Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stettin Station by David Downing (Book Review)

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Review of Stettin Station by David Downing

In 1941 Berlin American foreign correspondent and journalist -- and sometime undercover agent -- John Russell decides it's time for him to start making plans for his family to leave Germany, by any means possible, in Stettin Station, the third mystery in this series by David Downing.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews.

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Stettin Station by David Downing
Buy Stettin Station by David Downing

Stettin Station

A John Russell Mystery

Soho Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-634-9 (1569476349)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-634-5 (9781569476345)
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $25.00

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

MBN Welcomes Tom Fowler, Author of The Latson Disappearance

Mystery Books News: Authors on Tour

Mystery Books News is thrilled to welcome Tom Fowler as our guest blogger. Tom is the author of The Latson Disappearance (PublishAmerica Trade Paperback, February 2009, 978-1-60836-147-2), a story of murder, mystery, intrigue, and all-too-human evil.

Today, Tom relates what it means to him to write and how he came to be a published author. And he's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a signed copy of his most recent book. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tom Fowler: The Latson Disappearance" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2081) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends July 06, 2010.)

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Tom Fowler
Photo courtesy of Tom Fowler

I would like to share with you a little bit about myself and how I came to be a writer and novelist.

I am 60 years old and retired from a 34 year career in telecommunications. I wrote my first mystery novel, All in His Past, in 1992. I realized when writing a term paper for a computer class I was taking that I enjoyed writing and preparing it far more than the subject matter I was writing about! Since completing All in His Past, I have written several more novels and not all of them are mystery stories.

As with this blog’s previous guest blogger, I share with Del Staecker the fact that I have received no formal education in writing. Whatever I have written well or poorly is to my credit or fault and mine alone.

I have done all sorts of writing in the 18 years since 1992 but mystery writing is to me the most fun, challenging and rewarding of all the genres. I have been able to mix in elements of horror and the challenge of creating something of quality from nothing is always an invigorating and rewarding challenge. Allow me to share with you brief synopses of my two books in print and how the main characters came to be. As you know, plot and the characters that drive it are the essence of any good work of fiction.

All in His Past is the story of a young man and his family set in a small Texas town in 1989. Roy Bullard is a good, solid citizen; quiet and unassuming to the point of dullness. But, there is much more to Roy than meets the eye, for in his youth Roy was a far different person that what people know him to be now. When he and his family become tormented by murderous psychopaths for an unknown reason, Roy is tough enough physically and emotionally to deal with them on their own terms. I have always been intrigued with the idea of the underdog being able to deal with bullies and tough guys on unexpected even terms so I took this idea to an exaggerated extension. The first half of the book is the mystery portion; the second half is the exciting pursuit of the villains. All in His Past was my first effort at serious fiction but remains my most intense effort.

Roy’s character is taken loosely from a person I know who possesses the quiet dignity and efficiency of Roy plus a few of his physical characteristics. All of my main characters in fiction are taken from persons I know or know something about. I will borrow personality traits, demeanor and physical appearance or any combination of the three from a real person or persons to form a character. I never base a character totally on a single real person. I am blessed with a vivid imagination and that is simply not necessary.

In The Latson Disappearance, the main character is George Latson. George is a young man who returns to his Oklahoma City home on a Friday evening after being away on business all week to find his house empty and wife and child missing. This story was based on an incident a man I knew experienced. I took this true life experience and developed it into a murder mystery. George’s character is based loosely on myself as I imagined how I may react to the circumstances I placed George in, which was quite personal experience for me in itself. This book also contains mystery, suspense and a very tense pursuit of George’s enemies.

In my third and most recent full length mystery novel, In the Midst of Normalcy, (available in e-book form), my main character, Tim Coleman, is hosting an extended family reunion in his Overland Park, Kansas home when murder happens unexpectedly in the basement. The murder scene, a converted basement made into a recreation room with an oversize poster of the film actress Marilyn Monroe, is the actual recreation room in a home close to where I live. The murder victim was found at the feet of the cardboard Marilyn Monroe. On the morning I was to write the “Marilyn” chapter, I was so excited that I arose early and completed it very quickly. I feel it is one of the most poignant chapters in the book. In case you are wondering, a good friend gladly allowed me to “borrow” his rec room and picture of Marilyn. I acknowledge this in the book’s credits.

When I write, I do not concentrate on dialogue as other writers often do. I concentrate on the story and how best to convey it. The characters are alive for me and I imagine them in my mind’s eye interacting with each other but rarely do I focus on the dialogue they exchange. Perhaps this is a flaw in my writing style but that is how I do it. I conveyed a strong sense of fear, unease and dread within In the Midst of Normalcy, to the point where even the mice in the attic of the Coleman home sensed it and did not want to remain in the house. Mood and atmosphere can at times, I feel, compensate for inadequate dialogue but a writer has to be careful with this attitude. One must strive for the best of both.

