Monday, January 01, 2007

Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for January 01, 2007

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for January 01, 2007A 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: E H K N O R T W Y. John Buxton Hilton wrote a series of mysteries featuring this Scotland Yard Superintendent (9 letters, last name only).

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mysterious Reviews: A Look Back at 2006

Mysterious ReviewsAs we look back at the mysteries we reviewed at Mysterious Reviews in 2006, there were only 5 that received our highest praise. Each of these noteworthy books deserve another mention before we begin the new year.

We don't review books "on a curve", but we want to acknowledge that some mysteries are simply better than others. In order for our readers to recognize this, most of the mysteries we review are awarded "average" marks. This doesn't mean they are bad; generally, it simply means that these books didn't impress us as much as those rated higher. Our highest rating is reserved for those few books that are exceptional in one way or another and we try to highlight in our review why we believe they deserve this high mark.

Here are the 5 mysteries from 2006, in the order in which they were published, that we believe deserve space on your bookshelf.

The Geographer's Library by Jon FasmanThrough a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon

When Good Bras Go Bad by Gayle TrentMessenger of Truth by Jacqueline WinspearFalse Harbor by Michael Donnelly

February 2006: The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman. This book was published in hardcover in 2005, with the trade paperback, the one we reviewed, published in early 2006. We were captivated by both the literary adventure and the way it was presented to the reader. It is an exceptionally well-written book with an unexpected twist at the end.

May 2006: Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon, the 15th mystery to feature Venice Commissioner of Police Guido Brunetti, and a fine example of her body of work. Leon continues to impress us after all these years. In our review we wrote, "The storylines are multi-faceted, each side amplifying another, to produce a brilliance that is rare in detective fiction today." If you haven't read one of the mysteries in this series, make a resolution to do so in 2007; you won't be disappointed.

August 2006: When Good Bras Go Bad by Gayle Trent, the 2nd mystery in the Myrtle Crumb series. This slender book was an unexpected delight. Targeted to pre-teen girls, this gem of a mystery can be enjoyed by all. We said in our review, "Fully developed characters, a well thought out plot, and expressive and eloquent dialog, are all deftly composed in a book that runs less than 100 pages." A good example of never judging a book by its cover, its title, or its intended audience.

September 2006: Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear, the 4th mystery in the Maisie Dobbs series. Somehow, someway, we managed to miss reading the first three books in this award-winning series. We're glad we caught this one, however, which we found mesmerizing. With eloquent prose, finely drawn characters, a reasoned investigative process, and atmospheric settings, it truly was one of the year's best.

October 2006: False Harbor by Michael Donnelly, who demonstrates considerable talent as the author in his debut mystery. Though we found the plot somewhat formulaic in places, the depth of characterization, the descriptive locales, and the accomplished prose elevated this book into the top tier of mysteries published this year.

If you haven't already read these mysteries, seek them out. They're worth the effort.

All of our mystery book reviews are conveniently organized by date, author, and "star" (or, in our case, "magnifying glass"). If you'd like to comment on our reviews, you may do so on this blog, or by sending a message to [email protected].

Visit for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books. 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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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mystery Book Review: False Harbor by Michael Donnelly

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

False Harbor by Michael Donnelly
An Egret Van Gerpin Mystery

Windstorm Creative (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-59092-129-1 (1590921291)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59092-129-6 (9781590921296)
Publication Date: October 2006
List Price: $15.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): A cryptic symbol on a block of marble …

Anton Gropius understands. The malicious vandal who ravaged his sculptures is not finished. About to unveil his culminating creation, two decades in the making, Gropius must first expose his tormentor.

Reclusive Gropius Stuns World ...

Friday Harbor journalist, Egret Van Gerpin, has the headline written even before intruding on the sculptor’s private island. By kayak, in a tempest. The cantankerous Gropius recruits Egret’s help to save his work from those he's invited to his sanctuary. A dark bargain, as she becomes the last bulwark against a murderous compulsion storming the sculptor's false harbor.

Review: Michael Donnelly introduces journalist Egret Van Gerpin in the outstanding mystery novel, False Harbor, set in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State.

