Murder Is Their Business

WHAT: FIVE ECLECTIC MYSTERY NOVELS

WHO: JAMES LEE BURKE, COLIN DEXTER, H.R.F. KEATING, EMMA LATHEN AND ED MCBAIN

THE BOTTOM LINE: Masters -- and a mistress -- demonstrate the genre's range.

To those who still don't care who killed Roger Ackroyd, all murder mysteries look pretty much the same. A corpse is uncovered early. Midway through, a prime suspect emerges, only to develop an unshakable (or is it?) alibi. At the climax, a recklessly brave detective confronts the cunning culprit and somehow elicits a confession. Any detours along this well-traveled route are apt to involve the jiggery-pokery of disguises, coincidences and...

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