Monday, June 16, 2008

Mysteries on TV: Burn Notice

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling one series that has a season DVD being released this week. 

stars Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, an international spy who suddenly finds himself blacklisted. Back in his hometown of , Michael uses his skills to help people in need ... mostly people who can't get help from the police. Combining suspense, action, humor and romance, Burn Notice debuted on the USA Network in the summer of 2007 and has been picked up for a second season.

The Burn Notice Season One DVD set of 4 discs contains all 12 episodes of the first season, including the 90 minute pilot episode, that aired from June 2007 through September 2007.

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

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Mystery Book Review: Silent Witness by Michael Norman

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Silent Witness by Michael Norman. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Silent Witness by Michael NormanBuy from Amazon.com

Silent Witness by
A Sam Kincaid Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-498-8 (1590584988)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-498-9 (9781590584989)
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Sam Kincaid and Kate McConnell must once again look beneath the obvious in an increasingly dangerous scenario.

The armored car robbery went terribly awry, leaving two people dead. One was a member of the gang believed responsible for the crime. Walter Bradshaw, the 45-year-old leader of the Reformed Church of the Divine Christ, is charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery. Bradshaw leads an arch-conservative, anti-government group of Mormon polygamists who were once a part of Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church. Captured after a high-speed chase, Bradshaw currently sits in a cell at the Utah State Prison, awaiting trial for the armored car fiasco. The rest of the Bradshaw gang remains at large.

Then two days before Bradshaw’s preliminary hearing, Arnold Ginsberg, one of two witnesses to the robbery, is stabbed and bludgeoned to death in a parking garage in downtown Salt Lake City. That same evening, the second witness, 24-year old University of Utah student Robin Joiner, narrowly escapes being kidnapped as she walks across campus to her car ...

Review: Sam Kincaid, head of the Special Investigation Branch within the Utah Department of Corrections, and Detective Lieutenant Kate McConnell return to look into the mysterious death and disappearance of two witnesses to a robbery in Silent Witness, the second mystery in this series by Michael Norman.

A cult of Mormon polygamists, headed by 45-year-old Walter Bradshaw, has been exiled from the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Under Bradshaw's leadership, they decide to build their own church in southern Utah, funding the cost by robbing banks. During the hold up of an armored van, officers in the van show their guns, and the shooting begins, leaving two men dead, one being a relative of Bradshaw. The Bradshaws, however, get away with some money. After a high-speed chase, the fugitives are captured. Bradshaw, under warrant for previous offenses is immediately incarcerated. When the investigation begins into this crime, it is discovered there were two witnesses. Arnold Ginsberg, an accountant, was just leaving his office when the attempted robbery occurred. He is willing and able to give testimony at trial and identify the would-be robbers. Also, able but not too willing to give testimony, is Robin Joiner, a 24-year-old graduate student at a local university. Two days before the inquest, Ginsberg is battered and stabbed to death in his garage. An attempted abduction is made on Robin but she is able to escape and goes into hiding. To Kincaid and McConnell, this sounds like a "slam-dunk" case. They had the lawbreaker in custody, so all they had to do was find the girl and have her testify. They find, however, there is more to this crime than just theft, murder and a missing girl.

Arnold's secret life leads Kincaid and McConnell into the gay underground of Salt Lake City and a partner who seems to live a lifestyle far exceeding the couple's means. And when Robin is finally located, she not only refuses to testify, giving no reason for her decision, but also refuses protection. It takes everything in their powers to unravel what ultimately becomes a most complicated case.

Silent Witness is a terrific police procedural that also includes personal dilemmas for Kincaid. His ex-wife wants their 8 year old daughter, now in Sam's primary custody, taken away from him because of the danger of his job, and to move to Atlanta where she will have primary custody and be safe. Sam must find a way to prevent this. He also has a new boss who is not too thrilled with the ways Sam handles his job. He and Kate are in love, but she's not too sure she wants to take on a new husband and his family. Sam understands this and but how long is he willing to wait? Simply put, Silent Witness is a solid entry in this series.

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

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 16, 2008

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 16, 2008A 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 L N O P S W. To die here was in the title of a 1998 bed-and-breakfast 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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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Compendium of Mystery News 080615

A compendium of recently published mystery news articles; note that we're still way behind in getting news items posted but hope to be current within a couple of weeks:

• In a press release, Glu Mobile Inc. announced the launch of Mystery Case Files: Agent X, an extension of the popular Mystery Case Files series available exclusively for mobile phones in North America. Developed by Big Fish Games, Mystery Case Files: Agent X casts players as virtual detectives solving mysteries by finding hidden clues. The game includes exciting weekly updates that provide fresh content to bring players’ into immersive environments. (MBN note: Visit the Big Fish Games website to find more mystery games.)