Finally and as stated previously, I love to take an idea, develop it and make something of substance from nothing. In All in His Past, I took a favorite theme and ran with it until I had a good size novel. With the fictional George Latson, I took a true life event and expanded it into an extreme situation. For In the Midst of Normalcy, (aka The House of Murder), I developed an entire family and family history and placed the Coleman family in an environment of insufferable horror. It was at times invigorating, frustrating and challenging to the point that it took me to the edges of my abilities to create, but what a wonderful experience it was. For me, there is nothing else like fiction writing and mystery fiction is the icing on a very delicious cake.

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Tom lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife Kathy, and near two of their three grandchildren. He has been writing since 1992 and has written several full length fiction novels, plus many short stories in the horror, mystery, fantasy, mainstream and romance genres. He has also written film reviews and other non-fiction articles on a variety of subjects. Visit his website at TomFowlerWritings.com.

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The Latson Disappearance by Tom Fowler
More information about the book

About The Latson Disappearance: A man returns home one evening and finds that his family and all the household furnishings have disappeared. (What happened to them? Why?) None of his neighbors saw anyone come in or out of the house. The story takes place in Oklahoma City in 1989, but the answer to this mystery is found in Los Angeles several years later.

George Latson is up against some very ruthless people but for a long time did not know it—until they began making mistakes. Then murder and attempted murder commence with tragic results. The Latson Disappearance is a story of murder, mystery, intrigue, and all-too-human evil.

For a chance to win a signed copy of The Latson Disappearance, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Tom Fowler: The Latson Disappearance" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (2081) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends July 06, 2010.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memphis Beat Premieres Tomorrow, June 22nd, on TNT

Memphis Beat (TNT)

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 22nd, the new crime drama series Memphis Beat premieres on TNT at 10 PM (ET/PT).

Memphis Beat stars Jason Lee as Dwight Hendricks, a quirky Memphis police detective with an intimate connection to the city, a passion for blues music and a close relationship with his mother. He is "the keeper of Memphis," a Southern gentleman who is protective of his fellow citizens, reverential of the city's history and deeply rooted in its blues music scene. Despite his impeccable instincts as a detective, Dwight's loose, relaxed style of police work rubs his demanding new boss, Lt. Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard), the wrong way. But Dwight may eventually win her over to a Memphis state of mind, especially when he takes the stage at his favorite hangout to perform a legendary song or two.

Watch a series overview below:

HBO Renews True Blood for a Fourth Season

True Blood (HBO)

Less than a week after its third season premiere, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that HBO has renewed True Blood for a fourth season. Twelve episodes have been ordered (the same as this season).

True Blood is based on the Southern Vampire mysteries by Charlaine Harris, and star Anna Paquin as the series character, telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse. The most recent book in the series, Dead in the Family, its 10th, was published last month by Ace.

B&N Introduces Nook Wi-Fi

B&N Nook Wi-Fi

If you visited the Barnes&Noble website today you couldn't help but notice that the company has come out with a new version of its Nook eBook reader: the Nook Wi-Fi. Maybe the most surprising news is its price: $149. Among its features are a color touchscreen for navigation, free samples of any eBook sold by B&N, and the ability to share books for 14 days with friends. The press release has the complete details.

B&N also lowered the price of its existing Nook 3G Wireless and Wi-Fi to $199.

The Amazon Kindle, by comparison, looks positively dated and overpriced, not a good competitive combination.

Checkmate: The Complete Series, New This Week on DVD

Mysteries on TV

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 or Blu-ray disc, is profiling one series being released this week.

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Information on Checkmate: The Complete Series

Created by crime novelist Eric Ambler and filmed on the streets of San Francisco, revolved around private investigators and their quest to prevent crimes before they happen. The show's haunting, iconic music, composed by John Williams, is perfectly suited for Checkmate's San Francisco setting, of fog-filled streets, sweeping ocean views and cable cars.

Checkmate starred Anthony George as PI Don Corey and Doug McClure as his assistant Jed Sills. Sebastian Cabot starred as Carl Hyatt, a university criminology professor who served as a consultant to the firm.

The Checkmate: The Complete Series DVD set of 14 discs contain all episodes of the series, which aired for two seasons (from September 1960 through June 1962) on NBC.

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Visit our Mysteries on TV website to discover more television mystery series currently available on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 21, 2010

A 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!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for June 21, 2010

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A C D E J K L O Y

This amateur sleuth is featured in a series of horse racing mysteries by John McEvoy (9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page 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!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson (Book Review)

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Review of Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

An unlikely romance that may have been the motive for murder, a bumper crop of marijuana growing in a hidden tunnel, and a severed thumb are just a few of the things Sheriff Walt Longmire has to deal with in Junkyard Dogs, the sixth mystery in this series by Craig Johnson.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews.

