Friday, October 13, 2006

Mystery Game: Nancy Drew, The Creature of Kapu Cave

Games of Mystery
Nancy Drew 15: The Creature of Kapu CaveThe latest Nancy Drew adventure game for the PC, Nancy Drew 15: The Creature of Kapu Cave, was released this week by Her Interactive and is available for purchase from the Nancy Drew page on the Games of Mystery website.

In her latest adventure, Nancy travels to Hawaii as a research assistant for Dr. Quigley Kim to determine why the population of native caterpillars has exploded. The Hardy Boys, on a separate covert operation, are also visiting -- and both stumble across the mystery of the Hilihili research compound and its evil vibes. Some believe it's linked to the legend of Kane 'Okala. Local legend has it that a long time ago, a man was sacrificed to the hungry volcano to appease it. Kane 'Okala, or "the rough-skinned man," later escaped from the volcano, but he was scarred for life with a rough-skinned and frightening appearance. When Nancy arrives at Camp Quigley, she sees a monster ravaging the camp, and soon discovers that Dr. Quigley is missing! Could the monster she saw be Kane 'Okala? She'll have to team up with the Hardy Boys to find out!

Nancy Drew 15: The Creature of Kapu Cave incorporates such exciting features as:
• For the first time, the ability to play as three different characters: Nancy, Joe Hardy and Frank Hardy depending on the skills and clues needed to solve the mystery;
• The use of the SUV GPS system to travel to a variety of exotic Hawaiian environments;
• An assortment of puzzles to gather clues that allow players to progress through the game;
• Snorkeling for shells and designing shell necklaces to earn ‘Big Island Bucks’;
• A second chance feature that enables players to take risks without starting over;
• Hints from Bess and George to help navigate the game;
• Two difficulty settings to allow players of all skill levels to solve the mystery.

Visit Games of Mystery for more mystery games of all kinds as well as mystery parties, mystery-themed vacations, and more!

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Mystery Bestsellers for October 13, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending October 13, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New at the top of the lists this week is the 11th Harry Bosch mystery from Michael Connelly, Echo Park by Michael ConnellyEcho Park. Bosch reopens one of his own unsolved cases and comes face to face with a psychotic killer he has been seeking for years. When a man accused of two heinous killings is willing to come clean about several others, Bosch must now take the confession of the man he has sought--and hated--for eleven years. But when Bosch learns that he and his partner missed a clue back in 1995 that could have led them to Gesto's killer--and stopped nine murders that followed--his whole being as a cop begins to crack. Publishers Weekly states, "Smooth prose and plausible characters, even the secondary figures, elevate this several notches above the standard cop vs. serial-killer thriller."

Also new on the lists Short Straw by Stuart WoodsShort Straw. Stuart Woods reintroduces Santa Fe lawyer Ed Eagle (who first appeared in Santa Fe Rules, published in 1992) in a complex thriller that opens the morning after Ed's fortieth birthday. He finds that his wife, Barbara, has vanished, and all his money-from his business, his bank, and his brokerage accounts-has been wired to the Cayman Islands. Barbara, it appears, had drugged his birthday wine, neatly cleaned him out and then fled to Mexico. And as if that weren't bad enough, when Ed arrives at work that morning he discovers that he's been assigned a new client who looks like nothing but trouble-Joe Big Bear, a part-time mechanic charged with a triple homicide. Ed hires two slightly shady investigators to search for his wife. But when they track Barbara down in Puerto Vallarta, they discover that Joe Big Bear may also be embroiled in Barbara's plot. Ed soon finds himself caught in a scheme that is much more far reaching-and deadly-than anyone would have expected. Kirkus Reviews writes, "... Woods's most entertaining tale in years."

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, October 11, 2006

News: 2006 Quill Award Winners

Twelve Sharp by Janet EvanovichThe winners of the 2006 Quill Book Awards were announced Tuesday night during a star-studded gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It was a who's who of authors and best-selling publishers as awards were handed out in 20 categories. The winners were chosen by the public, who cast their votes online.

Winner of the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category, presented by S. Epatha Merkerson and Nelson DeMille was:

Twelve Sharp (St. Martin's Press) by Janet Evanovich.

Congratulations to all nominees and winners from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Love, Lies and Liquor by M. C. Beaton

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Love, Lies and Liquor by M. C. Beaton. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Love, Lies and Liquor by M. C. Beaton

Love, Lies and Liquor by M. C. Beaton
An Agatha Raisin Mystery
St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-34910-6 (0312349106)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34910-3 (978312349103)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $22.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Agatha Raisin is lonely. Busy as she is with her detective agency and the meetings of the Carsely Ladies' Society, she still misses her ex-husband, James Lacey, so she welcomes his return to the cottage next door with her usual triumph of optimism over experience---especially when he invites her on holiday at a surprise location that was once very dear to him. With visions of a romantic hideaway in Italy or the Pacific dancing in her head, Agatha goes off happily with James to ... Snoth-on-Sea, in Sussex.