• The Detroit Free Press has a profile of Peter Leonard who, at age 56, is the first of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard's children to write a novel. Leonard's book, Quiver, was published last month.

• Caroline Baum in the Times Online reports on a number of Australian novelists that have gained international recognition including crime writers and Shane Maloney.

• The Crime Writer Association (CWA) has announced the shortlist for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Awards and the other Daggers for 2008. The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner, to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in London's Park Lane on Thursday July 10, 2008.


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Fisher Boy by Stephen Anable

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Fisher Boy by Stephen Anable. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Fisher Boy by Stephen AnableBuy from Amazon.com

The Fisher Boy by
 A Mark Winslow Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-480-5 (1590584805)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-480-4 (9781590584804)
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Spiraling from the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown has long been a place of freedom, escape, diversity, and risk. A gay resort, an art colony, and a working fishing port, it is at once gritty and hedonistic, beautiful and complex.

comic Mark Winslow arrives with his troupe of improv actors ready to break into the Provincetown club circuit. But the town and the region—seared by drought and caught in the culture war—are anything but peaceful this summer. Does the tall ship in the harbor bear an unusually large number of Scandinavian tourists? If not, who are the blond and ragged people insisting they are associated with it?

Then a public fight makes Mark the prime suspect in the grisly butchering of a Boston blueblood. Mark believes his choice is simple: find the killer or be charged with the crime.

Amid the clam shacks and craft shops, art galleries and nude beaches, undercurrents are pulling at the surface of normality, like riptides beneath seemingly calm water. Could the disappearance of a famous painter 80 years in the past—and the story of his masterpiece, The Fisher Boy—somehow lie at the center of the whirlpool of evil threatening to extinguish Mark’s life?

Review: Stephen Anable introduces part-time comic, sometime amateur sleuth Mark Winslow in The Fisher Boy, a mystery set at one of the centers of gay culture in the east coast, Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Mark arrives in Provincetown just before Memorial Day hoping to make a name for himself and his comedy improv troupe during the summer season by subtly (or, if that doesn't work, explicitly) using his prep school connections in the city. But this year, there are more than the year-round residents and summer tourists milling about; Christian fundamentalists have set up shop and are publicly denouncing the large gay community, and a strange group of blonde street people are shoplifting trinkets from the local stores. Late one night when Mark stumbles across the body of one of his former classmates, his throat slashed and his chest stabbed, he's unsure what to do. He had just had a very public falling out with him and is afraid of being accused of the crime. Fleeing the scene, he's determined to find the real killer before someone frames him for the murder.

On the surface, there should be a lot going for The Fisher Boy, but it fails on so many levels it's hard to know which excessive and ridiculous plot point pushes it over the edge. For starters, there's far too much going on. The plot is so convoluted and includes so many soap opera clichés  that it exceeds all reasonable bounds of credulity. Between natural disasters such as raging brush fires and hurricanes, to personal agonies such as incest (of a sort) and questions of parentage, to secret cults and lost artist colonies and much, much, so much more, there's nothing too excessive or preposterous to be included.

The irony here is that buried deep within the superficial and artificial nature of The Fisher Boy are nuggets of a credible and intriguing mystery. The characters and setting are, for the most part, well drawn and interesting. But it's as if the author came up with an captivating story surrounding a fictional artist and his painting, then didn't trust his instincts in developing it, writing instead a novel that teases the reader with its potential intellect and wit but delivers instead the worst of insipid crime fiction. It is rare that a book starts with such high expectations and ends with such low results. The Fisher Boy is disappointing from first to last chapter.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of The Fisher Boy for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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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Mystery Book Review: Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. Tecklenburg

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. Tecklenburg. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Chasing Pancho Villa by R. L. TecklenburgBuy from Amazon.com

Chasing Pancho Villa by
Non-series

PublishAmerica (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-60474-710-2 (1604747102)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60474-710-2 (9781604747102)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $21.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): In the fall of 1917, Harrison James arrives in New Mexico to investigate the mysterious death of his brother. There he meets the beautiful Maria Washington, notorious gunrunner and revolutionary. Their romance sizzles while his list of suspects grows. James is engulfed in subterfuge and quickly drawn into a seamy underworld of gunrunning and sedition. To unravel the mystery of his brother’s death, he must outshoot bandits and outwit the Army. Traveling deep into Mexico to arm the popular revolutionary and folk hero Pancho Villa, James and Washington are betrayed by enemy agents and must fight their way back to the Rio Grande. Finally, armed with new information on his brother’s death, James risks all to unmask his killer.

Review: Chasing Pancho Villa, R. L. Tecklenburg's second novel, is subtitled "a story of mystery, romance, and adventure" and it is indeed each of these. It is a fictional account of an actual event, the raid by Mexican revolutionary general Francisco "Pancho" Villa into the new state of New Mexico and the unsuccessful attempt by US General John Pershing to capture him.

Europe is at war and the US, though officially neutral, is facing an armed conflict of its own with its neighbor to the south. The trade in arms and ammunition is extensive and ruthless. When Mexican General Villa accepts an arms shipment that he believes is worthless (or nearly so), he plans an attack inside the United States. US General Pershing's army vastly outnumbers their Mexican counterparts, yet he cannot seem to defeat them. Pershing orders Captain Bartlett R. James to find out who in the Army may be a spy for the enemy, and to recommend who might be recruited in the Mexican Army to spy for the US. Before he could complete his assignment, he was killed. Following an inquest by the Army, his death is ruled a suicide. His brother, Harrison James, a businessman from Chicago, doesn't believe it and makes the journey to New Mexico to do his own investigation. Harrison discovers that the desk clerk at his hotel, Maria Washington, had helped his brother and she is now willing to help him as well. With her help, and that of her brother, Harrison begins a dangerous journey that ultimately includes a brush with a German national who supports Mexico and a surprising link to his company in Chicago that may be involved with stolen arms.

Chasing Pancho Villa is a fast reading, truly interesting story. The combination of history with the fictional story is done very well and is reminiscent of movies from the 1930s through the 1960s featuring this very colorful character.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Chasing Pancho Villa and to the author for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — 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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Friday, June 13, 2008

Press Release: ThrillerFest 2008

Lauren Powers of Meryl L. Moss Media Relations contacted us suggesting we advise our readers of the upcoming ThrillerFest in New York City. We're thrilled (no pun intended ... OK, maybe just a little) to do so! Here is the press release of the event, reprinted here with permission.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, 203-226-0199
Lauren Powers, [email protected]

"It's a gathering of us, when thriller writers congregate and commune. There's simply nothing like it on the planet." Steve Berry, NYT Bestseller and ITW co-president

"ThrillerFest is unique, for readers and for writers. Nowhere else in the world brings so many authors, fans and budding novelists together, and in the heart of Manhattan, home of the US publishing industry. In a word it’s unmissable." David Hewson, International Bestseller and VP Communications ITW

MORE THAN 200 KILLERS, KIDNAPPERS, SPIES & TROUBLE MAKERS DESCEND ON NYC FOR THRILLERFEST 2008
All Thriller Fans, Thriller Authors, and Would-Be Thriller Writers Can High-tail it to the Grand Hyatt, July 9-12

The sidewalks of New York City will be hot…hotter than a tall, swanky dame who sends hearts and wallets fluttering with her sultry walk and mysterious smile. ThrillerFest is the most spine-tingling and exciting event of the year for fiction’s most popular genre. Bringing more than 200 of the best loved and bestselling authors to The Grand Hyatt in New York from July 9-12 for an unprecedented four-day extravaganza to mix and mingle with authors, aspiring writers, and fans.

The 3rd annual ThrillerFest is the brainchild of International Thriller Writers, Inc. (ITW). According to Steve Berry, Co-President of the organization, the gathering is an opportunity for devotees of thriller books to come together not only for professional guidance and counsel, but for the interpersonal benefits, fun, and sheer thrill of it all. “Unlike our books, this event has no twists or turns and no surprise ending…but still delivers quite a punch.”

One of the highlights of the event is the coveted ThrillerMaster Award, whose previous recipients include Clive Cussler and James Patterson. This year’s winner is Sandra Brown, who is being recognized for her legendary career, 56 New York Times best sellers and more than 70 million copies of her books in print worldwide. “For more than 30 years, Sandra Brown has actively supported the thriller genre through an outstanding body of work as well as promoting literacy,” said M. Diane Vogt, ITW Events Vice President. “We are delighted to be presenting this lifetime achievement award to her.”

Additional bestselling spotlight guests that will attend are Eric Van Lustbader, Dr. Kathy Reichs, and Brad Thor, David Baldacci, R. L. Stine, Steve Martini, Iris Johansen and Andrew Gross have also joined the lineup.

This year’s Thriller Awards Chair Vicki Hinze said, “awards will be presented for Best Novel, Best First Novel and Best Paperback Original.” (a complete list of nominees is included below).

ThrillerFest includes author signings, a complete bookstore on premises, reader’s reception and cocktail party, music by the Killer Thriller Band, giveaways of 20 thrillers months before publication and four days of events. Meet the usual suspects attending including such thriller writer as Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, Heather Graham, David Morrell, David Liss, M. J. Rose, Steve Berry, Doug Preston, Joe Finder, David Hewson, James Rollins, Michael Palmer, Katherine Neville, D. P. Lyle, Chris Reich, Maxine Paetro, Joan Johnston, F. Paul Wilson, Alison Brennan and many more.

Registration for ThrillerFest is open to everyone (ITW members and non-members), with three separately-priced events packages this year: CraftFest on Thursday, July 12; the ThrillerFest Conference from Thursday, July 12 - Sunday, July 15; and the Thriller Awards Banquet at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. Day passes are available. Complete details and a date/rate schedule can be found at www.thrillerfest.com.

About ThrillerFest

ThrillerFest (www.thrillerfest.com) was established to bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through the Active Members of ITW; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.

Thriller Award Nominees:

Best Novel, 2008

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster)
The Ghost by Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster)
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (Viking)
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman (Putnam)

Best First Novel, 2008

Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBook Press)
Volk’s Game by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt & Co.)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow)

Best Paperback Original, 2008

The Last Nightingale by Anthony Flacco (Ballantine)
A Thousand Bones by P. J. Parrish (Pocket)
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon (Pocket)
Shattered by Jay Bonansinga (Pinnacle)

(MBN note: Previous winners of the can be found on our website.)

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Mystery Bestsellers for June 13, 2008

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending June 13, 2008 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

's 18th mystery in the Lucas Davenport series, Phantom Prey, remains atop the bestseller list this week with 's 12th mystery in the Jack Reacher series, Nothing to Lose, moves into the top 4.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

Coming in at number 11 this week is The Broken Window, the 8th mystery in the Lincoln Rhyme series by . When Lincoln's estranged cousin Arthur Rhyme is arrested on murder charges, the case is perfect -- too perfect. Forensic evidence from Arthur's home is found all over the scene of the crime, and it looks like the fate of Lincoln's relative is sealed. At the behest of Arthur's wife, Judy, Lincoln grudgingly agrees to investigate the case. Soon Lincoln and Amelia uncover a string of similar murders and rapes with perpetrators claiming innocence and ignorance -- despite ironclad evidence at the scenes of the crime. Rhyme's team realizes this "perfect" evidence may actually be the result of masterful identity theft and manipulation. An information service company -- the huge data miner Strategic Systems Datacorp -- seems to have all the answers but is reluctant to help the police. Still, Rhyme and Sachs and their assembled team begin uncovering a chilling pattern of vicious crimes and coverups, and their investigation points to one master criminal, whom they dub "522." When "522" learns the identities of the crime-fighting team, the hunters become the hunted. Publishers Weekly calls The Broken Window "entertaining", adding "[t]he topical subject matter makes the story line particularly compelling, while longtime fans will relish Deaver's intimate exploration of a tragedy from Rhyme's adolescence."

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information. And don't forget to check our page where you can save an additional 5% when you purchase your mystery books prior to their publication date.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

Phantom Prey by John SandfordCareless in Red by Elizabeth GeorgeNothing to Lose by Lee ChildThe Whole Truth by David Baldacci

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, June 10, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Scarlet Rose by Julia Madeleine

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Scarlet Rose by Julia Madeleine. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Scarlet Rose by Julia MadeleineBuy from Amazon.com

Scarlet Rose by
Non-series

Black Heart Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9808874-0-2 (0980887402)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9808874-0-2 (9780980887402)
Publication Date: April 2008
List Price: $15.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): When a wealthy business man is found tortured and murdered in a hotel room, his 22 year old stepdaughter, Fiona Dalton, must help police find the killer. Forced at the age of 16 into the adult entertainment industry by her own mother, Scarlet Rose, a washed-up alcoholic burlesque queen from the 1960s, Fiona navigates her way through the dark recesses of her family's history, uncovering shocking secrets that threaten to destroy her. All the while her mother becomes fixated on the only thing that truly matters to her: getting her hands on her dead ex-husband's money.

