December Publications

Five Star introduces two first novels by former lawmen: Chicago ex-cop Mike Duncavan looks into the mysterious slaying of a Polish immigrant in Music Across the Wall, by Thomas J. Keevers, a Chicago trial lawyer and one-time homicide detective ($25.95 214p ISBN 1-59414-074-X); while ex—FBI agent Max Austin investigates the murder of a rich contractor whose wife stands accused of the crime in Max Conquers the Cosmos, by Mark Bouton, a former FBI agent ($25.95 208p -072-3). The same publisher also offers Joan Hess's The Deadly Ackee and Other Stories of Crime and Catastrophe, a lighthearted collection that includes a novel and four stories by the multiple Agatha and Anthony award nominee. ($25.95 294p -079-0) Head teacher Peter Logan has grand plans for Greenwood Comprehensive, his Cheltenham school, in Mortal Taste, J.M. Gregson's sixth Lambert and Hook police procedural (after An Academic Death). When a bullet puts an end to Logan's lofty ambitions, all sorts of people who had reason to disapprove of his actions come out of the woodwork. (Severn, $26.99 224p ISBN 0-7278-5989-7)

For the reference shelf there is Colleen Barnett's Mystery Women: An Encyclopedia of Leading Women Characters in Mystery Fiction, Vol. III (1990-1999). With more than 500 individual entries from Cherry Aimless to Wilhelmena "Helma" Zukas, this tome testifies to the proliferation of female sleuths in recent mystery series. (Poisoned Pen, $33.95 720p ISBN 1-59058-049-4)