Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Hardcover Mysteries for September 2009

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in September 2009. Please note that some titles may publish early (and may already be available) and some may be delayed, published at a later date.

Below 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 Amazon.com 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:

(Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter), (Lady Emily Ashton), (Frank Kavanagh), (Jade Del Cameron), (Agatha Raisin), (Billy Boyle, WWII), (Ben Kincaid), (Rep and Melissa Pennyworth), (Oscar Wilde), (Robert Langdon), (Archie Sheridan), (Shetland Quartet), (Wind River), (Milt Kovak), Elizabeth Darrell (Max Rydal), (Circle Trilogy), (Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher), (Gideon Oliver), James Ellroy (Underworld USA), (Stephanie Plum), Christine Feehan (Dark Series), (Jane Wheel), (John Peter "JP" Kinkaid), (Daisy Lane), (Ellie Quicke), (Reykjavik Murder Mystery), (Victor Legris), (Karen Vail), Bill James (Harpur and Iles), Quintin Jardine (Skinner), (Medieval West Country, Knights Templar), R. M. Johnson (Million Dollar Series), (Sloane Burbank), (Cork O'Connor), (Dexter Morgan), (Peter Diamond), (Logan McRae), (Brock and Kolla), (Joe Gunther), (Benedict Devlin), (Tito Amato), (Emma Winberry), (Ben Geller), (V. I. Warshawski), (Armand Gamache), Robert J. Randisi (Rat Pack), (Harry Brock), (Sukey Reynolds), (Virgil Flowers), (Isabel Dalhousie), (Jack Carpenter), (Stoney Calhoun), (Crispin Guest, Medieval Noir), (Elizabeth Pepperhawk / Avivah Rosen), F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack), (Holly Barker)

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

(Nikki Heat), Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood (Fargo Adventure), (Finn), (Jason Kolarich), (Lottie Albright), (Elizabeth Parker), (Conor Bard), (Henry Sullivan), (Hook Runyon), (Mattie Winston), (Dulcie Schwartz), (Jordan Sandor), (Bess Crawford)

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

, , , , , , , , , Ronald Damien Malfi, , Pamela Oldfield, , Ralph Peters, , , Lisa Tucker,

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 September 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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New Trailer for HBO Series Bored to Death

Bored to Death (HBO)

HBO has released a new trailer for its upcoming "noir-otic" comedy Bored to Death, which can be seen on the series website. The series stars Jason Schwartzman as mystery writer Jonathan Ames, who moonlights as a private investigator ... not unlike the character in his stories. The series also stars Zach Galifianakis as his friend and confidant Ray Hueston, a graphic artist.

There is a real Jonathan Ames, a writer credited with creating the series.

The 30-minute series premieres on September 20th at 9:30 PM (ET/PT) and HBO will initially air 8 episodes as its first season. Watch a 30-second introduction to the series below:

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Abracadaver by Peter Lovesey

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

Abracadaver by Peter Lovesey

by
A Sergeant Cribb Investigation

Soho Constable (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-561-X (156947561X)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-561-4 (9781569475614)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $14.00

Review: Sergeant Cribb is assigned to look into mischief taking place at entertainment halls in Victorian London in Abracadaver, the third mystery in this series by Peter Lovesey. This novel was originally published in 1972, and now available in a new trade paperback edition by Soho Press.

Sergeant Cribb fears the incidents, all relatively minor in nature so far, will escalate into something more serious when he receives a playbill with the following words circled: "Sensational" Hatchet Thrower, Jason Buckmaster "Tragedy" Actor and Rhetorician, Grampian in Blackfriars Road "Tonight" -- Sensational Tragedy Tonight. Cribb and his partner Constable Thackery believe they have the answer but then another crime is committed, this time murder. Together, the detectives set a trap that they hope will ensnare the killer before another death occurs.

The relatively short books in this series are all about crime and resolution. There isn't a lot of action, nor are they brimming with "edge of your seat" thrills, and they are largely free of the cumbersome backstories that typically weigh down modern murder mysteries. Rather, they include cleverly devised plots that often rely on deduction and reasoning to expose the culprit. True, the situations in which the detectives, especially Thackery, find themselves are somewhat amusing, but never at the expense of a story well told. Abracadaver is a terrific example of the series, and one worth seeking out.

Special thanks to Soho Press for providing a copy of Abracadaver for this review.