Review: Canadian author Julia Madeleine’s debut novel, Scarlet Rose, reveals a seamy side of Toronto that many Torontonians may not even know exists and others will deny. It is a story of adult striptease joints where underage girls are pressed into performing for patrons in “Perverts’ Row,” where drugs, alcohol and sexual favours are readily available, and where turf wars over drugs result in even more collateral damage for the dysfunctional family of “Scarlet Rose,” a former striptease dancer, Sylvia Dalton, who, “At the age of thirty-nine ... looked closer to fifty.” It’s a story that begins and ends in violence and lingers in between with all of the attributes of a classic noir novel.

In Madeleine’s dark story there are no master detectives, super sleuths, or forensic specialists – only a 22-year-old stepdaughter, Fiona Dalton, earlier forced into exotic dancing by her mother, and now searching for the psychotic killer of her beloved stepfather, wealthy glad-hander and good timer, Charlie Reynolds. Instead of getting help from the local cops, she’s berated by them and accused of having a sexual relationship with Charlie. Her alcoholic mother’s no help, sponging from her for money and groceries while hoarding family secrets about a long missing son, Matthew, and railing about the ingratitude of Fiona whose father was a years ago high school dalliance, 20-year-old Suzanne, who was Charlie’s daughter, and 12-year-old Troy, sired by “a good for nothing” named Casey after Charlie left when Fiona was only nine years old. Suzanne left home once she hit fifteen and now runs drugs from Vancouver to Toronto to New York City. Troy’s serving detention time as an accomplice to grand theft auto, and Fiona’s gulping down drugs and smoking pot, dancing in downtown Toronto, and suffering a recurring dream of escaping from a pedophile who attempted to kidnap her and someone else. Recently, an 18-year-old named Barry King has shown up from northern Ontario claiming to be Charlie’s son. But now, Charlie is dead, brutally tortured and gruesomely killed and the cops have the grisly photos to show it. The usual suspects are being interrogated. Those nearby are grilled at the station or at their homes. But one, a homosexual bartender, can’t be questioned because he’s found dead, and another, a drug czar, Damon Ventura, is on a drug run to NYC where Suzanne is to meet him, confused and conflicted over Ventura’s possible role in her father’s death and her allegiance to her Vancouver drug running boyfriend. Fiona’s conflicts are closer to home – ongoing ones with her mother, of course, a couple of scary ones with Mario, the manager of the Cabaret where she dances, when she fingers him to the cops as a colleague of Charlie’s and Damon’s, and a final heart-stopping one when she confronts Barry and her mother to tell them that Charlie’s wealth that they’ve been coveting has evaporated into bankruptcy proceedings. In the end, a memento Charlie gave her when she was a child turns out to be her life saver as an adult – that, and the just-in-time intervention by her step-sister, Suzanne.

Through the recollections and reminiscences of different characters Madeleine provides some relief for the bleakness of their lives. But for most of them, even the party loving Charlie whose mother “abandoned [him] like some hobby she didn’t have time for,” real life is lived on Toronto’s seamier side, Charlie’s even more so as it turns out. A characteristically noir novel, Scarlet Rose, is first-class in its genre. But be aware. As good as it is, it ain’t no cozy.

Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham ([email protected]) for contributing his review of Scarlet Rose and to the author for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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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Monday, June 09, 2008

Mysteries on TV: Da Vinci's Inquest, The Fugitive, and Hawaii Five-O

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling three series that have season DVDs being released this week.

Nicholas Campbell starred as Dominic Da Vinci, a former police officer who now works as the city's coroner in , a series that aired for 7 seasons on Canada's CBC from 1998 through 2005. Often compared to or , Da Vinci's Inquest combines the best elements of both. This season finds Da Vinci snubbed for promotion, bedeviled by a new bean-counting boss, and haunted by demons from his past.

The Da Vinci's Inquest Season Three DVD set of 4 discs contains all 13 episodes of the third season that aired from October 2000 through February 2001.

