These 20 tales of supernatural crimes and magical detectives feature some of the best genre writers around. From Regency England to Las Vegas to the interstellar Eraasian Hegemony, from Elizabethans to Mafia hit men to pet psychics, the variety and quality of this anthology is excellent.

Laura Resnick's "Doppelgangster" cleverly features bemused mobsters facing a strange threat. In Victorian-era London, two girls with mysterious powers are stalked by an inhuman killer in Mercedes Lackey's eerie "Grey Eminence." In "Piece of Mind" by Jennifer Roberson, an ex-cop solves the case that's been haunting him with the help of his strange new neighbor and her Welsh Corgis.

Several tales are takes on the classics: James D. MacDonald offers a drawing-room mystery rife with family secrets and psychics, "A Tremble in the Air," while "Murder Entailed" by Susan Krinard proffers up a country house murder in an alternate Victorian era. Noted punster Esther Friesner contributes "Au Purr," in which a stray cat isn't exactly what she seems. The standout, "Cold Case" by Diane Duane, features a detective who solves murders by talking to the ghosts of the victims.

Laura Anne Gilman, Roberta Gellis, Carole Nelson Douglas—there's a favorite author here for fans of cozies, romantic fantasies, historical mysteries and more. These innovative and entertaining stories are a perfect way to chase away the winter doldrums with a visit to another world. (Oct., 345 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum