Friday, July 07, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (07/07/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending July 07, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

12 Sharp by Janet Evanovich remains at the top of all four lists this week, with The Husband by Dean Koontz being a close second on three of the lists, third at Barnes & Noble.com.

New this week is the 8th thriller in the Sigma Force series, Black Order by James Rollins. Black Order by James Rollins A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore ignites a relentless hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory. And Commander Gray Pierce dives headlong into a mystery that dates back to Nazi Germany. Publishers Weekly calls Black Order "inventive" and states "... every time the author appears to have stretched too far, he saves the read by throwing in a fascinating scientific or historical fact, plus a scene of heart-pumping action."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of The Bullet Trick by Louise Welsh. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Bullet Trick by Louise WelshSynopsis (from the publisher): Meet William Wilson, a floundering so-called mentalist, conjurer, and above all — despite frequently being the opening act for strippers — a master performer. When his agent books him for a string of cabaret gigs in Berlin, he's hoping his luck's on the turn. Among the showgirls and grifters of Berlin's scandalous underground, Wilson can forget his lonely heart, his muddled head, and, more important, his past. But secrets have a habit of catching up with William and as he gets in over his head with a certain brand of lucrative after-hours work, the line between what's an act and what's real starts to blur.

Review: The Bullet Trick is a stylish, noir thriller in addition to being a character study of one William Wilson, an introverted illusionist performing in modern Berlin.

There are two mysteries that run in parallel in The Bullet Trick. The narrative alternates between two time frames: one set in Berlin and taking place before some life-altering event, and the other set largely in Glasgow and taking place a year after this event. What happened between Berlin and Glasgow that caused such a drastic change in William Wilson is the first mystery.

The second mystery has to do with a missing person. Though often the more interesting storyline, it is less important to the overall plot of the book than the events leading up to the first mystery.

William Wilson isn't the most appealing of characters, but the reader is quickly swept up into his life and cares what happens to him. The alternating time frames help keep the reader's attention on William as he is the only fixed point of reference in the story.

Welsh writes exceedingly descriptive prose which usually makes for atmospheric settings, but at times seems overdone. And though the conclusion is not unexpected, it could have been written more in the noir style of most of the book instead of the somewhat mawkish approach chosen by the author.

Special thanks to Grove Atlantic for providing the ARC of The Bullet Trick for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited 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 Contest: Win a Set of Signed Mysteries by Lori Avocato!

New! The Perils of Pauline Contest is now available on The Mystery Book Contest Website. Enter daily through September 05, 2006, for a chance to win a complete set of all four published Pauline Sokol mysteries by Lori Avocato, each personally signed by the author!

The mysteries featured in this prize package are:

A Dose of Murder, the first Pauline Sokol mystery, with the former nurse and newly minted private investigator going undercover investigating fake insurance claims.

The Stiff and the Dead, where Pauline investigates a prescription for murder in a local senior's center.

One Dead Under the Cuckoo's Nest, with Pauline investigating a sleazy psychiatric scam.

Deep Sea Dead, with Pauline on the high seas undercover as a nurse on a luxury cruise ship.
A Dose of Murder by Lori AvocatoThe Stiff and the Dead by Lori AvocatoOne Flew Under the Cuckoo's Nest by Lori AvocatoDeep Sea Dead by Lori Avocato
Lori Avocato is an Air Force veteran, registered nurse, and award-winning author who often uses her military, medical, or a combination of both backgrounds, in her plots.

The Perils of Pauline Contest is sponsored by Lori Avocato, the author of the Pauline Sokol mysteries, Book Trends, and Mysterious Reviews.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Profile: Ann Ripley Finds Fertile Ground for Murder

Jodi Torpey, special to The Denver Post, recently wrote a profile on Ann Ripley, whose gardening mysteries feature Louise Eldridge, the host of "Gardening with Nature," a popular syndicated television show. Torpey writes that plants are used throughout her books to add scenic descriptions, create plot points, or serve as clues for solving the crime.

Many of Louise's adventures are based on Ripley's real-life experiences. "But I'm not as foolish as Louise," Ripley says. "She's always getting herself into trouble."