Egret arrives, uninvited and unwelcome, on the private island retreat of famed sculptor and recluse Anton Gropius to interview him for an article. Rough seas prevent her from departing, stranding her on the island with Anton's family who have gathered to celebrate his 70th birthday. Anton is planning a surprise for his family: the unveiling of a series of sculptures on which he has been working since someone destroyed a collection 21 years earlier at a similar event. Tormented by the idea that someone may try to do the same now, he asks Egret to stay and observe since many of the same people who were at the event years ago are again on the island for his birthday celebration. When a close associate of Anton's is found dead at the bottom of a ravine, Egret believes it wasn't an accident and sets out to identify the culprit ... and possibly solve a 21-year-old mystery.

It's a rare pleasure to read such a polished debut mystery. The island setting is a perfect location for the story, and the characters are interesting and well developed. The plot is a bit formulaic in places, but this minor fault is more than made up for by the accomplished prose. Consider this passage, as Egret is walking along a trail on the island pondering her reason for being there: "... the path sucked the anxiety from my legs, slowing me, starving the future and past to nourish the present, making a gift of itself. I fell into a new rhythm, letting the earth push me along and feeling wealthy at owning it for the moment, my only responsibility being to do it no harm ...".

It isn't clear if False Harbor is the start of a series featuring Egret Van Gerpin or simply a stand-alone mystery as the book is subtitled "A San Juan Island Mystery". But this complex character deserves another outing. Seek out False Harbor; it's one of the year's best mysteries.

Special thanks to Michael Donnelly for providing a copy of False Harbor for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Friday, December 29, 2006

News: Elijah Wood Joins Cast of The Oxford Murders

The Oxford Murders by Guillermo MartinezThe Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Elijah Wood has been signed to star in the upcoming movie The Oxford Murders based on the book of the same name by Guillermo Martinez. The movie will be directed by Alex de la Iglesia. It was previously announced that John Hurt will also star in the film.

The Oxford Murders involves a young Argentine mathematics student at Oxford (Wood) who finds his landlady - an elderly woman who helped decipher the Enigma Code during World War II - murdered. Meanwhile, leading Oxford logician Arthur Seldom (Hurt) receives an anonymous note bearing a circle and the words, "the first of the series." As more murders occur, Seldom guesses that they relate to his book about the parallels between investigations of serial killers and certain mathematical theorems. As he and the young student are drawn further into the game, it is up to the mentor and student to solve the puzzle before the killer strikes again.

The film is scheduled to begin shooting in London and Oxford in late January 2007.

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: Love is Murder Mystery Conference

Naperville, IL, December 29, 2006 --(PR.COM)-- “It would be a crime to have a dream of writing a novel and not be able to achieve it,” says Todd A. Stone, author of Novelist’s Boot Camp: 101 Ways to Take Your Fiction from Boring to Bestseller (Writers Digest Books, ISBN 1582973601), "but at this year’s Love is Murder Conference and Convention, our boot camp is going to help you beat the rap and make that dream come true.”

Stone’s intensive Novelist’s Boot Camp workshop—based on his book by the same name—is one of the headlining events at the 9th annual “Love is Murder” conference/convention for readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thrillers, romantic suspense, and other dark fiction and true crime writing. The conference is scheduled for February 2-4 2007 at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Headlining authors include Ken Bruen, Anne Perry, Raymond Bensen, Carolyn Haines, Max Allan Collins, Charlaine Harris, Robert W. Walker, and local Guest of Honor David J. Walker.

The conference/convention also features a full offering of panels, presentations, a crime scene reenactment, weapons demonstrations, and a Scotch tasting hosted my Master of Whisky Martin Duffy from Johnnie Walker. More information on the conference can be found at www.loveismurder.net.

Read the entire press release here.

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Mystery Book Review: High Heels are Murder by Elaine Viets

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

High Heels are Murder by Elaine Viets
A Josie Marcus Mystery

Signet (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-451-21988-0 (0451219880)
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-21988-6 (9780451219886)
Publication Date: November 2006
List Price: $6.99

Synopsis (from the publisher): Every job has its pluses and minuses. Josie Marcus gets to shoe-shop-but she also must deal with men like Mel Poulaine, who's too interested in handling women's feet. Soon Josie's been hired by Mel's boss to mystery-shop the store, but one step leads to another and Josie finds herself in St. Louis's seedy underbelly. Caught up in a web of crime, Josie hopes against hope that she won't end up murdered in Manolos.