While James may have fond memories of boyhood holidays there, Snoth-on-Sea has seen better days, as has the once-grand Palace Hotel, now run-down and tacky and freezing cold. Nor do the other guests have much to recommend them, especially the brassy honeymoon couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jankers, who pick a fight with Agatha in the dining room. But trouble has a way of following Agatha even if romance does not: Just as she and James are preparing to flee to warmer climes, Geraldine Jankers is found dead on the beach---strangled with Agatha's scarf. So much for Agatha's holiday fantasies: Not only is it time to put her detective skills to work, but the police are not even sure that she'll be allowed to leave town.

Review: Love, Lies and Liquor is the 17th mystery in this long-running mystery series by M. C. Beaton featuring private investigator Agatha Raisin.

Agatha thinks she's off on a romantic holiday with ex-husband James, but the resort town on the south English coast to which he takes them has seen better days and the hotel at which they are staying seems to be literally falling into the sea. After one of the guests is murdered in the middle of the night, Agatha finds herself initially accused of the crime when her scarf is used as the murder weapon. Hired by the dead woman's husband to locate the killer, Agatha learns there is no shortage of suspects who would have liked to see the obnoxious woman dead.

Love, Lies and Liquor is more about Agatha lamenting the sad state of her love life than about Agatha discovering the circumstances surrounding a mysterious death. The important men in her life take her for granted, and what's worse, she seems to allow it to happen. For an investigator who should know better, she agrees to meet a total stranger for dinner, a good-looking man who happens to be dressed smartly, and even that date ends with disastrous results. To say she has problems with the opposite sex would be an understatement.

But there's still that unsolved murder, and though the police are willing to close the case, Agatha isn't. Through sheer determination, and what seems to be more than a little bit of good fortune, she manages to name the guilty party.

Beaton is among the best authors of the traditional mystery and Agatha Raisin typifies the modern English village sleuth. But Love, Lies and Liquor strays a bit too far off course here. Agatha needs to spend more time thinking about her case than considering when, where, and with whom she'll be able to wear her filmy clothes.

Special thanks to St. Martin's Minotaur for providing a copy of Love, Lies and Liquor 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, October 09, 2006

Press Release: The New York Times Second Annual ''Great Read in the Park''™

A Day Long Celebration of Books and Reading

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The New York Times announced today the schedule of author events and live entertainment for the second annual Great Read in the Park, to be held Sunday, Oct.15, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Bryant Park. Last year’s inaugural event attracted more than 33,000 people, with standing room-only panel discussions and readings. The events in Bryant Park are free and open to the public.

New Yorkers of all ages can indulge their passion for books by attending readings, discussions, panels and book signings with more than 120 nationally known authors.

Two special ticketed events that will take place at The Hudson Theatre in The Millennium Broadway Hotel include ... The Great Tea, featuring a discussion with four of the most well-known mystery writers in America: Tess Gerritsen, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and Jed Rubenfeld, with master of ceremonies, Sam Roberts, New York Times urban affairs correspondent.

The press release in its entirety can be read here.

The is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mystery Book Review: Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato

Nip, Tuck, Dead by Lori Avocato
A Pauline Sokol Mystery
Avon Books (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-06-083704-7 (0060837047)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-083704-4 (9780060837044)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ex-nurse-turned-insurance fraud investigator Pauline Sokol's willing to risk anything to put a bad doc out of business—even her best friend Goldie's near-perfect proboscis! Her cross-dressing compadre has agreed to get his shnozz bobbed so Pauline can pose as his private nurse and gain entry into Highcliff Manor—a posh plastic surgery "spa" making an illegal killing with their repeat clientele.

But when a super-rich "frequent flier" is unexpectedly widowed—and a receptionist who knows too much is given the boot . . . off a nearby cliff!—Pauline realizes she's stuck her own nose into something really nasty. Despite the pleasant distraction of the hunky Dr. Neal—and the unexpected appearance of her sexy cohort, Jagger—Pauline can't shake the feeling she's being closely watched. And if she's not careful, she'll be the next one who goes under the knife!

Review: Pauline Sokol travels to the playground of the rich and famous, Newport, to investigate some irregular insurance claims submitted by an exclusive clinic in Nip, Tuck, Dead, the 4th mystery in this series by Lori Avocato.

Returning to her former profession as a nurse, Pauline accompanies her roommate and best friend Goldie Perlman to the clinic; Goldie has decided he's going to splurge and treat himself to a "nose job". Once there, Pauline discovers a web of fraud and deceit that only she, in her own inimitable way, can unravel.

