March Publications

The political scandals and bedroom intrigues of sixth-century B.C. Athens swirl around hero Alcibiades, a courageous (and sexy) Athenian general, in Daniel Chavarría's (Adios Muchachos) dense, imaginative and often extremely pretentious The Eye of Cybele. The Uruguayan-born mystery writer combines historical fact, Socratic discourse and plenty of plot twists in a novel that ponders everything from the disappearance of the titular jewel to the establishment of a bizarre new religion. (Akashic [], $27 413p ISBN 1-888451-25-4)

What do English smalltown vigilantes, two murders, a missing pedophile and some newly discovered letters of Thomas Hardy have in common? It's up to Detective Inspector Nick Holroyd to find out in Ann Quinton's (This Mortal Coil) Bought with Blood, a fast-paced and carefully plotted tale that has poor Holroyd also coping with a hitch in his wedding plans—he may have discovered a son—and a hit-and-run accident involving his fiancée and another surprise child. (Severn, $25.99 256p ISBN 0-7278-5703-7)

Intrigue Press offers readers two new additions to its WorldKrime list, a series that features compelling backgrounds for the dance between villain and hero: each mystery is set in an international locale and penned by a local author. Murder in Amsterdam is a pair of Dutch bestselling author and former police inspector A.C. Baantjer's Inspector DeKok stories (there are more than 40), "DeKok and the Sunday Strangler" and "DeKok and the Corpse on Christmas Eve." In the first, the inspector must determine who's killing the women of the red light district; in the second, he's forced to break the law in order to uphold it. (Intrigue [], $23.95 304p ISBN 1-890768-43-X)

Sydney, Australia, is the setting for Aboriginal author Philip McLaren's Scream Black Murder, the story of a double killing investigated by the two rookie detectives of the Aboriginal Homicide Unit, New South Wales PD. It's Gary Leslie's and Lisa Fuller's first murder case, and it's plenty difficult—and that's before the third murder, the attendant media frenzy and complications caused by their growing fondness for one another. (Intrigue, $23.95 252p ISBN -42-1)

Liu Chiang-shin, whose name means "a mind as sharp as a sword," was raised in Maoist China, where he saw his father murdered by the Red Guards; 30 years later he's a private detective in New York City investigating the brutal killing of the woman he loved. Dean Barrett's (Kingdom of Make-Believe) Murder in China Red follows the man everyone calls Chinaman as he grapples with cops, bad guys and his own inner demons in a classically toned—and sometimes cliched—whodunit. (Village East Books [], $11.95 paper 259p ISBN 0-9661899-4-9)

Multiple points of view round out a solid tale of murders, the Irish troubles and golf games in Don Wade's Take Dead Aim. When the leader of a splinter faction of the IRA hires a hit man to kill Britain's most famous golfer in the midst of tournament play, the caddy gets killed instead—as does the girl who sheltered the would-be assassin. A burned-out CIA agent who's considering a career in finance investigates, discovering contradictory clues, international intrigue—and even love. (Sleeping Bear [], $22.95 224p ISBN 1-58536-037-6)

Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Byram St. George and his assistant Detective Sergeant Laurence Poole trade good-humored gibes and enjoy each other's company while investigating a mysterious—and fatal—fire at a computer plant in Scotland's version of Silicon Valley. They're aided by a down-on-his-luck Scottish detective and thwarted by hostile local authorities in retired surgeon Peter Jamesson's Unplayable Lie, the first in a series of mysteries starring the golf-loving, crotchety St. George. (Sleeping Bear [], $22.95 224p ISBN 1-58536-088-0)