Review: Josie Marcus, mystery shopper, returns in her second madcap adventure, High Heels are Murder by Elaine Viets.

While mystery shopping a shoe store to which complaints have been made by woman who say that a certain salesman seems a bit more interested in their feet than in selling them shoes, Josie catches him in a compromising position with a pair of her own shoes. Just a day after being fired from his position, he's found murdered. Josie's neighbor's daughter, "Miss Perfect" Cheryl, to whom she is compared by her mother, is unexpectedly accused of the crime. Soon Josie finds herself drawn into an investigation involving men with "special needs".

High Heels are Murder is typical of this genre, reasonably well written and plotted, and will no doubt appeal to those readers who appreciate their murder mysteries liberally sprinkled with references to designer brands (and not to those who don't). Josie is an entertaining character, and there are certainly a few instances where it's hard not to smile at the situation in which she finds herself.

While the story is frivolous and light-hearted, Viets tries to instill into Josie characteristics that readers may find familiar in their own lives. Josie's a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, but working in a job she clearly enjoys despite the poor pay. She's constantly trying to live up some standard she attributes to her mother, but is it really her own standard that she's trying to live up to? These are interesting facets for a lead character, but at times they seem out of place in what is primarily a comedic mystery.

Special thanks to BreakThrough Promotions for providing a copy of High Heels are Murder for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Mystery Bestsellers for December 29, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 29, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No new titles appeared on either the Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com lists this week. However, brisk sales for several pre-release titles indicate there will be several changes in January.

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our 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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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Effigies by Mary Anna Evans

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

Effigies by Mary Anna Evans
A Faye Longchamp Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-342-6 (1590583426)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-342-5 (9781590583425)
Publication Date: January 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Archaeologist Faye Longchamp and her friend, Joe Wolf Mantooth, have traveled to Neshoba County, Mississippi, to help excavate a site near Nanih Waiya, the sacred mound where tradition says the Choctaw nation was born. When farmer Carroll Calhoun refuses their request to investigate an ancient Native American mound, Faye and her colleagues are disappointed, but his next action breaks their hearts: he tries to bulldoze the huge relic to the ground.

Faye and Joe rush to protect history--with their bodies, if necessary. Soon the Choctaws arrive to defend the mound and the farmer's white and black neighbors come to defend his property rights. Though a popular young sheriff is able to defuse the situation, tempers are short.

That night, Calhoun is found dead, his throat sliced with a handmade stone blade. Was he killed by an archaeologist, angered by his wanton destruction of history? Neshoba County farmers have been plowing up stone tools like the murder weapon for centuries. Did one of them take this chance to even the score with an old rival?

The sheriff is well-aware that Faye and Joe were near the spot where Calhoun's body was found and their combined knowledge of stone tools is impressive. They had motive, means, and opportunity....but so does almost everyone in Neshoba County.

Review: Mary Anna Evans continues to impress readers with the third entry in the Faye Longchamp mystery series, Effigies.

Faye, together with Joe Wolf Mantooth, are working on a project team that was hired by the state of Mississippi to excavate a region prior to putting a new road through. The local Choctaw tribe had its origins in the area, and considers much of the land sacred. When a local property owner is murdered with a Choctaw artifact, Faye gets involved with the investigation. Was it a case of property rights versus the preservation of ancient history? Or could the murder have been personally motivated? The latter case seems possible when an aging, prominent, black politician makes a speech that he was the victim of a hate crime in the area many years ago, and would like to see justice done before he dies.

Evans is masterful at weaving a historical thread through her mysteries, with Effigies being no exception. Interspersed between chapters are Choctaw stories, as told by one of the local residents. Most of these stories are related in some way to the main plot, though they don't necessarily aid the reader in solving the mystery of the property owner's death. Towards the end, Evans turned what could have been a typical "heroine-in-peril" scenario and made it something spiritual and special, not unlike the Choctaw themselves. It's a captivating moment.

If there's a weak element of Effigies, it's Faye herself. She seems to lack the passion exhibited in earlier books; it's as if this murder mystery is simply an academic exercise to her. Faye has been evolving dramatically since Artifacts (the first, and arguably, the best book of the series) and she is a more interesting character when she has something personal vested in the outcome.

