Books: Mysteries

Of the December-January crop, the following stood out as best bets:

PUZZLE FOR PLAYERS—Patrick Quentin —Simon & Schuster ($2). Murder interrupts the rehearsals of a Broadway show. Rich plot, crackling dialogue, authentic Broadway setting.

THE BIGGER THEY COME—A. A. Fair—Morrow ($2). Introducing fat, profane Detective Bertha Cool and her runty assistant Donald Lam. Slot-machine racketeers in a Southwestern locale, with a jackpot ending that turns on a neat legal trick.

FATAL DESCENT—John Rhode & Carter Dickson—Dodd, Mead ($2). A meticulous Scotland Yard inspector and a theorizing police surgeon solve the shooting of a London...

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