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Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson
Buy Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

Junkyard Dogs

A Walt Longmire Mystery

Viking (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-670-02182-2 (0670021822)
ISBN-13: 978-0-670-02182-6 (9780670021826)
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $25.95

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leverage, Scoundrels, and The Gates Air Season / Series Premieres Tomorrow, June 20th

Mysteries on TV

After writing up our post on tomorrow's episode of Miss Marple on PBS Masterpiece Mystery, we noticed that our DVR is going to be busy indeed! Three other series or season premieres air tomorrow, Sunday June 20th.

On TNT at 9 PM (ET/PT), the third season of Leverage premieres. And not just with one episode, but with two, new, back-to-back episodes. The first episode, titled "The Jailhouse Job", opens with Nate in jail following his arrest at the end of last season. In order to save the life of an innocent inmate, he must bring down the corrupt warden of the Super-Max prison where he’s currently incarcerated and escape … whether he wants to or not. In the second episode, titled "The Reunion Job", the team infiltrates the high school reunion of an amoral software magnate to uncover a password to the IT department for the Axis of Evil.

Watch a preview of Leverage below:

Over at ABC, also at 9 PM (ET/PT), is the premiere of Scoundrels. In an episode titled "And Jill Came Tumbling After", a family of small-town criminals is shaken when their father is sentenced to a surprisingly long prison term, leaving mom to take care of the criminally enterprising brood. In an effort to keep her kids out of trouble, she decides it’s time for the family to go straight, despite their best efforts to maintain the status quo.

Catch a sneak peek of Scoundrels below:

Following Scoundrels at 10 PM (ET/PT), is the premiere of the mystery series The Gates. In the pilot, The Monohan family move into their new home in The Gates, an exclusive community of perfectly manicured lawns and friendly neighbors. But things grow complicated when Nick Monohan, the new Chief of Police, has to investigate those neighbors in a missing persons case during his first day on the job. Claire and Dylan Radcliff fight to hide not only their involvement in Nick’s case, but their rather unusual family secret. Meanwhile, Charlie Monohan tries to adjust to his new school, finding a friend in the beautiful but unavailable Andie Bates. Just when his family is finally settling in, Nick’s world is rocked by a late-night caller with some terrible news.

Get a first look at The Gates below:

Miss Marple in "The Secret of Chimneys" Airs Tomorrow on PBS Masterpiece Mystery!

PBS Masterpiece Mystery

Three weeks ago we missed the first of three new episodes of the fifth series airing this summer of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple featuring Julie McKenzie as the intrepid amateur sleuth on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery. We're determined not to miss the next two. (For the past two weeks, Masterpiece Mystery aired episodes from last season.)

Tomorrow, Sunday June 20th at 9 PM (ET/PT, but check your local listings to confirm times), is The Secret of Chimneys. History has been written within the walls of the stately Chimneys estate. But Chimneys luster was tarnished after a grand party that ended in the theft of a revered Indian diamond. Now, more than 20 years later, Miss Marple is accompanying Virginia Revel to Chimneys, her family home, for a weekend with Virginia's father Lord Caterham (Edward Fox), Austrian count Ludwig van Stainach and an odd array of other guests. But when Count Ludwig is found shot, it seems scandal has come again to Chimneys. Is there a coded message in the dead man's pocket? An esteemed chief inspector (Stephen Dillane) arrives from Scotland Yard, and with the clear thinking of Miss Marple, the two will uncover decades old secrets, and navigate through the smokescreen of perplexing clues to the truth of what happened at Chimneys.

The Secret of Chimneys was not originally written as a Miss Marple mystery by Agatha Christie. This adaptation is based on a 1925 novel of the same name that featured her infrequent series character Superintendent Battle.

Mystery Book Review: Elysiana by Chris Knopf

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Review of Elysiana by Chris Knopf

The lives of a large cast of characters intersect in random and wonderful ways during the summer of 1969 on a (fictional) barrier island off the coast of southern New Jersey in Elysiana, a stand-alone novel by Chris Knopf, author of two mystery series set in the Hamptons.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews.

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Elysiana by Chris Knopf
Buy Elysiana by Chris Knopf

Elysiana

Non-series

The Permanent Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-57962-198-8 (1579621988)
ISBN-13: 978-1-57962-198-8 (9781579621988)
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $28.00

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Samantha Swift and Sarah Maribu in New Games of Mystery Available to Download from Amazon.com

Games of Mystery

is pleased to announce this week's new mystery and suspense casual and adventure games available for immediate download from Amazon Video Games.