Following the main text, the author adds a guide for teachers, students, and (in her words), the incurably curious, a nice touch to a well-researched and written novel.

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

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

News: Best Mystery Fiction of 2006 from The New York Sun

Otto Penzler, in The New York Sun, writes what he believes are the best mysteries of 2006. "Best", by his own definition, merely means the books that most moved, shocked or impressed him, made him laugh or struggle to hold back tears, forced him to turn another page or two, and continue to resonate with him now.

In order ...

1. Hollywood Station by Joseph Wambaugh.

2. Echo Park by Michael Connelly.

3. Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille.

4. Nightlife by Thomas Perry.

5. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos.

6. The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais.

7. Damnation Street by Andrew Klavan.

8. Four Kinds of Rain by Robert Ward.

9. Slipping into Darkness by Peter Blauner.

10. Best American Mystery Stories 2006 edited by Scott Turow.

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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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

News: Nancy Drew Movie Trailer Available

Nancy Drew: Get a ClueThe trailer for the Warner Bros. movie, Nancy Drew, is now available online. The movie is scheduled for release June 15, 2007.

Available in two formats and at 4 different resolutions, the trailer can be viewed by clicking one of the links below:

Super High-Resolution (480x204): QuickTime, Windows Media Player
High-Resolution (320x132): QuickTime, Windows Media Player
Medium-Resolution (240x104): QuickTime, Windows Media Player
Low-Resolution (176x76): QuickTime, Windows Media Player

Based on characters created by Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew follows Nancy (Emma Roberts) as she accompanies her father Carson (Tate Donovan) to Los Angeles on one of his business trips and stumbles across evidence about a long-unsolved crime involving the mysterious death of a beautiful movie star. Nancy's resourcefulness and personal responsibility are put to the test when she finds herself in the middle of the fast-living, self-indulgent world of Hollywood.

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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Mystery Godoku: Weekly Puzzle for December 25, 2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for December 25, 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: E H I J L M N O S. The “Tenoclock” mysteries featuring Johnnie Baker were written by this author (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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Monday, December 25, 2006

News: Christie Novels to be Published in China

UPI is reporting that the People's Literature Publishing House (PLPH) is set to publish the first "legal" Agatha Christie novels in China. PLPH, China's largest publisher of literature, bought the copyright for Christie's novels from her agent in Britain. The release in Chinese will also mark the 30th anniversary of her death.

A total of 14 stories, including Death on the Nile, will be part of the first collection. Next year, another 32 books, including The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express, will be translated into Chinese and published.

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Mystery Bestsellers for December 22, 2006

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending December 22, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

The 9th mystery in the Kathleen Mallory series, Find Me by Carol O'ConnellFind Me by Carol O'Connell, is the only new book to appear this week on the bestseller lists. A mutilated body is found lying on the ground in Chicago, a dead hand pointing down Adams Street, also known as Route 66, a road of many names. And now of many deaths.A silent caravan of cars, dozens of them, drives down that road, each passenger bearing a photograph, but none of them the same. They are the parents of missing children, some recently disappeared, some gone a decade or more-all brought together by word that childrens' grave sites are being discovered along the Mother Road. Kathy Mallory drives with them. The child she seeks, though, is not like the others'. It is herself-the feral child adopted off the streets, her father a blank, her mother dead and full of mysteries. During the next few extraordinary days, Mallory will find herself hunting a killer like none she has ever known, and will undergo a series of revelations not only of stunning intensity- but stunning effect. Publishers Weekly states, "Stylish prose and a magnetic lead character more than compensate for an overly complicated plot that drags in spots ..." while Kirkus Reviews adds, "Very smart murder fare complete with a rain-swept mood and psychological heat."

Be sure to check out our new, updated Mystery Bestsellers aStore to purchase any of the bestselling mysteries featured on our 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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Monday, December 18, 2006

Mystery Book Review: High Heels and Holidays by Kasey Michaels

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of High Heels and Holidays by Kasey Michaels. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.High Heels and Holidays by Kasey Michaels

High Heels and Holidays by Kasey Michaels
A Maggie Kelly Mystery

Kensington Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7582-0882-0 (0758208820)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7582-0882-8 (9780758208828)
Publication Date: October 2006
List Price: $14.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Mystery author Maggie Kelly is getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas with Alexandre, Viscount Saint Just -- her once-fictional, but now all too-real sexy hero and boyfriend. But her romantic Christmas plans go haywire when murder decides to deck the halls ...

