Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mystery Book Review: A Dead Man in Barcelona by Michael Pearce

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

A Dead Man in Barcelona by Michael Pearce

A Seymour of Scotland Yard Mystery

Soho Constable (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-537-7 (1569475377)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-537-9 (9781569475379)
Publication Date: December 2008
List Price: $25.00

Review: Sandor Seymour of the Special Branch of Scotland Yard investigates a cold case, the mysterious death of an Englishman some two years previous, in A Dead Man in Barcelona, the fifth mystery in this series by Michael Pearce.

Sam Lockhart, a businessman based in Gibraltar, had been arrested as part of a general crack-down by the Spanish government during what was popularly known as "Tragic Week", a week in mid-summer 1909 when conscripts from Catalonia were ordered to fight a war in Spanish Morocco but rioted instead. "And this man Lockhart was mixed up in it?" asks the Deputy Commissioner. "Apparently," replies Seymour. "It sounds even less our kind of thing," says the Deputy Commissioner. "In fact, it doesn't sound our kind of thing at all." It turns out the man was poisoned in his cell, murdered by any other name. The Spanish authorities, years later, still haven't issued their official report. "But two years ... when is the report expected?" asks Seymour. "Soon," the prison governor replies, "Soon." Still, Seymour jumps at the chance to investigate, if not for truly altruistic reasons. For it is in Barcelona that he arranges to meet Chantale, the woman he intends to marry.

At scarcely 200 pages, A Dead Man in Barcelona is a mystery of modest length, yet it is filled with rich details of the period and place. But this is a hallmark of the books in this series, where the reader is transported back in time and immersed in the events being investigated by Seymour. More driven by character than plot, the narrative nonetheless introduces several potential lines of inquiry for Seymour to explore. In the end, he says, "The difficult thing for me was to distance myself from everyone's suggestions. Everyone thought they knew the answer and was eager to give it to me. Before they had been asked the questions."

A Dead Man in Barcelona is a solid entry in this series that, although comparable in many ways to the author's mysteries featuring the Mamur Zapt, continues to establish its own unique identity.

Special thanks to Soho Press for providing an ARC of A Dead Man in Barcelona for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Barcelona, 1912, a city still recovering from the dramatic incidents of the so-called "Tragic Week" when Catalonian conscripts bound for the unpopular war in Spanish Morocco had rebelled at the city's dockside against the royalist forces. In the fighting, many were killed, and afterward, even more imprisoned, including an Englishman, who was later found dead in his cell.

The dead man had been a prominent businessman in Gibraltar, so what was he doing in Barcelona? And how did he really meet his end, murdered in a prison cell? The case, in Gibraltar's view, cries out for investigation -- and by someone independent of the Spanish authorities. So Scotland Yard dispatches Seymour of the Special Branch.

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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Games of Mystery: The Serpent of Isis, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

The Serpent of Isis

In the early 1900's the legendary artwork The Serpent of Isis was stolen at the grand opening of the Egypt Museum in Cairo. Originally discovered by your grandfather, you have been searching for the missing masterpiece your entire adult life. One day, a mysterious letter arrives indicating that the person who possesses the artwork can be found on board the Mont Palu Express. Catch the train and solve the ancient mystery!

The Serpent of Isis, a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. A demonstration version (100.97 MB) may be downloaded and played for one hour for free. The Serpent of Isis Strategy Guide is also available.

Watch a preview video below:


Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, the Carol Reed mystery Remedy, Mystery Legends: Sleepy Hollow, Mystery Chronicles: Murder Among Friends, and Lost Realms: Legacy of the Sun Princess.

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases


And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Angel Food and Devil Dogs by Liz Bradbury

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Angel Food and Devil Dogs by Liz Bradbury. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Angel Food and Devil Dogs by Liz Bradbury

A Maggie Gale Mystery

Boudica Publishing (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-9800549-1-5 (0980054915)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9800549-1-0 (9780980054910)
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $14.95

Review: Liz Bradbury introduces former police officer, now private investigator Maggie Gale as she looks into the suspicious suicide of a college professor in Angel Food and Devil Dogs.