The mysteries in this series are light, entertaining, and not meant to be taken too seriously despite one or more dead bodies popping up every so often. A generally implausible storyline is taken for granted. And that's the great appeal of these books: they're escapist, fun reading. But in Nip, Tuck, Dead, the plot is exceptionally shallow and oddly a bit disturbing. If the doctors at the clinic are suspected of submitting fraudulent insurance claims (a felony), why would Pauline allow Goldie to risk surgery there before ascertaining the truth?

Furthermore, it's more than a little suspicious that Goldie's elective, cosmetic procedure is suddenly a medically necessary one (and presumably covered by insurance) when he's diagnosed with a deviated septum. The irony of the situation seems lost on Pauline who now appears to be a party to the crime she's there to investigate.

The best part of the books in this series is the amusing way Avocato depicts Pauline's relationship with her family, her friends, her man-of-the-moment, and, of course, the mysterious Jagger. Nip, Tuck, Dead does not disappoint in this regard.

Those who have enjoyed the previous adventures of Pauline will no doubt be pleased with this one. But Nip, Tuck, Dead is not a good introduction for readers new to the series.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of Nip, Tuck, Dead 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 Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for October 09, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for October 09, 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 letters and mystery clue: A B E G I L N O W. She is the author of the Joanne Kilbourn murder mystery series (9 letters).

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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Friday, October 06, 2006

Mystery Book Contest: Win a Signed Book by Martha Powers

New MysteriesNew! The Death Angel Contest is now available on The Mystery Book Contest Website. Enter daily through December 18, 2006, for a chance to win a prize package generously provided by author Martha Powers.

Death Angel by Martha PowersThe prize package includes:

Death Angel, Powers' third thriller after Sunflower and Bleeding Heart, signed by the author, and an angel pin.

The Death Angel Contest is sponsored by Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity, Martha Powers (author of Death Angel), and Mysterious Reviews, which has a review of Death Angel on its website.

If you are an author of a mystery book, or represent a mystery book author, and would like to have your book featured on our Mystery Book Contest website, please contact us at [email protected].

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Mystery Bestsellers for October 06, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending October 06, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No surprise at the bestselling mystery at the top of the lists this week! Those Metro maniacs Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby and NASCAR driver Sam Hooker are back in Motor Mouth by Janet EvanovichMotor Mouth by Janet Evanovich. Miami is still freakin' humid. The nights are even hotter. And there's a body on ice. And that's just the beginning of this adrenaline-rush of a hot-wired ride. Snooping to find evidence that one of the competitors is up to no good on the track, Hooker and Barney "borrow" a NASCAR hauler. Turns out, the hauler is carrying two race cars and a dead guy. "I hate dead guys," opines Hooker. "Especially when . . . they're in a hauler I just stole." So buckle up as Barney, Hooker, a 150-pound-bundle-of-St. Bernard-love named Beans, and the Super Cigar Ladies Felicia and Rosa shift into gear on a wild race around South Florida and Concord, North Carolina.

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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Press Release: New Anthology of Holiday Crime Stories to Benefit Toys for Tots!

By the Chimney with Care edited by Tony Burton(PRLEAP.COM) Wolfmont Publishing is proud to announce the release of By Chimney with Care, a grand and entertaining anthology of crime and mystery stories that benefits the Toys for Tots foundation. The scheduled release date is October 15, 2006.

The authors include both well-known and lesser-known but talented tale-tellers, and all of them created richly-crafted stories of crime, mystery and mayhem set in the winter holiday season of Christmas. You may not think of Christmas as a time for crime, but remember the payments on credit cards when January rolls around!

The authors are Jeffrey Marks, Debra Gray De Noux and O’Neil De Noux, Neil Plakcy, Herschel Cozine, John M. Floyd, Tony Burton and many other talented individuals. All donated their work to support this very worthwhile cause, the Toys for Tots.

The press release in its entirety can be read here.

The 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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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Extraordinary People by Peter May

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

Extraordinary People by Peter May
An Enzo Macleod Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-335-3 (1590583353)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58058-335-7 (9781590583357)
Publication Date: November, 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): What has happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher who trained some of France's best and brightest at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration as future Prime Ministers and Presidents vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. Talk about your cold case.

The mystery inspires a bet, one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland can ill afford to lose. The wager is that Enzo can find out what happened to Jacques Gaillard by applying new science to an old case.

Enzo comes to Paris to meet journalist Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven celebrated unsolved murders, the assumption being that Gaillard is dead. He needs Raffin's notes. And armed with these, he begins his quest. It quickly has him touring landmarks such as the Paris catacombs and a chateau in Champagne, digging up relics and bones. Yes, Enzo finds Jacques Gaillard's head. The artifacts buried with the skull set him to interpreting the clues they provide and to following in someone's footsteps--maybe more than one someone--after the rest of Gaillard. And to reviewing some ancient and recent history. As with a quest, it's as much discovery as detection. Enzo proves to be an ace investigator, scientific and intuitive, and, for all his missteps, one who hits his goals including a painful journey toward greater self-awareness.