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

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Abracadaver from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): A sadistic practical joker is haunting the popular music halls of London, interfering with the actors and interrupting their acts by orchestrating humiliating disasters that take place in view of the audience. A trapeze artist misses her timing when the trapeze ropes are shortened. A comedian who invites the audience to sing along with him finds the words of his song “shamefully” altered. Mustard has been applied to a sword swallower’s blade. A singer’s costume has been rigged. The girl in a magician’s box is trapped. Then the mischief escalates to murder. Or was murder intended all along?

That indomitable detective team, Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray of Scotland Yard, must track down the elusive criminal.

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New Mystery Prize Package Giveaway! The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Mystery Book Contests

is delighted to announce a new mystery book prize package giveaway! Dutton is giving away a signed copy of Marcus Sakey's fourth thriller, The Amateurs.

The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Alex is failing as a father. Ian keeps dangerous secrets. Jenn is pining for adventure; Mitch is pining for Jenn. Four friends just getting by. Every Thursday night they've found solace in a couple of beers and a couple of laughs. But months turn to years, and suddenly a decade is gone. None of them are where -- or who -- they hoped to be.

And they've decided to do something about it. To stop waiting, and start taking.

But what was supposed to be a victimless crime has become a bloody nightmare. People have been killed. A child is in danger. Ruthless men pursue them with relentless fury. And tensions they thought were long-buried threaten to destroy them. As their whole world begins to unravel, each will have to choose between their own life and the lives of others-including their best friends.

Enter daily! Provide your name and e-mail address on the The Amateurs giveaway entry form and correctly answer the contest question for a chance to win a prize package that includes a signed copy of The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey, courtesy of Dutton. Estimated prize package value: $35.

Remember to visit regularly to check for new mystery book prize package giveaways.

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Mystery Book Review: Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Murder on Waverly Place by Victoria Thompson

by
A Gaslight Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22775-8 (0425227758)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22775-6 (9780425227756)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Amateur sleuth Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate murder with a supernatural twist in Murder on Waverly Place, the 11th mystery in the historical Gaslight series by Victoria Thompson.

Sarah's mother, Elizabeth Decker, who had turned her unmarried pregnant daughter away when she needed her mother the most and died in childbirth, wants to know if her daughter can forgive her and decides to seek help from a local medium, Madame Serafina. Mrs. Decker and her best friend since childhood, Mrs. Burke, attend a séance together with three others: two men, Mr. Sharpe and Mr. Cunningham, and one other woman, Mrs. Gittings. They sit in a circle each holding the wrist of the person seated next to them. Yellow Feather, an Indian warrior who passed away over 100 years ago, is Madame Serafina’s spirit guide. While Yellow Feather is trying to answer the questions of each one, the room becomes unsettled and noisy. Suddenly Mrs. Gittings slumps over, falls to the floor and dies. When the lights come on it is discovered she has been stabbed in the back with a stiletto. How can this be? Everyone was holding on to another person. No one could have possibly stabbed another person without letting go of a wrist and no one felt anyone let go of their wrist.

The people in the room are wealthy, and DS Frank Malloy knows how difficult it is to question them. He asks Sarah to get involved; she can talk to them and they won't realize they are being interrogated. It turns out each attendee at the fatal séance had a grudge against Mrs. Gittings, and although they weren’t overly saddened by her death, each declared their innocence. This being the case, which one killed Mrs. Gittings? And how and why? In order to try to find answers to these questions, another séance is scheduled with someone sitting in for Mrs. Gittings. Sarah and Frank believe they will be able to solve the case before anyone else gets a stiletto in their back.

Murder on Waverly Place is a very entertaining entry in this series. The interplay between Sarah and Frank is light and playful, each trying to one up each other during the murder investigation. The author provides historical details that not only add authenticity to the story but also interest and depth. The characters are well drawn, and the supernatural element adds a bit of intrigue. Readers who enjoy historical mysteries will find this a good introduction to the characters and the setting; those familiar with the series will look forward another satisfying entry.

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

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

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Murder on Waverly Place from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Murder on Waverly Place (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Sarah Brandt is not completely surprised when her very proper mother asks her to attend a séance. She knows that Mrs. Decker still carries great guilt over the death of her older daughter, Maggie. So Sarah accompanies her and the spiritualist does seem to contact Maggie—convincing Mrs. Decker to attend another séance.