Dr. Carl Rasmus, a blind music history professor at the local college, killed himself by jumping over a balcony from the top of a 6-story building. He left a suicide note indicating his intention, and the police are satisfied with closing the case. But the college's new president, Dr. Max Bouchet, isn't convinced. He hires Maggie to look more closely into the circumstances surrounding his suicide. Maggie tends to agree with Bouchet's assessment. When she visits the building's rooftop, she ponders, "How did he even know there was a balcony? Where did he get the key [to the locked French doors]? How did he know there wasn't a huge awning under the balcony that would break his fall? The whole thing seemed implausible. Killing a blind man wouldn't have been that hard to do ... but Carl had left a suicide note in a locked room ... and that I couldn't explain."

Angel Food and Devil Dogs has basically a locked room, impossible crime scenario, always a promising premise for a mystery. And for the most part, the story delivers on that promise. Maggie Gale is a multi-dimensional character who takes her job and her relationships seriously. Being a former cop, she understands the investigative process and she steps right in when a life is in jeopardy, endangering herself as well. Her developing relationship with a college faculty member, Dr. Kathryn Anthony, is sweetly told, and even better for the book, is an integral part of the mystery. The clues to the explanation behind Rasmus' suicide are peppered throughout, and Maggie cleverly pieces them together to discover the who, how, and why. All well and good.

A few things don't work, however. The opening investigation involving Mickey is a distraction, sets the wrong tone for the book, and really has no place in the story. The dialog is frequently stilted and the narrative at times uneven. A more critical eye towards editing would have helped here. But most disappointing is the inclusion of homophobia into the story. It seems every gay or lesbian novelist seems obliged to have one or more homophobic characters, or to make homophobia the motive for a crime. It's a tired and overworked cliché for this genre. Angel Food and Devil Dogs is a strong enough mystery, with a compelling well-developed plot and sufficiently interesting suspects with credible motives, that the homophobic references in the end are not only unnecessary, they actually weaken the book. The author should have had more confidence in her story, and her readers, and omitted them.

Special thanks to Boudica Publishing for providing a copy of Angel Food and Devil Dogs for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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If you are interested in purchasing Angel Food and Devil Dogs from, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): As private detective Maggie Gale works to prove the innocence of a mentally challenged pinball wizard who's been arrested for murder, she is called to college president Max Bouchet's office to discuss the suspicious suicide of a gay professor. There, Maggie shakes hands with the attractive Dr. Kathryn Anthony, who smiles at her with a faint but unmistakable touch of lust. Maggie is hired and meets a collection of quirky suspects, one of whom might just be a murderer. Maggie's humorous and caring friends and family support her as she works against escalating danger, and toward escalating romantic encounters with Kathryn. Will Maggie untangle both mysteries? Will the sexual tension swirling around Maggie and Kathryn pull them together? Or will the murderer target Maggie before she gets either chance?

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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Hudson Entertainment Announces Miami Law for Nintendo DS

Miami Law for Nintendo DS

Hudson Entertainment announced in a press release yesterday that it intends to transform gamers into crime solvers in Miami Law for the Nintendo DS.

Miami Law is an action-adventure game packed with all of the ingredients of a prime-time TV show: an intricate storyline with a shadowy terrorist conspiracy, furious shoot-outs in abandoned warehouses, challenging crime-scene detective work and more. Players will have many opportunities to choose their path and change the story -- either as the intense Law Martin from the Miami PD or the brainy Sara Starling from the FBI. Players will be presented with different challenges depending on which character they pick -- playing as Sara will feature a puzzle-based, mystery solving element, whereas playing with Law will thrust the player into the action, often into car chases or shoot-outs where taking out the bad guys is the only way to get results.

Miami Law is scheduled for release in June 2009.

You can find more mystery games for the Nintendo DS on our website, .

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Looking Twice: An Interview with Andrew Gross

' third thriller, and the second to feature Connecticut police detective Ty Hauck, Don't Look Twice, is being published next week by William Morrow. Mystery Books News is pleased to post an interview with the author provided by the publisher in which Andrew talks about the book, a sequel to The Dark Tide (which we reviewed last year, calling it "a must-read for thriller fans and those looking for high-stakes adventure"; read our review at ).

Looking Twice: An Interview with Andrew Gross

One of the strongest appeals that readers often cite about your writing are the complex web of family ties and family relationship dynamics that weave throughout your stories. In Don't Look Twice, you explore the bond between two brothers -- as well as the parent/child relationship (across two sets of characters). What draws you to focus so deeply on family in your novels? Why do you think that quality is so compelling for readers?

Andrew Gross
photo courtesy William Morrow

It’s never my precise goal to write “crime” novels, but to write stories about compelling, human situations in which a crime, or some other world-shattering event, takes place. My stories are rooted in the drama of broken trust, of calm disturbed, when something a person counts on for sure turns out to be false. The family unit is the most universal one where a rupture can feel the most traumatic. I know I’m not exactly the first to work with this material. Our most compelling stories and myths are tales of families in conflict going all the way back to Genesis.

Your previous novel, The Dark Tide, literally started with a bang. We're sensing a precedent, especially as we begin reading Don't Look Twice and our heart is in our throats in the first scene. How important is the opening scene of your novels? What do you think it has to do to be successful? How do you come up with them?

Well, call it my Patterson training, but I believe in hooking the reader in conflict right from the start. It doesn’t always have to be a bomb or a shooting. In The Blue Zone, it was a happy, prosperous family torn apart by a father’s arrest. My goal is to make the reader care about the character quickly -- in a few pages -- and then rip the rug out from under that security. Don't Look Twice is different, in that the hero and his daughter are thrust into the middle of that action from the starting bell. I think readers will care for Hauck because of the way he handles himself and protects his daughter as the bullets are flying.

Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross
Don't Look Twice
by Andrew Gross

This is set in a relatively small town, mostly in Greenwich, Connecticut ... but it has global implications, from New York City to Asia to the Middle East. Can you tell us a little about the way corporate misdeeds can have massive, global, political repercussions?

Greenwich is a perfect “small” place with universal dimensions. It is the home to hedge fund barons and powerful CEOs. Yet, as I like to say, it’s a town of yoga moms and dads who cheer their kids’ teams from the sidelines. So what happens in the “big” world filters down to the small world pretty quickly. My books are also about conspiracies, and ultimately, the people behind them, who are not bigger than life, or twisted, evil doers, but people we all might know, and people for whom, greed, fraud, and deceit are part of the corporate misdeeds. People who have been tilted off the moral plane by the evil in life.

Yet the large scale issues you write of also have ramifications that feel so intimate, life-changing, and personal -- tell us how you bring it back home to your readers?

Like I said, these “macro events” are only the public arena for the drama that’s really playing out behind the scenes. For me, the seeds of corruption and cover-up that pit two brothers against each other, as in Don't Look Twice, are much more compelling than what happens in the boardrooms and statehouses. The death of Hauck’s closest comrade is the true cost of deceit, not the profits or loss.

How much of the scandal and intrigue that you write about in Don't Look Twice is based on fact, and how much is conjecture?

I live more in that hedge fund world than I do artists and writers, around here, so a lot of what goes on in my books are threads that I pick up. I don’t think of myself as a “topical” writer, meaning I’m not combing the headlines for ideas, but The Dark Tide is rooted in the question, “what happens when you invest billions for some of the most dangerous people in the world---and then you lose every penny?” In this post-Madoff world, just last month, the front page of the New York Times reported on an Austrian fund manager who had to go underground to save himself from that very fear. And Don't Look Twice ends up in a military corruption scheme that will also be familiar to those who watch the news.

Ty Hauck, the Greenwich cop who is the "white knight" of both The Dark Tide and Don't Look Twice, finds himself in some unlikely places (once again) -- such as in the pit boss' lair in one of Connecticut's native casinos. What motivates you to put him in such high-stakes situations?

The nature of Hauck’s worthiness is the question of whether he can go up against the modern day “fortresses” of people far more powerful and connected than he is. Some of what he does is literally in defense of “the damsel.” And some of it is simply the dogged, age old mission for the truth. He is a romantic, and is rooted in the trenches. Each book seems to have him asking, am I capable? Am I the person to do this? Yet the true triumph is always when Hauck outwits and defeats forces that he cannot even imagine bringing down.

What's next for Hauck ... and for Andy Gross?

To me, it was hard to set these books around New York City and Greenwich and not deal with the financial meltdown. So the next book pits Hauck in the middle of a group of conspirators who use vulnerable fund managers to bring an already teetering economy to its knees. For me, the struggle is for the whole story not to be too gloomy -- especially when it deals with the personal side of what’s going on today -- because I don’t believe in gloomy, especially for escapist fiction. But again, I think Hauck will find himself on a similar quest.


Many thanks to William Morrow for giving us the opportunity to publish this interview with Andrew Gross.

Visit our website for a list of all hardcover mysteries scheduled for publication in March 2009.

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Mystery Bestsellers for February 27, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending February 27, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No change in the top 2 bestselling mysteries this week with and retaining the top two positions this week with their respective thrillers, The Associate and Run for Your Life. And 's latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, Among the Mad, takes the biggest jump this week, moving into 4th position.

Promises in Death by J. D. Robb

Debuting in the 9th position this week is Promises In Death, the 28th mystery in the Eve Dallas series by J. D. Robb. Amaryllis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she's been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assailant. When she's taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn't just "one of us." Dallas's friend Chief Medical Examiner Morris had started a serious relationship with Coltraine, and from all accounts the two were headed for a happy future together. But someone has put an end to all that. After breaking the news to Morris, Eve starts questioning everyone, including Coltraine's squad, informants, and neighbors, while Eve's husband, Roarke, digs into computer data on the dead woman's life back in Atlanta. To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts. The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve, containing Coltraine's guns, badge, and a note from her killer: "You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I'll be sending yours to somebody else." But Eve Dallas doesn't take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that's a promise. Publishers Weekly says that "Robb (aka Nora Roberts) has a real gift for keeping this long-running thriller series fresh."

Night and Day by Robert B. Parker

Also new this week in 12th position is the 8th Jesse Stone mystery, Night and Day by . Police chief Jesse Stone has received his share of unusual calls, but none can top the one from the local junior high school. When reports of lewd conduct by the school’s principal, Betsy Ingersoll, filter into the station, Jesse is faced with a particularly delicate situation. Jesse, of course, would like nothing more than to see the prim, peculiar Ingersoll punished. But Betsy Ingersoll is married to the managing partner of the biggest law firm in the state, and Jay Ingersoll wants the matter buried. And he is used to getting what he wants. At the same time, the women of Paradise are being threatened by a tormented voyeur, dubbed “The Night Hawk,” who’s been scouring suburban neighborhoods as evening falls. Initially he’s content to simply peer through windows, but as pressure builds, he becomes more reckless, entering homes, forcing his victims to strip at gunpoint, then photographing them at their most vulnerable. And according to the notes he’s sending, he’s not satisfied to stop there. It’s up to Jesse to catch the Night Hawk, before it’s too late. [MBN note: The 5th Jesse Stone made-for-television movie, , airs this Sunday, March 1st at 9 PM ET on CBS.]

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.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Associate by John GrishamRun for Your Life by James PattersonThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAmong the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

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, February 26, 2009

eHarlequin's Free Book Friday: Deadly Night by Heather Graham gives you another reason to love Fridays! Buy two or more books on any Friday and they'll give you their weekly featured book absolutely free! That's right, every Friday, enjoy a featured free book with the purchase of two or more other titles! (Your free book will automatically be added to your cart.)

This Friday's free book (02/27/2009):

Deadly Night by Heather Graham

Deadly Night by Heather Graham
The Flynn Brothers Trilogy (Book 1)

The Flynn brothers have inherited more than a New Orleans plantation. They've inherited a ghostly presence … and a long-kept secret.

Aidan Flynn, a private investigator and eldest of the Flynn brothers, scoffs at the haunted-house rumors -- especially since Kendall Montgomery, a tarot card reader who has been living in the mansion, is the one to tell him the tale of a woman in white. But when he finds a human bone on the grounds and another by the river, Aidan delves into the dark history of the Flynn plantation.

Forced together to uncover the truth, Aidan and Kendall realize that a serial killer whose victims seem to vanish into thin air has long been at work … and that their own fates are about to be sealed forever unless they believe in the unbelievable.

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Mysteries on DVD Review: On the Other Hand, Death

Mysteries on DVD: Mystery Books that have been Adapted into Screenplays and Made into Movies

We're still in the process of setting up a new website with reviews of mystery TV shows and movies which may (or may not) have a separate blog. In the meantime, we'll continue to post our television and film reviews here on and advise you of when the new site is up.

Film: . Original release date: July 25, 2008 (TV premiere); DVD release date: February 24, 2009.

On the Other Hand, Death

Donald Strachey (Chad Allen), Timmy Callahan (Sebastian Spence), Dorothy Fisher (Margot Kidder), Edith Strong (Gabrielle Rose), Andrew McWhirter (Damon Runyan). Directed by Ron Oliver. Screenplay adapted from the novel On the Other Hand, Death by .

