July Publications

Marion Chesney (aka M.C. Beaton) launches a sparkling new Edwardian series with Snobbery with Violence. Fans of the author's Agatha Raisin and Hamish Hamilton series should welcome this tale of aristocrats, house parties, servants and murder. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95 224p ISBN 0-312-30451-X)

Seventh-century Irish nun Sister Fidelma faces one of her most challenging cases yet when her boat is blown off course and she and her companion, Brother Eadulf, land on the coast of the kingdom of Dyfed (modern-day Wales) in Peter Tremayne's Smoke in the Wind. Tremayne is the pen name of Celtic scholar Peter Berresford Ellis. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 288p ISBN 0-312-28780-1)

The pseudonymous Nero Blanc (the husband-wife writing team of Steve Zettler and Cordelia Frances Biddle) offers another dandy puzzler in Corpus de Crossword. PI Rosco Polycrates and crossword editor Belle Graham investigate when the body of a young woman turns up on a building site in a quaint New England town threatened by development. (Berkley Prime Crime, $13 paper 320p ISBN 0-425-19021-8)

The wisecracks and puns again fly fast and thick in Last Writes: A Jaine Austen Mystery, the sequel to Laura Levine's well-received debut, This Pen for Hire (Forecasts, March 25, 2002). Jaine lands a gig as a writer on the TV show "Muffy 'n Me" (aka "Bewitched with Tits"), but when the sitcom's gorgeous male star and notorious ladies' man drops dead after eating a poisoned donut, Jaine's dismayed to discover that the chief suspect is her best friend Kandi. (Kensington, $22 240p ISBN 0-7582-0160-5)