Only this time, one of the attendees doesn’t succeed in speaking to the dead—she joins them. Now, it’s up to Sarah and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect Mrs. Decker from scandal—by determining how a woman was murdered in the pitch dark when every suspect was holding the hand of the person next to them.

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Nominations for 2009 SCIBA T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award Announced

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

The nominees for the 2009 T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award, given out by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA), have been announced. This award recognizes excellence in books that reflect Southern California culture or lifestyle, with authors/illustrators living within the SCIBA region. The mystery award is named after T. Jefferson Parker, a life-long resident of Southern California and Edgar Award-winning author.

The nominees are:

◊ Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin's Minotaur)
◊ The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books)
◊ The Grift by Debra Ginsberg (Shaye Areheart Books)

Visit for more information on over 30 other awards recognizing outstanding mystery fiction.

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New DVD in the Hurray for Huckle! Mystery Series for Kids Available Today

Hurray for Huckle! The Spooky Secrets of Busy Town

A new DVD in the "Hurray for Huckle!" series of mysteries for kids is now available: The Spooky Secrets of Busytown. Your child will love detecting mysteries with Huckle and friends using clues and information to solve the questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Do those mysterious footprints belong to a monster? Is that a ghost near the old lighthouse? Help Huckle and the gang get to the bottom of these spooky secrets and more!

The series is based on the books by Richard Scarry and features Huckle Cat, his sister Sally Cat, and their friend Lowly the Worm who solve mysteries by examining evidence. The cartoon series currently airs as part of Kids' CBC in Canada; it is scheduled to air as part of the Cookie Jar TV on CBS in the US this September.

The series also has a new website, BusytownMysteries.com, where kids can explore different neighborhoods of Busytown, play fun games, and interact with the Busytown characters.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Mysteries on TV: Booker, Lie to Me, NCIS, The Untouchables, and Wiseguy, New This Week on DVD

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, is profiling five series that have season DVDs being released this week.

— ◊ —

The success of 21 Jump Street prompted Fox to spin-off one of the characters in his own series. featured Richard Grieco as Dennis Booker, a disgraced former member of the Vancouver police department now working as an investigator with a Japanese conglomerate. The series also starred Carmen Argenziano, Marcia Strassman, Katie Rich, and Lori Petty.

The series was scheduled as a lead-in to the 4th season of 21 Jump Street (Grieco as Booker having been introduced during the 3rd season), but it never caught on with viewers and lasted only one season.

The Booker: The Complete Series DVD set of 4 discs contain the 22 episodes of the series that aired on Fox from September 1989 through May 1990.

— ◊ —

Tim Roth stars as Dr. Cal Lightman, a man who can detect the truth by analyzing a person's face, in , a Fox series that debuted as a mid-season replacement in January 2009. The series has been renewed for a second season, scheduled to premiere September 28, 2009.

Assisting federal law enforcement, government agencies and local police with their most difficult cases, Lightman's company, The Lightman Group, study facial expressions and involuntary body language to discover if someone is lying and why. In its first season, the drama unfolds as the team is faced with numerous cases to unravel, including a student fleeing a murder scene, a college basketball player accused of accepting a bribe from his university, a NASA test pilot accused of intentionally crashing a multimillion dollar aircraft, and much more.

The Lie to Me: Season One DVD set of 4 discs contain the 13 episodes that aired during the spring of 2009. Also available: Lie to Me: Season One (Blu-ray disc).

— ◊ —

(Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is more than just an action drama. With liberal doses of humor, it's a show that focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in high-stress situations.

NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), a former Marine gunnery sergeant, whose skills as an investigator are unmatched, formerly led this troupe of colorful personalities. Gibbs, a man of few words, only needs a look to explain it all. From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents travel the globe to investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties.

The NCIS: Season Six DVD set of 6 discs contain the 25 episodes that aired on CBS from September 2008 through May 2009. The series has been renewed for a 7th season, which premieres September 22, 2009 at 8 PM (ET/PT). A spin-off from the series, NCIS: Los Angeles, will have its premiere an hour later.

— ◊ —

followed an elite Chicago crime squad led by Special Agent Eliot Ness (Robert Stack) going after the mob during Prohibition in 1930. The series aired on ABC for 4 seasons.f

The third season featured a number of prominent guest actors, including Peter Falk, Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Dyan Cannon, Patricia Neal, Martin Balsam, and Cloris Leachman, and, at the time the relatively unknown, Leonard Nimoy and Ed Asner.