On the Other Hand, Death is the third film in the Donald Strachey mystery series produced by here! television and based on the novels by Richard Stevenson (a pseudonym used by journalist Richard Lipez). I have previously watched and reviewed the first movie, , and have watched the second (Shock to the System) but not yet reviewed it. The series stars Chad Allen as gay private investigator Donald Strachey, and is set in Albany, New York.

Strachey and his partner Timmy Callahan are invited to the home of a lesbian couple, Dorothy and Edith, where Timmy's former college boyfriend Andrew is staying. The couple's home has recently been vandalized with hate messages spray-painted around the home and out-buildings. Strachey agrees to investigate and learns that a land developer has been trying to buy up acreage in the community for an outlet mall, but Dorothy and Edith have refused to sell. He wonders if the vandalism is less a hate crime than an attempt to force the couple to sell their home.

On the Other Hand, Death

Like the previous two movies, On the Other Hand Death tries to incorporate a noir-like quality to the film, with mixed success. The movie is filmed in muted colors, mostly in scenes of browns and yellows or dark grays and blues, with a heavy emphasis on shadows. While it doesn't always work, and for the most part it's unnecessary, it is clear from a production stand-point that this movie is the best of the three filmed to date. From art direction to sound editing, this is a first-rate made-for-television production.

Chad Allen seems more confident with his character here, and it shows in his portrayal of Donald Strachey, an old-fashioned private investigator whose only concession to modern technology seems to be a cell phone. Sebastian Spence continues to play Timmy Callahan as a stuffed shirt. Having read the early books in this series over 20 years ago, I honestly don't remember how his character is depicted by the author, but Timmy here, as in the previous movies, seems out of place and just this side of being annoying. The contrast between Strachey and Timmy is, no doubt, intentional and serves at times to offer comic relief during transitional scenes.

On the Other Hand, Death

The nearly unrecognizable Margot Kidder is a refreshing, nay inspiring, choice for the role of Dorothy. She portrays an activist guidance counselor for troubled teens and plays the part with both style and substance. Her partner, Edith, is brilliantly played by Gabrielle Rose.

The plot, and it's a good one, may, however, be a bit too convoluted for a 90 minute movie. As in any good mystery, there's a fair amount of credible misdirection and, as Strachey wryly notes at one point, it's hard to overlook the simultaneous occurrence of two disparate events and not be suspicious, so the outcome may be somewhat predicable. But still, the various plot threads all come together too quickly in the final few minutes. For a movie that took its time carefully laying a complex foundation of intersecting storylines, the denouement has a rushed, and ultimately somewhat unsatisfactory, feel to it.

On the Other Hand, Death

Not unexpectedly, there is a slightly heavy hand by the filmmakers on the importance of tolerance and understanding in the gay community. The film makes a couple of unnecessary detours to explore these issues that add little to the story, time that could have been better spent smoothing out some of the rough edges in the plot.

On balance, though, On the Other Hand, Death with its strong performances is a fine addition to this mystery series.

The fourth movie in the series, Ice Blues, had its television premiere last fall. No date has yet been set for the DVD release.

The DVD of On the Other Hand, Death is available to purchase from Mysteries on DVD, your source for movies that have been adapted from mystery books.

Reviewed on February 26, 2009 by Mr. E., television and movie critic for Mystery Books News.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Omnimystery — All Rights Reserved.

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New Hardcover Mysteries for March 2009

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in March 2009.

As we've done for several months now, we're listing those authors with returning series characters, new series characters, and non-series or stand-alone mysteries in separate sections. All titles are available on our page. We're also using the "carousel" widget by to display a random selection of titles; refreshing this page will change the selection displayed.

