October Publications

In M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House, the Cotswolds village sleuth investigates the murder of the owner of a supernaturally challenged house—and meets a handsome new neighbor. Besides the Hamish Macbeth series, Beaton is the author of Snobbery with Violence (Forecasts, June 2), an Edwardian mystery, writing as Marion Chesney. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 256p ISBN 0-312-20769-7)

Deviously, and over many pots of tea, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher befriends suspects and ferrets out secrets in an effort to solve a dentist's murder in Carola Dunn's Die Laughing: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery. As ever, the author brings upper-class society in 1920s Britain wonderfully to life. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 288p ISBN 0-312-30913-9)

In Karen Harper's The Queene's Christmas: An Elizabeth I Mystery, murder threatens to spoil the Yule celebrations at court. Period recipes at the start of each chapter add to the 16th-century holiday fun. (St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $24.95 320p ISBN 0-312-30175-8)

The international ballroom dancing competition in Atlantic City at Christmas provides the backdrop for Shelley Freydont's A Merry Little Murder: A Lindy Haggerty Mystery, the fifth glittering entry in the series (after 2002's Halloween Murder). A search for a couple to play Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in a feature film only complicates a plot fraught with jealousy, scandals and murder. (Kensington, $22 288p ISBN 0-7582-0126-5)

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, Nero Blanc (Corpus de Crossword, etc.) offers puzzle fans a treat in A Crossworder's Gift, the pseudonymous author's second story collection. The five tales range all over the map, from the Caribbean island of San Lucia ("Holly, Jolly Roger") to Las Vegas (the title story). (Berkley Prime Crime, $22.95 208p ISBN 0-425-19315-2)