A complete list of downloadable mystery games is available on our Games of Mystery: Amazon Video Games Download page.

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Samantha Swift and the Mystery from Atlantis
Samantha Swift and the Mystery from Atlantis

Samantha Swift and the Mystery from Atlantis

More twists than ever before as archaeologist-adventurer Samantha Swift races across the globe in a daring search for the missing pieces to an Atlantean treasure. Dire consequences for humanity are at stake from a calculating new villain who crosses her path at every turn. Players can delve into more than 40 hidden-object adventure levels with clever puzzles to solve all along the way.

See also the previous games in this series, Samantha Swift and the Golden Touch and Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena

ESRB Rating: Not Specified.

Windows Vista/XP (156 MB download).

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Sarah Maribu and the Lost World
Sarah Maribu and the Lost World

Sarah Maribu and the Lost World

Sarah Maribu is off to explore an island full of Dinosaurs! After her grandfather tips her off to this ancient land, Sarah is off on a wild adventure! Upon arrival, her husband Michael goes missing and must be saved! Track down the dinosaur-worshipping natives and get Michael back! Collect incredible treasures and explore a mysterious island full of puzzles and hidden objects.

ESRB Rating: Not Specified.

Windows Vista/XP (186 MB download).

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is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun!

PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent, a New Game of Mystery from BFG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today and available to BFG Club members. You can find out more about these games by visiting our Mystery Games: Big Fish Download Games page or by clicking on the links provided below.

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PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent
PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent

Return to the terrifying PuppetShow in this spooky sequel! A young girl has been asleep for over two days, and the local doctors are at a loss. The townspeople believe her condition to be a curse emanating from a dark magician’s castle in the mountains, so it’s up to you to track down the cause of the curse and save the souls of the innocent! Dive into in this dark and mysterious hidden object game.

See also the exclusive PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent Collector's Edition for a more in-depth gaming experience, and the first game in this series, PuppetShow: Mystery of Joyville.

Also available: PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent Strategy Guide and a PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent Game Walkthrough.

PuppetShow: Souls of the Innocent may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (220.08 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read Ms. Terri's reviews of the adventure and casual mystery games featured on this site, including Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!, Enlightenus, and many more!

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cleopatra: A Queen's Destiny, a New Adventure Game of Mystery from BFG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today and available to BFG Club members. You can find out more about these games by visiting our Mystery Games: Big Fish Download Games page or by clicking on the links provided below.

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Cleopatra: A Queen's Destiny
Cleopatra: A Queen's Destiny

Alexandria, Egypt, 48 BC. The country is divided by civil war pitting Cleopatra's supporters against those of her brother and husband, Ptolemy, who is ravaging the country. In this climate of terror, Thomas, a young apprentice to Akkad, Cleopatra's astrologist and astronomist, falls in love with his master's daughter. One day, in horror, he discovers that both Master and daughter have been kidnapped.

Thomas sets out on their trail and learns in the course of his investigations that Cleopatra herself had asked Akkad to make a specific divination, and that the partisans of Ptolemy are behind the kidnapping. Cleopatra promises Thomas that in exchange for the tablets required for the divination, her gaurds will find the master and his daughter.

Thomas's investigations lead him to the discovery of Egypt's legendary sites such as the Library of Alexandria and the Lighthouse. Thomas also meets the Queen and a whole host of other mysteryious characters. Will he manage to save his Master and his loved one, so that together they can decipher the stars? Without the prophecy, the country will be lost: the destiny of Egypt and its Queen are in his hands.

Also available: Cleopatra: A Queen's Journey Game Walkthrough.

Cleopatra: A Queen's Destiny may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Due to its large size, a demonstration version is not available.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read Ms. Terri's reviews of the adventure and casual mystery games featured on this site, including Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!, Enlightenus, and many more!

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

4:50 from Paddington, a New Agatha Christie Game of Mystery from BFG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today and available to BFG Club members. You can find out more about these games by visiting our Mystery Games: Big Fish Download Games page or by clicking on the links provided below.

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Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington
Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington

While traveling through the English countryside, Miss Marple's old friend Elspeth McGillicuddy witnesses a frightful event through her train window: a woman being strangled in a passing train! With little evidence, no one will believe her. No one, that is, except her good friend, and amateur sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. Join the celebrated character on a hidden object hunt for the truth about what Mrs. Gillicuddy saw that fateful night!

See also the other games in this series: Agatha Christie: Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie: Peril at End House, and Agatha Christie: Dead Man's Folly.

Also available: Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington Game Walkthrough.

Agatha Christie: 4:50 from Paddington may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (42.46 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read Ms. Terri's reviews of the adventure and casual mystery games featured on this site, including Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!, Enlightenus, and many more!

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

 

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