Bad Tidings We Bring! There’s nothing I’d rather be doing this time of year then singing Christmas carols while I trim my tree, and snuggling next to my man Alex while we watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time. But this season, it seems some Grinch with a really bad sense of humor is delivering packages of rotting rats and death threats to me and the other authors who contributed to the mystery collection No Secret Anymore.

To You and Your Kin! Sure, even I’ll admit the book was terrible. But why can’t this sicko just go to the bookstore and get a refund? It’s Christmas, buddy -- not Halloween! But then Jonathan West -- the brainchild of No Secret Anymore -- turns up dead, and me and Alex aren’t so sure anymore that the murderer is a just a disgruntled reader... Bad tidings for Christmas—and a Murderous New Year! Jonathan had finally completed a new novel, which his agent claimed to be his best. This leads us to think maybe a jealous rival is the killer—that is, until two of Jonathan’s obsessed fans surface. So now the we’re scrambling to solve this mystery before eight writers—including yours truly—don’t live to see the New Year ...

Review: High Heels and Holidays is the fifth mystery in this series by Kasey Michaels to feature mystery author Maggie Kelly and her fictional, but now real, Regency-era hero, the aristocrat-detective Alexandre Blake, the Viscount Saint Just.

This disappointing entry in the series takes place immediately after the gang returns from England, the site of the previous book, the delightful and entertaining High Heels and Homicide. A colleague, Francis Oakes, has died under mysterious circumstances, and though Maggie would rather be preparing for the holidays and sharing an intimate moment with her fictional-but-real creation, she is drawn into the mystery when another celebrity author is found dead.

This series has a unique twist to it, and Michaels uses a prologue in the form of a letter from Maggie to "Fred" to describe just how the the character of Alexandre Blake came to be. But readers new to the series are likely to be confused by the whole premise, and are better served to read one of the previous books to appreciate the situation in which Maggie finds herself with Saint Just.

There's an astonishing amount of dialog in High Heels and Holidays, but very little of substance is ever said. At one point Saint Just notes, facetiously but accurately, "... you fascinate us with this story, although you've said very little so far, haven't you?" And Maggie herself says that "... if anyone sane ever eavesdropped on any of our conversations, we'd all be locked up."

It's probably not giving away too much to say that Maggie and Alex get romantically involved in this book, and that is frequently a problem for a romantic mystery series. And a serious problem in this one. Maggie, for all practical purposes, admits as much in another letter to "Fred" in the epilogue. "So I give him this independent woman, see. They battle—right off the bat. Two strong personalities, going at it ... but slowly, against their will, they're drawn to each other. Big-time. Physically. They keep dancing around each other; advancing, retreating, keeping the readers happy. And all the while she helps him solve crimes. It could work."

Or not.

If the series is drawing to a close, this might be a way to end it. But if Michaels intends to continue the adventures of Maggie and Saint Just, a rapid retreat to their pre-Holiday relationship is definitely in order.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing a copy of High Heels and Holidays for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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News: Hardy Boys Author's Estate Donates Papers to Library

Michael Posner of the Globe and Mail reports that personal archive of Canadian author Leslie McFarlane -- much better known as Franklin W. Dixon, the pseudonym affixed to the best-selling mystery series, the Hardy Boys -- has been given by his heirs to Hamilton's McMaster University.

In the mid-1920s, McFarlane worked as a staff reporter for a Springfield (MA) newspaper before seeing an advertisement for a children's book ghostwriter, placed by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Under the pen name Roy Rockwood, McFarlane produced seven novels in the Dave Fearless series for the syndicate before moving on to write more than 20 Hardy Boys novels, including the first 16 in the series. For most of these, he was paid a flat fee of $100 per book and, although the novels sold many millions of copies and were translated into 50 languages, he earned no royalties.

It was only a year before his death in 1977 that McFarlane announced his role in their creation. The Stratemeyer Syndicate had insisted that their ghostwriters never reveal authorship.

"He left a wonderful legacy," says son Brian McFarlane. "He got millions of kids hooked on reading."

Read the entire article on GlobeAndMail.com here.

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