Torpey adds that for the books in the series, Ripley has visited botanic gardens, talked with experts from the Department of Agriculture and interviewed a professor who regularly travels to the Amazon researching medicinal plants. Ripley also draws on her own gardening expertise. Her grandfather was a farmer and her father was a practical gardener.

Summer Garden by Ann RipleyRipley's most recent mystery, Summer Garden Murder, the 9th in the series, is to be followed by a Death in the Orchid Garden, inspired by a recent trip to Kauai. She envisioned Louise taking her gardening show to Hawaii, where she meets a group of elite botanists attending a convention there. "There's a murder or two," Ripley says. "One guy is shoved off a cliff and, of course, Louise is right in the middle and gets to the bottom of the case."

Read the rest of the profile of Ann Ripley on the Denver Post.com here.The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series. Please visit often!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 07/03/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for July 03, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: This Detective Inspector is featured in a long-running mystery series by Ian Rankin (9 letters): B E H J N O R S U

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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Mystery Book Review: Feint of Art by Hailey Lind

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of Feint of Art by Hailey Lind on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

Feint of Art by Hailey LindSynopsis (from the publisher): At age ten, Annie Kincaid was declared a prodigy when she painted a perfect Mona Lisa. A similar copy at seventeen made her a crook. Lesson learned: Genuine art is priceless, and forgery gets you arrested. Now Annie is putting her artistic talents to honest use as a faux finisher in San Francisco. But her past may not be painted over as well as she thought ...

Annie's got bad news for her ex-boyfriend, curator Ernst Pettigrew: The snooty Brock Museum's new fifteen-million-dollar Caravaggio painting is as fake as a three-dollar bill. Then, the same night Annie makes her shattering appraisal, the janitor on duty in the museum is killed -- and Ernst disappears. To top it all off, a well-known art dealer has absconded with multiple Old Master drawings, leaving forgeries in their places. Finding the originals and pocketing the reward money will help Annie get her landlord off her back. But a close encounter with a fickle yet charming art thief could draw her into the underworld of fakes and forgers she swore she'd left behind ...

Review: Towards the end of Feint of Art, the first in a new mystery series by Hailey Lind featuring reformed art forger and current faux finisher Annie Kincaid, Annie ponders the situation in which she finds herself and deems it "overly complicated". The same can be said of Feint of Art. This is not necessarily a negative criticism, but there is easily enough material here for two books. So much happens in this mystery, what with a large cast of characters having suspicious relationships and multiple pieces of disappearing and reappearing artwork, it is virtually impossible to keep track of it all.

And it probably doesn't much matter. Feint of Art is like a roller coaster: the thrill is in the ride. Lots of twists and turns and a blur of details along the way.

Each chapter is prefaced with a quote from Annie's grandfather's unfinished and unpublished manuscript, Reflections of a World-Class Forger. The quotes are informative, fascinating, and frequently quite entertaining. It would be best if Lind keeps grandfather Georges at a distance in future books where he remains worldly and mysterious. But continue with the quotes; they are a treat in and of themselves. Finally, no surprise here, the book concludes with a recipe for a faux finish, Annie's Basic Old Master Glaze.

Though a bit overwritten in places, Feint of Art is a fine debut to a mystery series that shows a lot of promise.

Special thanks to Hailey Lind for providing a copy of Feint of Art for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Titles for July 2006

Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback MysteriesThe Mystery Bookshelf has posted a list of new paperback mysteries expected to be available in July 2006.

Some of the mystery authors whose books are coming out in paperback this month include:

Susan Wittig Albert, The Tale of Holly How, the 2nd mystery in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series; Rhys Bowen, Evan Blessed, the 9th mystery in the Constable Evan Evans series; Susan Conant, Scratch the Surface, the new Cat Lover's mystery series by the author of the Dog Lover's mysteries; J. A. Jance, Long Time Gone, the 17th mystery in the J. P. Beaumont series; Marcia Muller, Cape Perdido, the 2nd mystery in the Soledad County series by the author of the Sharon McCone mysteries; Sara Paretsky, Fire Sale, the 12th mystery in the V. I. Warshawski series; Karin Slaughter, Faithless, the 5th mystery in the Sara Linton series; and 20 more!

Titles are maintained on The Mystery Bookshelf for 6 months, and are available for browsing by author, series character, or date of publication. You may also use our search feature to search for current and archived titles.