Review: Extraordinary People is the intriguing first book in a series of thrillers set in modern France by talented author Peter May.

May's novel is a macabre treasure hunt that, fair or not, will likely be compared in one way or another to The Da Vinci Code. There are, in fact, some striking similarities but Extraordinary People is by far the more distinguished book. The pace of the story moves along briskly as Enzo Macleod, the forensics expert on a quest of deciphering the cryptic artifacts found at the site of a 10-year old murder, traverses the countryside unearthing clues. Several rather predictable events occur that make the journey personal, but they don't detract from the adventure.

This otherwise outstanding literary effort is marred by a significant inconsistency in the plot. It is not possible to provide specific details without giving away too much of the ending, but the rationale for the existence of the artifacts is, at best, implausible. On the surface it's all rather clever, but there is a fundamental flaw in the logic. It is a little disappointing May did not develop a more convincing argument here.

The presumed premise for this series, celebrated unsolved murders, is a captivating one and hopefully May will bring back the interesting characters he introduced in Extraordinary People for subsequent mysteries.

Special thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of Extraordinary People for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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The Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback Mysteries for October 2006

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

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

A Crossworder's Delight, the 11th mystery in the Rosco Polycrates and Belle Graham mystery series by Nero Blanc;
The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, 7th entry in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series by Lawrence Block;
The Young Widow, a new series by Cassandra Chan featuring Scotland Yard detectives Jack Gibbons and Phillip Bethancourt;
The Cat Dancers, an intense thriller by P. T. Deutermann;
A Holly Jolly Murder, the 12th Claire Malloy mystery by Joan Hess;
Shooting Gallery, Hailey Lind's second mystery featuring faux finisher Annie Kincaid;
Officer Down, the 1st mystery in a new series by Theresa Schwegel featuring Chicago police detective Samanatha "Smack" Mack;

and many 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 tool to find all current and archived titles.

Thank you for visiting The Mystery Bookshelf!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Cactus Island by William Manchee

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

Cactus Island by William Manchee
A Stan Turner Mystery
Top Publications (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-929976-36-4 (1929976364)
ISBN-13: 978-1-929976-36-2 (9781929976362)
Publication Date: August 2006
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Attorney Stan Turner is called out to Possum Kingdom Lake in central Texas where there's been a tragic Jeep accident. The teenage driver, Steven Caldwell, survives unscathed but his passenger dies. It appears to be just another tragic auto accident until the sheriff discovers Steven and the victim were in love with the same girl. When Steven is charged with murder, he insists the accident wasn't his fault. He claims he was distracted by an alien spacecraft flying overhead. At first Stan thinks his client's story is ridiculous, but as his investigation progresses he discovers his client may be telling the truth.

Review: Cactus Island, the 7th mystery in the Stan Turner series by William Manchee, features the Dallas-based attorney and his partner, Paula Waters, separately hired to represent two defendants accused of murder. Though their cases are not apparently related, it ultimately becomes clear there is something that links them together.

Stan agrees to defend a young man, Steven, who was driving a Jeep when it went over a cliff in the Texas hill country and crashed, killing his passenger, a rival for the girl he loved. Steven claims the crash was an accident, and that he was distracted by the sudden presence of an alien spacecraft overhead while negotiating a turn in the road.

Paula, originally hired to handle the divorce of Cheryl Windsor, is suddenly put in the role of her defense attorney when she’s accused of murdering her husband, who has disappeared but no body has been found. Cheryl maintains her innocence even though circumstantial evidence suggests she may have killed him.

Both of these cases, and the possibility they are connected in some way, provide an intriguing premise for this book. However, what starts out so promising descends into the absurd by the end of the book. Significant inconsistencies in the plot are left either unresolved or given irrational explanations. The irony here is that Manchee sets up a logical explanation for the events taking place around Cactus Island, yet that solution is merely a red herring to the illogical conclusion that is finally revealed.

In retrospect, Manchee foreshadows the flawed logic in Cactus Island in the prelude. While attending the funeral of his son, Peter, Stan states, “For anyone who discovered the truth would suffer the same fate as Peter.” Obviously Stan knows “the truth” and clearly he has not suffered the same fate as his son as he is still alive to tell the story.

And what a story it is: a silly plot with holes large enough to fly a spaceship through.

Special thanks to Top Publications for providing a copy of Cactus Island 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, October 02, 2006

Mystery Trivia for October 2006

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

Which Miss Marple mystery is the only one to take place outside of England?

Which location is believed to have been the inspiration for this book?

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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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for October 02, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for October 02, 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 letters and mystery clue: D E G H I M O R T. This was the title of the third mystery by Edgar Award winning author David Stout (with “The”) (9 letters).

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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