Authors with mysteries having returning series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Jamaica Wild), (Trudy Roundtree), (Aimee Leduc), (Molly Murphy), (Mick Sever), (Ellie Haskell), (Callie Anson), (Theodosia Browning, Tea Shop), (Myron Bolitar), (Frank Frolich), (The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters), Clive Cussler and Jack DuBrul (Oregon Files), (Lucinda Pierce), (Hannah Swensen), (Adelia Aguilar), (Jonathan Stride), (Yashim Togalu), (Phryne Fisher), (Ty Hauck), David Hagberg (McGarvey), (Abbot Agency), (Nic Costa), (Lomax and Biggs), Philip Kerr (Bernard Gunther), (Mike Yeager), (Pucci Lewis), (John Hutchinson), (Leigh Girard), (Isabel Spellman), (Anna Winthrop), (Maureen Paschal), (William Monk), Bill Pronzini (Nameless Detective), (Alan Banks), (Vin Cooper), (Grace Descanso), (Emil Brod), (Frank Flynn, Desert Sky), (Joe Donovan), (Doc Ford), (Chen Cao)

Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Daniel Knox), (Black Sallie Blue Eyes), (Carmen Pollini), (David Spandau), (Cornish), (Moses Reed and Aaron Fox), (Cassidy Lowell), (Leonid McGill), (Chico Santana), (Birch Ritter), (Bruno, Chief of Police)

Authors with non-series or stand-alone mysteries this month:

, Janet Burroway, Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis, , , Joy Fielding, , William R. Forstchen, , , Katy Gardner, Matt Haig, , Bill James, , , , Richard Lowry and Keith Korman, , , , Michael Murray, , Otto Penzler, Jodi Picoult, Jonathan Rabb, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Karen Robards, , , , , Stephen Solomita, Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower, , Andrew Taylor, Barbara Vine, Walter Jon Williams,

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with March 2009 releases.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mysteries on TV: Jesse Stone Thin Ice Airs This Sunday on CBS

Mysteries on TV

Set your DVRs! The fifth Jesse Stone movie, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, is scheduled to air this Sunday, March 1st, on CBS (9 PM ET).

Yesterday, CBS released the cast and production credits for the made-for-television movie. In addition to starring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, returning characters include Kathy Baker as Rose Gammon and Kohl Sudduth as Luther "Suitcase" Simpson. The movie was filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone, Thin Ice

In a synopsis provided by the network, Paradise (Massachusetts) Police Chief Jesse Stone finds himself in trouble with the Town Council when he inadvertently becomes involved in a shoot-out on a Boston street. His friend, State Homicide Commander Healy, is seriously wounded and Jesse comes under investigation by the Boston Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, which causes him to be away from Paradise for extended periods of time.

Thin Ice is the fifth movie in this series of telemovies based on the character created by , but the first not to be adapted from on any of the existing mystery books. The previous four movies, all highly recommended by MBN, are available on DVD from .

A sixth movie, . No air date has been set.

Please visit 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.

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First Clues Review: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is delighted to introduce a new feature for our website, book reviews written by students. These students offer their unique perspective on the book in their review and provide a valuable resource to parents looking for new mystery adventures for their kids to read.

The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley

The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley

Amulet (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-8109-9323-6 (0810993236)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8109-9323-5 (9780810993235)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $6.95

Review written by Tiffany, Age 12, Grade 6. Date of review: February 2009.

Review: Blood-red handprints have been showing up everywhere: Sabrina and Daphne's parents old abandoned car, the school chalkboard, murder scenes, rooftops, and asylums! The girls are hot on the tail of The Scarlet Hand and know they will get closer as time goes by! But will they ever actually catch her? Find out in The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley. This book was published in 2005. Fans of the first book The Fairy-Tale Detectives were overjoyed when this book was published.

There is a murderer or murderers roaming around the school. Sabrina and Daphne need to figure out who is murdering all of the school staff! The girls find half-girl half-frogs, giant spiders, and monstrous children. The girls and Puck must sneak around the school to figure out who has been murdering people. Sabrina accuses every Everafter in sight, believing one is responsible for her parents kidnapping. They even fight off Jabberwockies and murderers along the way to figuring out who is killing many people and maybe even getting one step closer to figuring out who had stolen their parents and why.

I honestly loved this book. It is full of fairy-tales and fables with an odd twist on them. I think it was really cool how the author turned fairy-tales and child's play into something that could give little children nightmares! He managed to make them as though they lived in today's real community, and among us all. It seems he could have experienced it all before. Michael Buckley is an amazing author and I among others honor his great writing skills! I would suggest this book and any others in his series in a flash!

Buy from

If you are interested in purchasing The Unusual Suspects from, please click the button to the right.

is pleased to provide information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults. Each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older). If you have a favorite mystery series you'd like to see added to our site, please contact us.