The studio is issuing the series on DVD as two-part seasons. The Untouchables: Season Three (V1) DVD set of 4 discs contain the 14 episodes that aired on ABC during the first half of the third season, from October 1961 through February 1962.

— ◊ —

Ken Wahl starred as a Justice Department agent reassigned to the Organized Crime Bureau (OCB) in . The series aired on CBS for 4 seasons.

Created by veteran producer Steven J Cannell, Wiseguy deviated from traditional crime dramas by allowing stories to span several episodes allowing the OCB to bring its case—and its charismatic criminal suspects—to a logical conclusion. No matter the cost to criminal, victim, or cop.

The Wiseguy: Season One DVD set of 4 discs contain the 21 episodes that aired on CBS from September 1987 through March 1988.

— ◊ —

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for August 24, 2009

A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

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

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for August 24, 2009

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A C E I J M O P S

He co-wrote a neo-noir crime series with Tom Fassbender featuring PI Benjamin Drake (9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

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

   

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan

by
A Poke Rafferty Mystery

William Morrow (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-167223-8 (0061672238)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-167223-1 (9780061672231)
Publication Date: August 2009
List Price: $24.99

Review: Here's what Timothy Hallinan's third Bangkok thriller, Breathing Water, isn't: it isn't a murder mystery (there is no murder to solve), it isn't a police procedural (no crime has been committed to investigate), it most definitely isn't a cozy (no cats or recipes to try at home). It is, however, an exceptionally compelling novel of a man caught up in a sequences of events that are spiraling out of control for everyone involved ... with little chance that anyone can come out unscathed.

The man is journalist Poke Rafferty, who's participating in a staged poker game, though with real and unsuspecting players, at the request of his police buddies, which is being videotaped to teach casino owners how to spot cheaters. One of the players, however, takes exception when he apparently loses to Rafferty. He is Pan, the richest man in Thailand. He isn't pacified when he learns it was simply a training exercise, and challenges Rafferty to another game to save face. The stakes: if Pan wins, Rafferty must exit the country, leaving his wife and young daughter behind; if Pan loses, Rafferty gets to write a biography of Pan with Pan's full cooperation. The journalist in Rafferty understands that behind every great fortune is a great crime. Still, he really has no choice but to play.

Soon after winning the hand, Rafferty is threatened by two separate groups. One insists he not write the biography, the other insists he does. Both make it clear the consequences of his action -- or inaction -- are physical harm to him and his family. Rafferty's sure Pan is behind the "don't write" group, but Pan's sudden cooperation makes him doubtful. "I don't know what I think about him," Rafferty says at one point, "and a lot depends on who he really is." It seems inconceivable, but Rafferty suspects there might be a third, unknown, party involved. Soon it becomes obvious that Rafferty is in the middle of something much bigger than the stakes of a poker game, rather "a maze, an urban labyrinth with several ways in and probably only one safe way out."

The thrill in reading Breathing Water comes from the subtle, but relentless, escalation of tension in the story. A number of unexpected plot points, including Pan's apparent sudden change of heart with regard to the biography, keep the reader wary. There is also a separate subplot that is interweaved into the Rafferty / Pan storyline involving a woman and a child, and the street kids that were introduced in the first book of the series. Interesting and compelling in and of itself, the author does finally merge it into the main story as a way of getting the kids involved in Rafferty's scheme to salvage what he can of his situation; and while it's a welcome addition, it's not clear its inclusion is strictly necessary as it does tend to slow the pace at times. The poignant conclusion will no doubt bring a tear or two to one's eyes.

The title comes from a conversation Rafferty's police friend Arthit has with him. "Let me give you an image," Arthit says. "If it would clarify your situation to think about it visually, then imagine this: You're at the bottom of the Chao Phraya [River], wandering around on the riverbed without a map, and breathing water. You just haven't realized it yet." Breathing Water is really quite a remarkable and unusual novel and may be Hallinan's best to date.

Special thanks to Timothy Hallinan for providing an ARC of Breathing Water for this review.

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

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Breathing Water from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Breathing Water (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Behind every great fortune is a great crime ...

For American ex-pat writer Poke Rafferty, a late-night poker game delivers an unexpected prize: an "opportunity" to write the biography of Khun Pan, a flamboyant, vulgar, self-made billionaire with a criminal past and far-reaching political ambitions. The win seems like a stroke of luck, but as with so many things in vibrant, seductive, contradictory Bangkok—a city of innocence and evil, power and poverty—the allure of appearances masks something much darker. Within a few hours of folding his cards, Rafferty, his wife, Rose, beloved adopted daughter, Miaow, and best friend, Arthit, an honest Bangkok cop, have become pawns in a political struggle among some of Thailand's richest, most powerful, and most ruthless people.

