January Publications

Shipboard sleuths George Porter Dillman and Genevieve Masefield return in Conrad Allen's (Murder on the Mauretania) latest endeavor, Murder on the Minnesota. Set in the early 20th century, the tale embroils the handsome PI couple in an investigation into the death of a fellow passenger—an Anglican missionary—on the ship's journey to the Far East; well-drawn characters and precise historical details add to its appeal. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 352p ISBN 0-312-28092-0)

A mysterious fire, a vicious attack, stolen art and two displaced Polish children all figure in to the complex, layered plot of A Sunset Touch, by British mystery pro Marjorie Eccles. Detective Superintendent Gil Mayo oversees two different cases investigated by two different inspectors, until a Klee painting leads him to a different country—and a common thread. (St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $22.95 208p ISBN 0-312-28353-9)

In Dallas entrepreneur Elizabeth Jeffett's debut mystery, Silent Partners, romantic intrigue and oil-business wheeling and dealing—not to mention a little yuppie product name-dropping—flesh out the story of an unsolved murder. Ten years after she built a successful company with her friend Chris's assistance, Alex Sheridan finds herself reopening the wounds of her friend's death and a lost love, as the decade-old murder investigation heats up and Alex herself becomes a target. With a $50,000 marketing campaign and support from Philip M. Pfeffer, former Random House president, this should attract more than usual attention for a first novel. (Elton-Wolf [www.elton-wolf.com], $24.95 393p ISBN 1-58619-032-6)

Spookaroonie, Robert Eringer's (Lo Mein) absurdist thriller, puts an ex-FBI agent with Tourette's syndrome and an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Willis hot on the trail of X-Files-type mysteries (conspiracy theories, UFOs, etc.) and a CIA official who's hiding out in Cuba—and who may or may not be insane—in a hyperactive, bizarre romp through the high-stakes world of global espionage. Short chapters, a high-speed plot and zippy if occasionally puerile dialogue will keep readers zooming along. (Corinthian [www.corinthianbooks.com], $19.95 202p ISBN 1-929175-27-2)

The quest to discover the Treasury of the Knights-Templar, a veritable mountain of riches that disappeared in the 1300s, drives a 16th-century noblewoman to try to access ancestral memories—what she calls "seeing-back"—to guide her in Fire, Burn!, Mallory Dorn Hart's fourth historical novel. Heroine Lyse-Magdalene de Bourbon-Tonnière and her Italian companion Ferrante travel the French countryside and encounter various dangers in their search for wealth and love. (John James [79 Worth St., New York, N.Y. 10013], $12 400p ISBN 0-9675915-1-1)

British gumshoe Chris Shovelin narrates his California investigative adventures with a "dear reader" directness in Crime Writers' Association award-winner and Booker Prize nominee Julian Rathbone's sharply written and absorbing Homage. When Shovelin finds his PI friend Jefferson dead on the floor of his L.A. apartment, the Brit, financed by the glamorous China Heart, takes over Jefferson's mission to find China's brother and enters into a world of guns, blackmail and murder. (Allison & Busby, $24.95 215p ISBN 0-7490-0530-0)

The sequel to last year's Roadhouse Blues, Baron R. Birtcher's tropical noir Ruby Tuesday pitches retired LAPD detective Mike Travis—who only wants to get away from it all—headlong into a dangerous criminal investigation when he finds his Hawaiian home full of drugs and bullets, as well as the bodies of a rock star and his entourage. Murders multiply and the lone lead is but a rumor: the "Lost Tapes" of a famous band, which more characters than the honest Travis are after. (Durban [7502 Greenville Ave., Dallas, Tex. 75231], $24.95 303p ISBN 1-930754-11-6)

Edgar nominee and Shamus Award—winner Max Allan Collins—a bestselling author whose graphic novel Road to Perdition is the foundation of a DreamWorks film due out in March—turns his attention to the evolution of his favorite form in The History of Mystery, a gift book and reference tome for all whodunit fans. Nearly 400 illustrations (of dime novel covers, comic strips, movie posters and album graphics) reveal the genre in all its garish glory, while Collins's text considers all the usual suspects, from Poe to Pinkerton to Poirot and beyond. (Collectors Press [www.collectorspress.com], $45 196p ISBN 1-888054-53-0)

December Publication

"Pulp fiction never dies!" proclaims Maxim Jakubowski—and he might be right: the editor of The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction returns with The Mammoth Book of Pulp Action, a celebration of the hardboiled form. From Raoul Whitfield's 1929 "Sinners' Paradise" to Michael Guinzburg's 2000 "The Gangsta Wore Red," this volume has all the big guns, dirty cops, shady characters and dishonest damsels a pulp enthusiast could hope for. (Carroll & Graf, $11.95 630p ISBN 0-7867-0920-0