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Donna Andrews, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-425-19838-4

Expert plotting and a highly original heroine lift Andrews's third entry in her Agatha Award–winning series starring an almost-sentient computer (after 2003's Click Here for Murder ). "Artificial Intelligence Personality" Turing Hopper has been monitoring the credit cards of notorious criminal-at-large Nestor Garcia, waiting for signs of activity. When suddenly thousands of dollars of purchases begin appearing, Turing traces them to deliveries to a vacant house in northern Virginia. For Garcia to be using his credit card in such a manner is highly suspicious, so Turing and "her" assistants, including human friends Tim and Maude, who work for Washington's Universal Library, start investigating. Tim watches the vacant house, but when a dead body turns up, Tim could well be the police's only real suspect in the murder. Later, someone tries to break into Maude's house, and Turing realizes that a devious plot is unfolding. Could Nestor Garcia be behind it all? As Turing works on the puzzle, racing against time, she observes everything with the wry, witty musings on human-computer relations that make this "techno-cozy" series a true standout. Agent, Ellen Geiger at Curtis Brown. (Dec. 7)

Forecast: Blurbs from Margaret Maron and Steve Hamilton will help attract readers who don't ordinarily go for cozies.