Thank you for visiting The Mystery Bookshelf!

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Mystery Trivia for July 2006

Mystery BestsellersThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new mystery trivia questions for July 2006.

The first book in this long-running mystery series featuring a San Francisco private investigator, entitled Edwin of the Iron Shoes, was written by this author who also wrote a short series of mysteries in the 1980s featuring Joanna Stark, a partner in a firm specializing in security for museums and art galleries. What is this author's name?

She is married to another mystery writer with whom she has collaborated on a number of novels. What is his name?

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to see the answers to these questions as well as previous mystery book trivia questions from prior months.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Mystery Book Giveaway for July 2006

Mystery Book GiveawayThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted a new mystery book giveaway for July 2006.

This month's prize: a signed copy of Naked in Death by J. D. Robb.

Enter daily at the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. And while you're there, please visit the many features that we have to offer!

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (06/30/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending June 30, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Danse Macabre by Laurell K. HamiltonDanse Macabre, the 14th Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter mystery by Laurell K. Hamilton, edges out Janet Evanovich's 12 Sharp at the top of Barnes & Noble's mystery hardcover bestsellers this week. These days, Anita Blake is less interested in vampire politics than in an ancient, ordinary dread she shares with women down the ages: she may be pregnant. And, if she is, whether the father is a vampire, a werewolf, or someone else entirely, she knows perfectly well that being a Federal Marshal known for raising the dead and being a vampire executioner, is no way to bring up a baby. Publishers Weekly states, "When the vampire ballet takes the stage toward the end, several new plot elements emerge. The very lack of a finale suggests that there's no end in sight for this fabulously imagined series."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Waking Lazarus by T. L. Hines

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of Waking Lazarus by T. L. Hines on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

Waking Lazarus by T. L. HinesSynopsis (from the publisher): Jude Allman became famous as the man who died and came back to life three times. Now he’s a recluse, hiding from the world in the deep forests of Montana.

But when children around him begin disappearing, his days of hiding are over. Only Jude has the key to stopping the abductions--hidden inside the mysteries of his own deaths. Now he must face the questions that have haunted him. What if his deaths aren’t just accidents? What if there’s a reason behind it all? What if he’s been brought back just for this moment?

Review: Waking Lazarus is T. L. Hines' debut thriller about Jude Allman, a man who must come to terms with his unique abilities while the local community is endangered by a serial kidnapper.

Hines has a real talent for dialog, setting, and pace. He has crafted a superb mystery deftly incorporating spiritual and paranormal elements into the story. The characters are well defined, and their interpersonal relationships believable. These are important elements that lend credibilty to the story as some of the Jude's abilities may seem somewhat implausible.

It's often difficult to understand what drives someone to commit a crime against a child. In Waking Lazarus, children are disappearing and, presumably, being murdered. Hines neatly, and a bit unfairly, sidesteps this issue by stating, in precise terms, that the perpetrator is not human. This is not meant to be taken literally, but in the context that anyone who does harm to a child cannot be human in the eyes of the community. Yet, Hines provides the kidnapper / killer with a split personality (the Hunter and the Normal) effectively supplying a medical and, perhaps, legal excuse for the crimes. It would have been far more terrifying had the villain simply been depicted as an average, albeit evil, individual.

There are many literary reasons to pick up a copy of this book. Foremost among them, Hines is a gifted writer and Waking Lazarus is a fine example of inspirational mystery fiction.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing the ARC of Waking Lazarus for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Press Release: Virtual Tales Announces Additional Serialized Novels for Publication

[ClickPress, Tue Jun 27 2006] Virtual Tales, an e-publisher of serialized novels and novellas spanning a variety of fiction genres and styles, announced the latest additions to its collection of genre-based serialized novels, which will soon be available for readers to enjoy.

The new stories to be added to the Virtual Tales line-up include The Burning, a murder mystery by Australian author Jackie Tritt. Bushfire sweeps through the peaceful Australian town of Pelican East, leaving death and destruction in its wake. But why is veteran officer Alan Foster so uneasy about one of the wildfire deaths?