All student book reviews are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner, print or electronic, without the express written consent of the copyright owner. Reviews are published here with permission of the copyright owner.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sleuthfest Begins Tomorrow in Deerfield Beach, Florida

Sleuthfest begins tomorrow afternoon, February 28, 2009, with Third Degree Thursday, workshops presented by masters of the craft, manuscript critiques, and seminars on the business side of writing. The conference itself runs Friday through Sunday morning.

Hosted by the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Sleuthfest is being held at the Deerfield Beach Hilton in Deerfield Beach, Florida (see map). Special guests of honor this year are authors and .

Visit the Sleuthfest website for registration information and a schedule of events.

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Her Interactive Announces 20th Game in the Nancy Drew Series

Nancy Drew Games from Her Interactive

Her Interactive announced in a press release today the 20th installment in their popular Nancy Drew series of mystery games, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Seas.

"Our 20th game in the series is a great milestone for us, and our 2009 lineup promises to enhance the franchise in subtle ways that could attract an even wider audience," said Megan Gaiser, President and CEO of Her Interactive.

In Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, Nancy Drew, and her best friends Bess and George travel to the Bahamas for a fun-filled vacation when Bess is suddenly kidnapped and held for ransom. Throughout the game, players assume the role of either Nancy or George, depending on the scene, as they search for the missing artifact from the “Seven Virtues” fleet that will rescue Bess from the kidnappers. During the quest for the lost treasure, players will immerse themselves in the Bahamas diving, sailing, and interacting with wildlife. They will also decrypt a riddle book, unlock treasure chests and explore dangerous underwater shipwrecks.

Rated E for Everyone, the game is expected to be available in July 2009.

You can find all games in the Nancy Drew series, including those available for the PC, Nintendo Wii and DS, and for immediate download, on our website, .

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Mystery Book Review: The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

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

The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

A Charlie Hood Mystery

Dutton (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-525-95095-8 (0525950958)
ISBN-13: 978-0-525-95095-0 (9780525950950)
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $26.95

Review: Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood searches for those responsible for killing his partner in The Renegades, a sequel to L. A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker.

For six months now, Hood has been working the swing shift in Antelope Valley, the Siberia of the Sheriff’s Department authority, but that's just fine with him. There's nothing but trouble for him downtown. He prefers driving alone through the valley and the desert. But not tonight. Tonight he's been assigned a partner, one Terry Laws, a well-liked, much-admired veteran of the department known by everyone as "Mr. Wonderful". Assisting two men on a routine call for the Housing Authority, Laws is gunned down in their car with a shot through the passenger side window. Hood is able to slide out of the driver’s side, but held down by gun fire. He, too, could have been killed but wasn’t. Was it fate that saved him? Or did the shooter, someone wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap with a "D" on it, and a red, Western-style bandana folded into a triangle over his face, intentionally miss him? Maybe Mr. Wonderful wasn't so wonderful after all and had something to hide. Hood is summoned to Internal Affairs and finds himself looking into the shooting.

Just who was Terry Laws? Know the target, and you'll know the shooter, or so he is told. And the target, as Hood soon finds out, was hardly a model cop. Hood learns that Laws' previous partner, Coleman Draper, is involved in the importation of drugs from Mexico, and suspects Mr. Wonderful was as well. Since he cannot enter Mexico to hunt down the lawbreakers, he must be patient until he can apprehend them in California. And he doesn't have long to wait.

The Renegades is a beautifully crafted thriller. Parker infuses his story with rich details of the setting, visions of the barren desert and the lofty mountains, which add depth and intensity to the plot. The superbly drawn characters are intriguing, especially Charlie Hood who, just 29 years old, is far more complex than his young age would indicate. And the suspenseful plot, what drives the story forward with its unfolding sequence of revelations, will capture the reader's imagination and not let go.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Renegades and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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If you are interested in purchasing The Renegades from, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Some say that outlaws no longer exist, that the true spirit of the American West died with the legendary bandits of pulp novels and bedtime stories. Charlie Hood knows that nothing could be further from the truth. These days he patrols vast stretches of the new American West, not on horseback but in his cruiser. The outlaws may not carry six-shooters, but they’re strapped all the same.

Along the desolate and dusty roads of this new frontier, Hood prefers to ride alone, and he prefers to ride at night. At night, his headlights illuminate only the patch of pavement ahead of him: all the better to hide from the demons -- and the dead outlaws -- receding in his rearview mirror.