A hero to the poor and dispossessed, Pan is like a bone in the throats of the beautiful, sophisticated "good" people who own and control every facet of Thailand and want more. There are many who would prefer that a book, especially a sympathetic book, stay unwritten. And there are others who want to expose Pan's darker secrets, information useful in a preemptive strike against this profligate billionaire who can threaten their hold on power—a situation they will go to murderous lengths to prevent.

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, Rafferty is breathing water and sinking deeper in a sea of intrigue with each passing hour. The trouble multiplies when a missing young street friend of Miaow's reappears, needing Rafferty's help to protect an innocent village girl trapped in a baby-selling ring. Pushed ever closer to the abyss, Rafferty has one chance to get them all out alive. But to succeed, this foreigner must do the impossible—keep a cool Thai heart.

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Games of Mystery: Nancy Drew Dossier, Resorting to Danger, New for PC

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and getaway vacations including murder mystery weekends, is pleased to announce the availability of a new game for Windows PC.

Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger!

Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger! is the second game in this new series of casual games featuring the girl sleuth.

You, as Nancy Drew, must stop a bomber from ruining the Redondo Spa clients’ rejuvenation and relaxation. The high maintenance clients won’t be happy if they find that their retreat is about to explode, even if the bombs are more prankster gross-outs than dangerous.

Nancy Drew is undercover as the spa gopher catering to the customers’ eccentric requests while defusing bombs. From celebrities who escape here to the receptionist at the front desk—everyone is a suspect! Who is sabotaging the spa and can Nancy catch the culprit before the spa loses all of its clients?

Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger! is currently scheduled for release for Windows PC platforms on August 25th, 2009, and may be pre-ordered now. It is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and older.

View the game trailer below:

Don't forget to visit for all types of mysterious fun!

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Daily Mail Begins Serialization of Lost Agatha Christie Poirot Story Today

Agatha Christie

Unseen for 60 years, the Daily Mail begins today the serialization of a lost short story by Agatha Christie featuring her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Titled "The Capture of Cerberus" (which was also the title the author used for another, completely different story published in 1947), it features a Russian femme fatale, a crazed tyrant, and an assassination that shakes the world.

Her story notes had lain undiscovered for decades, gathering dust in a battered cardboard box. There were shopping lists and jottings, hastily scribbled notes, and page after page of virtually indecipherable handwriting in blue-lined notebooks. But author and dedicated Christie enthusiast John Curran painstakingly threaded together the notes and handwritten ingredients of an unseen story that eventually became a typed script.

The story is unusual in that Christie ventures into (then) contemporary politics, surely one of the reasons the story wasn't accepted for publication at the time, and it includes a hint of sex: Poirot is stirred into excitement by feminine beauty.

Curran writes of his discovery in a new book, Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making, to be published in the UK next month. In the meantime, visit the Daily Mail to read a serialized version of "The Capture of Cerberus" now.

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Nominations for the 2009 Shamus Awards Announced

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

Nominations for the 2009 Shamus Awards were posted last night on the Private Eye Writers of America blog. The awards are given annually to honor excellence in the private eye genre.

And the nominees are (with the series character in parentheses) ...

Best Hardcover:
Salvation Boulevard by Larry Beinhart (Carl Vanderveer)
Empty Ever After by Reed Farrel Coleman (Moe Prager)
The Blue Door by David Fulmer (Eddie Cero)
The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (Ed Loy)
The Ancient Rain by Domenic Stansberry (Dante Mancuso)

Best First P.I. Novel:
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer (Riley Spartz)
Swann’s Last Song by Charles Salzberg (Henry Swann)
The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang (Mei Wang)
In the Heat by Ian Vasquez (Miles Young)
Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson (Crispin Guest)

Best Paperback Original:
Snow Blind by Lori Armstrong (Julie Collins)
Shot Girl by Karen Olson (Annie Seymour)
by Jason Pinter (Henry Parker)
by Will Thomas (Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn)
The Evil That Men Do by Dave White (Jackson Donne)

Best Short Story:
• “Family Values” by Mitch Alderman (Bubba Simms)
• “Last Island South” by John C. Boland (Meggie Trevor)
• “The Blonde Tigress” by Max Allan Collins (Nate Heller)
• “Discovery” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Pita Cardenas)
• “Panic on Portage Path” by Dick Stodghill (Jack Eddy and Bram Geary)

Mystery Book Reviews by Mysterious Reviewsindicates a review by Mysterious Reviews.