David Janssen starred as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man wrongly accused of the murder of his wife and on the run in search of the one-armed man he believed to be the killer in , a popular series that aired on ABC from 1963 through 1967. The series also starred Barry Morse as the police lieutenant determined to capture him. It was during the second season that rumors began circulating on the "true" identity of the killer even though the final episode was years into the future.

The The Fugitive Season Two (Volume One) DVD set of 4 discs contains the first 15 episodes of the second season that aired from September 1964 through December 1964.

Jack Lord starred as Steve McGarrett, the head of an elite state police unit in , the long-running series that aired on CBS from 1968 through 1980. Filmed entirely on location in , the series also starred James MacArthur as his second in command Danny Williams. Many episodes ended with McGarrett saying "Book 'em Danno".

The Hawaii Five-O Season Four DVD set of 6 discs contains all 23 episodes of the fourth season that aired from September 1971 through March 1972.

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

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Mystery Book Review: The Muted Mermaid by Del Staecker

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Muted Mermaid by Del Staecker. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Muted Mermaid by Del StaeckerBuy from Amazon.com

The Muted Mermaid by
A Ledge Trabue Mystery

Cable Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9799494-6-7 (0979949467)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799494-6-3 (9780979949463)
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ledge Trabue's idyllic boating vacation ends abruptly when the body of a young woman floats into his life. Was she murdered?

The Nashville police quickly--almost too quickly--rule her death a suicide and close the case. But Trabue's suspicions skyrocket when the young victim's father arrives unexpectedly on Trabue's boat and accuses him of his daughter's murder!

Soon, Trabue finds himself deeply involved in uncovering the truth and slowly realizes there is a truly malevolent force pervading the Music City.

Review: Del Staecker introduces Rutledge "Ledge" Trabue in The Muted Mermaid, an exciting and absorbing mystery of murder among the business elite in Nashville.

While boating down Tennessee's Cumberland River, Ledge comes upon a fallen tree in the water that has trapped the body of a young woman, a body that Ledge believes had apparently been dumped in the river with the expectation that it would disappear over a dam and not be found until it was miles away. Someone got careless and Ledge is now caught in the middle.

The woman is quickly identified as Karen Blaine. Karen's father, Win, just as quickly assumes Ledge is the killer though the police somewhat inexplicably rule the death a suicide. Though Win doesn't quite believe that Ledge is innocent, he agrees to allow him to help find the true cause of his daughter's death. As Ledge starts on his quest, he calls an old friend, a former cop, for help. Others quickly get involved as allies in his investigation including a cab driver, his wife, son and daughter-in-law. Even the medical examiner of Nashville participates in finding the truth. With this unusual group of people who, like a secret organization become tight-knit and tight-lipped, they work in their own way to determine who may have killed Karen, and potentially several others, and why.

One of the best elements of The Muted Mermaid is the characters which are so well developed that they become like new neighbors to the reader. Though each adds their own expertise to the case, their camaraderie makes their collective investigation more meaningful. The murder mystery plot is also well done though it is possibly not as suspenseful (from a "whodunit" perspective) as it might have been.

Should successive books featuring Ledge Trabue be as character-driven as The Muted Mermaid, it bodes well for a series worth reading now and looking forward to.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Muted Mermaid and to Del Staecker for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 09, 2008

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 09, 2008A 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: E G H I N O R S T. The mystery anthology A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime contained this short story by Ana Rainwater (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, June 08, 2008

Compendium of Mystery News 080608

A compendium of recently published mystery news articles; note that we're still way behind in getting news items posted but hope to be current within a couple of weeks:

BusinessWeek has a brief report on 's reach into books, movies, television series, and now games. There's also a review of the online game, Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet. (MBN note: The game can be played on the Big Fish games site: James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet.)

• In other  news, the best-selling author announced the winners of the 3rd annual James Patterson PageTurner Awards. A press release provides information on the individual winners and their cash awards.

was presented with the Wyoming travel and tourism industry's highest award, the "Big Wyo" for 2008 according to the Wyoming Business Report. Box owns and manages Rocky Mountain International which coordinates tourism activities for Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Box also writes a highly regarded mystery series featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.

• The Chicago Tribune has a short interview with Blue Balliett who writes a series of . Her third book in , The Calder Game, was published last month.

• Jane Dickinson interviews mystery author in the Rocky Mountain News.

• A new mystery game for the Nintendo DS, Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles, is scheduled for release on June 10th. It can be pre-ordered now from Amazon.com. (MBN note: See more at .)

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