitors to America. Reginald Montgomery, a building planner, was one of the chief opponents to the garden. He wanted to build a huge resort in Trafalgar, called the Grizzly Bear, which he said would bring in money for the city, make jobs, and welcome visitors and vacationers from both Canada and America. Now there is another division to this small town. Montgomery wants to build The Grizzly Bear on the grounds that are homes to the bears, deer, and other animals of the forest. The animal rights people are dead set against such a venture. Others feel this would be a great boon for their city. With so many of the town folk angry at Reg, it was no surprise to find him beaten over the head and left dead in a dark alley.

Detective Sergeant John Winters, newly transferred into Trafalgar, is assigned the case. Constable Molly Smith, born and raised in the city, is assigned as his assistant. But her interest in the case is not completely objective: her parents came to Trafalgar when her father dodged the draft. Molly, eager and fast to jump to conclusions, is a good counterpart to Winters, who is rather slow and methodical. After Smith makes it clear who's in charge, he eases up on Molly who has a hard time telling when he is serious or joking. Their banter becomes a joy to read. They interview Reg’s widow, the local dentist, the shopkeepers, anyone known to oppose Reg’s opposition to the garden, and anyone who opposed his plans for the Grizzly Bear. Getting no where, they even interview a local kid who stole Molly’s locked bike from behind the police station. Though discouraged, as they begin to review their notes, they realize one of these peoples is a murderer.

In the Shadow of the Glacier is a terrific murder mystery replete with delightful characters and good humor; a very promising start to this new series. And anyone who lived through the era of the 1960s will undoubtedly smile when Molly's given name is revealed: Moonlight Legolas.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of In the Shadow of the Glacier and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

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

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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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Noble Lies by Charles Benoit

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

Noble Lies by
A Mark Rohr Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-450-3 (1590584503)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-450-7 (9781590584507)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): For Mark Rohr, a decorated Desert Storm vet, the last ten years have been filled with shady jobs and countless mis-adventures around the globe. The low point is his current stint as a bouncer at a nameless whorehouse/bar in Thailand. When the beautiful and naive Robin Antonucci arrives in Phuket City from the States and hires him to help find her missing brother Shawn, Mark sees the chance to make some easy money. It is simple: guide her around until she gets bored or until the money runs out and she heads home.

But what should be an easy job in a tropical paradise quickly sours when they meet the stunning Pim who claims to be Shawn's wife. Within hours two men are dead and Jarin, southern Thailand's most notorious gangster, wants Mark to pay. Getting away alone would be difficult. Getting away with Robin and Pim, plus an old man and a small boy - the only members of Pim's family to survive the tsunami - might prove impossible.

With nowhere to hide and ho idea where they are heading, they set off around the Thai coast, racing through beach resorts and remote villages, staying one step ahead of Jarin's men as they search for the truth about Shawn.

Review: If only one word could be used to describe Noble Lies by Charles Benoit, it might be "unpredictable". And for a mystery thriller, that's a very good word indeed.

For former Marine Mark Rohr, working in a bar in Phuket City, Thailand, the job he's hired to do seems simple enough: find Shawn, the brother of an American woman Robin, presumed dead after the tsunami but identified on a recent photograph. But the missing person investigation turns complicated very quickly. They locate Pim who claims to be married to Shawn, but who works for Jarin, a local crime lord who doesn't take kindly to anyone interferring in his affairs. She volunteers to take Mark and Robin to Shawn, but only if they take along her grandfather and young nephew. As their journey continues from Thailand to Malaysia, they discover that though Shawn may be alive and well, he might not want to be found.

"Noble lies" are those told by people who don't know the answer to a question but, in order to save face, give any answer to prevent being perceived as ignorant. Since it isn't clear at any time if anyone is telling the truth in this story, the unpredictability of the plot is one of the great assets of Noble Lies. Benoit provides many detailed descriptions of the region, most of which aren't likely appear on the government tourist brochures for the country, but they add a sense of danger and excitement. When Mark and Robin meet up with modern-day international pirates, which could have been rather ridiculous in any other context, it's just another unexpected, unanticipated, yet thoroughly entertaining bump in the road on their journey to discover the truth about Shawn.

Though there is an occasional chapter from a another character's point of view that tends to unnecessarily muddle the story somewhat, for the most part, Noble Lies is a thrilling adventure worth experiencing.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Noble Lies for this review.

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

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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Mysteries on TV: Criminal Minds and Inspector Lynley

Mysteries on TVMystery television series being released this week on DVD:

An elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country's most twisted criminal minds are featured in . The series stars Mandy Patinkin as Senior Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon of the Behaviorial Analysis Unit. Each member of the team brings his or her own area of expertise to the table as they pinpoint predators' motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.

Criminal Minds first aired on CBS in September 2005. This DVD set includes all 23 episodes from the second season.

For more information on Criminal Minds, visit the series website on CBS.com.

Four mystery movies are featured on . Starring Nathaniel Parker as Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sharon Small as Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, the series is based on characters created by mystery author .

The four movies included on this set, originally shown in the UK on BBC-1 during the summer of 2006 and in the US on PBS in September 2006, are: Natural Causes, One Guilty Deed, Chinese Walls, and In the Blink of an Eye.

For more information, visit the Inspector Lynley Mysteries website on PBS.org.

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

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for October 01, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for October 01, 2007A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now 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 D E H K O R S U. This descriptive structure is in the title of the 10th Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mystery by (9 letters).

New! We now have our puzzles in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

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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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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