But he doesn’t always get what he wants -- certainly not when he’s assigned a partner named Terry Laws, a county veteran who everyone calls “Mr. Wonderful.” And not when Laws is shot dead in the passenger seat and Hood is left to bear witness by someone who knew that Mr. Wonderful didn’t always live up to his nickname. As he sets out to find the gunman, Hood knows one thing for sure: The West is a state of mind, one where the bad guys sometimes wear white hats -- and the good guys seek justice in whatever shade of gray they can find it.

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 Awards: Nominees for the 2008 Agatha Award Announced

Mystery Book Awards: The Edgars, The Agathas, The Anthonys, and many more.

The nominees for this year's were announced today by Malice Domestic. The award, named in honor of Agatha Christie, is given out annually to the best "traditional mysteries" (in several categories) published in the previous year.

For Best Novel, the nominees are:

Six Geese A-Slaying by (St. Martin's Minotaur)
A Royal Pain by (Penguin Group)
The Cruelest Month by (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Buckingham Palace Gardens by (Random House)
I Shall Not Want by (St. Martin's Minotaur)

For Best First Novel, the nominees are:

Through a Glass, Deadly by (Berkley Prime Crime)
by (Penguin Group)
Pushing Up Daisies by (St. Martin's Minotaur)
by (Midnight Ink)
by (Midnight Ink)

And for Best Children's / Young Adult, the nominees are:

Into the Dark by Peter Abrahams (Harper Collins)
A Thief in the Theater, A Kit Mystery by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl Publishers)
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Children's Books)
The Great Circus Train Robbery by Nancy Means Wright (Hilliard & Harris)

Read mystery book reviews at Mysterious Reviews indicates a review by .

The winners in the above categories as well as for Best Non-Fiction and Best Short Story will be announced at the Agatha Awards banquet on May 02, 2009, during Malice Domestic Convention in Arlington (VA).

Congratulations from everyone at Mystery Books News to the nominees!

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Two Canadian Crime Dramas to Air in US

Two crime dramas from our neighbors to the north will soon be available on US network television.

CTV reported last week that its original series The Bridge, which it only recently ordered into production, has been picked up by CBS. Inspired by the insights of veteran insider and outspoken former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, The Bridge provides an unflinching look at the struggle street cops face as they battle criminals -- and their own bosses -- in order to protect society and, ultimately, themselves. Production is scheduled to begin this May in Toronto.

And yesterday, CBC reported that its series The Border has been sold to ION Television. The Border, which returns for its third season this fall on CBC, follows the Immigration and Customs Security team as it monitors the US / Canada border, largest undefended border in the world. ION expects to air the series on its cable channel later this year.

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Games of Mystery: Paranormal Agency, New at PlayFirst Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce a special price for a mystery game available from PlayFirst Games. You can find out more about these games from our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Paranormal Agency

Heather Mills is a detective with paranormal abilities that allows her to see ghosts and mysterious objects that are not visible to other people in Paranormal Agency. Use her special sight to solve paranormal crimes, solve puzzling mini-games, and banish poltergeists from the city! Discover phenomenal events with Heather and find out who is guilty in this hidden object mystery!

Paranormal Agency is available to purchase for $9.95 with the PlayPass program. A trial version is available to download for a 60 minutes of play (Windows PC, 29.8 MB).

Other popular games on our page include other Mystery PI games, Mystery P.I.: The Vegas Heist and Mystery P.I.: The Lottery Ticket, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet, and Private Eye.

And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Author Online Book Tour: Barbara Levenson, Fatal February, Giveaway Winner

Author Book Tour

Mystery Books News is pleased to have coordinated last week's online book tour for whose new mystery, Fatal February, was published earlier this month by Oceanview Publishing. Fatal February is the author's debut mystery and features Mary Magruder Katz, a criminal defense attorney in Miami.

Fatal February by Barbara Levenson

As part of the tour, visitors to each host site could pick up a unique PIN to be used to enter a giveaway for a signed copy of Fatal February.

Today we're thrilled to announce that Nikki from Hebron (KY) was the lucky winner after visiting Booking Mama!

We encourage you to visit each of the tour sites to read reviews of Fatal February, interviews with Barbara, and several guest posts written by the author. During the tour, Barbara revealed her second book in the Mary Magruder Katz series will be published next year by Oceanview and will be titled Justice in June.

Her tour page can be found at Author Book Tour: Barbara Levenson.

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