Winners will be announced at this year's Bouchercon in October.

Congratulations from everyone at MBN to the nominees!

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Games of Mystery: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, New for Nintendo DS

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and getaway vacations including murder mystery weekends, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game for the Nintendo DS. More mystery games for this platforms are available on our recently updated webpage.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Nintendo DS)

The highly anticipated second game in the Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, is released this week!

In the world of Professor Layton, puzzles hide in every corner. When the professor's mentor is mysteriously murdered, a cursed artifact called the Elysian Box appears to be behind it. With a ticket to the Molentary Express as their only lead, Professor Layton and Luke embark on an adventure that will test their wits and work their brains.

With tons of in-game puzzles of different types and difficulties, there's something for everyone from kids to adults. As Professor Layton, you'll open doors with sliding puzzles, uncover clues with logic puzzles, and find answers by solving riddles. A cinematic experience! This large-scale sequel to Professor Layton and the Curious Village features three times the voiced dialogue and movies of its predecessor. The fully voiced movies, hand-drawn art style, and cast of eccentric characters bring the story to life and are sure to charm puzzle fans young and old.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is currently scheduled for release for the Nintendo DS on August 24th, 2009.

Watch a story trailer for Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box below:

Don't forget to visit for all types of mysterious fun!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Leaden Skies by Ann Parker

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

Leaden Skies by Ann Parker

by
An Inez Stannert Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-577-1 (1590585771)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-577-1 (9781590585771)
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Former President Ulysses S. Grant's visit to the mining town of Leadville, Colorado, sets off a cascade of events that start with the murder of a prostitute in the town's "red light" district in Leaden Skies, the third mystery in this series by Ann Parker.

The dead woman is Lizzie, one of the girls who worked for Florence "Frisco Flo" Sweet, a woman striving to provide exclusive and discreet services for discriminating clients willing pay a little more than what her competitors are charging. Lizzie didn't quite fit in, being a little too forward and a little too indiscreet, but it is still a shock when she turns up dead. Meanwhile, Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert, concerned about the future of her establishment, strikes a private deal with Flo that should benefit both parties. But there are other secrets in this small town and clearly someone is afraid one of them will be exposed. Inez believes she must solve the mystery of Lizzie's death lest her own secret arrangement become public knowledge.

Leaden Skies seems to have all the right ingredients for a rousing mystery yet in the end it seems incomplete, somewhat unsatisfactory. The characters are interesting and well drawn, the sense of time and place outstanding. The murder of Lizzie is well staged and a credible list of suspects presented. The narrative is colorful and entertaining, and exceptionally well written. And yet there isn't a sense of urgency or suspense, of engaging the reader in the investigation as to who murdered Lizzie and why.

There's really quite a lot here to appeal to mystery readers, with its historical background, colorful characters, and well plotted story, but Leaden Skies is ever so slightly disappointing nonetheless.

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

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

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Synopsis (from the publisher): In the summer of 1880, the siren song of a lucky silver find in the mining boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, isn't the only thing that leads folks into temptation. Although possible investment in Leadville's silver mines is a main reason that former president and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant is now touring this city at the top of the Rockies, others in his retinue and in town are enticed by other visions. Political aspirations fuel the dreams of young John Quincy Adams Wesley and his mother, while itinerant fire insurance mapmaker Cecil Farnesworth struggles against the seductive call of State Street, Leadville's red-light district.

As part owner of the Silver Queen Saloon, Inez Stannert has often observed the ruination that comes from yielding to temptation. Still, that knowledge hasn't stopped Inez from taking Reverend Justice Sands as her lover, in the absence of news of her missing husband. Nor does it stop her from striking a backroom deal with upscale brothel madam Frisco Flo, a deal that Inez gambles will make her financially independent.

But when the body of Lizzie, one of Flo's women, is discovered and Inez learns that Flo has another silent business partner, whose identity she will not divulge, Inez begins to have second thoughts. Inez, in a race against time to untangle the dealings of the high and the low during Grant's visit, must also face her own demons from the past, even as she fights to save her reputation and her life.

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