April Publications

It's a hoot—Donna Andrews's Owl's Well That Ends Well: A Meg Langslow Mystery, that is, the sixth entry in her bird-themed cozy series (after 2004's We'll Always Have Parrots). The discovery of a local antique dealer's corpse in a trunk upsets Meg's yard sale of objects from the overstuffed old mansion she and boyfriend, Michael, have recently bought in the little college town of Caerphilly. A supporting cast of endearingly eccentric characters, perfectly pitched dialogue and a fine sense of humor make this a treat. Agent, Curtis Brown. Author tour.(St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $21.95 304p ISBN 0-312-32938-5)

Lady Rose Summer gets engaged to her paramour, Capt. Harry Cathcart, if only to avoid being shipped off to India, but a dramatic murder soon distracts the couple in Marion Chesney's Sick of Shadows: An Edwardian Murder Mystery, the third in this charming historical series (after 2004's Hasty Death). Agent, Barbara Lowenstein.(St. Martin's Minotaur, $22.95 224p ISBN 0-312-32964-4)

David Daniel's fourth Alex Rasmussen whodunit, The Marble Kite, falls short of the high mark set by its predecessor, Goofy Foot (2004). Still recovering from the psychic scars of his dismissal from the Lowell, Mass., police department and his divorce, PI Rasmussen looks into the murder of a woman at a traveling carnival and gets on the trail of corruption in high places. A major plot twist may strike some as coming out of left field. (St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95 288p ISBN 0-312-32351-4)

The European art world provides the backdrop for The Nature of Rare Things, British author Derek Wilson's run-of-the-mill second mystery to feature paranormal investigator Nathaniel Gye (after 2004's Tripletree). At the request of a dead man, Robert Gomer, channeled through a medium, Gye pursues a priceless masterpiece, stolen under seemingly impossible conditions. The magic trick used to accomplish the art heist is revealed fairly early on, and the answers concerning Gomer's death come as a bit of an anticlimax. (Carroll & Graf, $25 224p ISBN 0-7867-1476-X)

Michael Pearce brings WWI-era Egypt effortlessly to life in The Point in the Market: A Mamur Zapt Mystery, the latest in a long-running series that manages to retain its freshness. Gareth Owen, who as the Mamur Zapt is responsible for controlling political unrest in colonial Egypt, faces several challenges: stopping a spy providing intelligence to the Turks, probing a number of suspicious fires and identifying an informant's murderer. (Poisoned Pen, $24.95 212p ISBN 1-59058-137-7)