Virtual Tales is a privately held partnership founded in December 2005 to deliver serialized fiction via e-mail to its subscribers through its website, www.VirtualTales.com. It offers serialized novels in both general and genre fiction for prices starting at 39¢ per issue. The stories are delivered through email twice a week as PDF (Adobe Acrobat) files suitable for reading on a PC, Mac, PDA, e-reader or other devices with e-mail capabilities. All stories are available for a free trial subscription, so readers everywhere are encouraged to visit the website and sample the offerings at no cost or obligation.

Read the entire press release here.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Murder by the Glass by Michele Scott

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

Murder by the Glass by Michele ScottSynopsis (from the publisher): Life is sweet for Nikki Sands. She's toasting her new job at the Malveaux Estate in Napa Valley and balancing a love triangle with a neighboring winemaker and her boss, vineyard owner Derek Malveaux — the catch of the country. And tonight, Nikki will be on the arm of Napa's golden boy at a Sonoma mansion for the wedding of the decade ...

Nikki's friend Isabel agreed to cater the wedding — before she learned that the groom was her cheating lover. After the ceremony, Isabel asks Nikki to bring the obnoxious bride another glass of wine. But Nikki finds the new wife sprawled on the floor — murdered. Since the dearly departed made enemies easily, there's a bushel of suspects — many of them close to Nikki. Now, it's up to her to get to the bottom of what may have been a killer bottle of wine.

Review: Murder by the Glass, by Michele Scott, is the entertaining second book in the wine lover's mystery series featuring Napa Valley sleuth Nikki Sands.

Nikki criss-crosses Sonoma County and even ventures into San Francisco on her search for who killed the bride at an ostentatious wedding catered by her best friend. Interviews with suspects are invariably carried out with a bottle of wine nearby making for some very chatty conversations. It's all wonderfully spirited and sparkling and in the end Scott adds a nice twist to this common murder mystery plot.

The book includes recipes of meals featured in the story together with wine pairings. While including recipes is a common feature of culinary mysteries, what distinguishes Scott's approach is not only the pairing of a wine with a recipe but writing a short vignette that suggests why the meal and wine are appropriate to the situation in the book. It's very clever, frequently amusing, and informative.

Scott supplies colorful descriptions for her wine selections. Here's an example from early in the book: "[The Ravenswood Merlot Sangiacomo] is a delicious blend of summer fruits and earth flavors. It has a full, ripe flavor quality, making it a nice balance with dark plum, cherries, blackberries, tobacco, and spice." Uncork a bottle, and enjoy it with Murder by the Glass.

Special thanks to Michele Scott for providing a copy of Murder by the Glass for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. The is commited 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 26, 2006

News: Shamus Award Nominations for 2006

The Private Eye Writers of America has announced its nominees for the 2006 Shamus Awards for mysteries published in 2005. Winners will be announced at Bouchercon on September 29, 2006.

The nominees for Best Hardcover, Best Paperback Original, and Best First Novel are ...

Best Hardcover (series PI in parentheses)

Oblivion by Peter Abrahams (Nick Petrov), William Morrow
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (Mickey Haller), Little Brown
The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais (Elvis Cole), Doubleday
In A Teapot by Terence Faherty (Scott Elliott), Crum Creek Press
The Man with the Iron-On Badge by Lee Goldberg (Harvey Mapes), Five Star
Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins), Little Brown

Best Paperback Original (series PI in parentheses)

Falling Down by David Cole (Laura Winslow), Avon
The James Deans by Reed Farrell Coleman (Moe Prager), Plume
Deadlocked by Joel Goldman (Lou Mason), Pinnacle
Cordite Wine by Richard Helms (Eamon Gold), Back Alley Books
A Killing Rain by P. J. Parrish (Louis Kincaid), Pinnacle

Best First Novel (series PI in parentheses)

Blood Ties by Lori G. Armstrong (Julie Collins), Medallion
Still River by Harry Hunsicker (Lee Henry Oswald), St. Martin's Minotaur
The Devil’s Right Hand by J. D. Rhoades (Jack Keller), St. Martin's Minotaur
Forcing Amaryllis by Louise Ure (Calla Gentry), Mysterious Press

Visit the First Offenders Blog for additional nominees.

Previous winners of the Shamus Award are listed on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 06/26/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for June 26, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

This week's mystery clue: The fifth crime thriller by Charlie Stella, published this month, has this title (9 letters): A D E H K N O S W

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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