Mystery readers ought to be easy to buy presents for. Just get 'em a mystery book!
But which one? Take the mystery out of your shopping with these suggestions:
_ "Stone Cold" by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing, $26.99): The members of the Camel Club, a secret group of government watchdogs, are back. Their efforts to protect honorary member/con artist Annabelle Conroy from the casino owner from whom she swindled $40 million are complicated by the emergence of a killer working on behalf of the government.
_ "Robert Ludlum's The Arctic Event" by James H. Cobb (Grand Central Publishing, $15.99): Despite being dead, Robert Ludlum continues to have his name atop spy thrillers. In the latest installment in his Covert One series, an Army doctor travels to a remote island in the Canadian Arctic to investigate the crash of a Russian plane carrying weaponized anthrax.
_ "World Without End" by Ken Follett (Dutton, $35): This tome should last you till spring! Two centuries after the people of Kingsbridge completed the cathedral that was the subject of Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth," their descendants face the threat of the Black Death. Meanwhile, fallout from witnessing an attempted assassination haunts four children into adulthood.
_ "The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved" by Judith Freeman (Pantheon, $25.95): Biography of the noir writer focuses on the twice-divorced woman he married and used as the model for his female characters.
_ "T Is for Trespass" by Sue Grafton (Putnam, $26.95): In her 20th appearance, detective Kinsey Millhone must protect her elderly neighbor Gus Vronsky when the nurse hired to help him after a fall turns out to be a sociopath using a stolen identity.
_ "The Shooters" by W.E.B. Griffin (Putnam, $26.95): Delta Force officer Charley Castillo tangles with the international drug trade when he investigates the case of a missing DEA agent whom the government won't help due to diplomatic concerns.
_ "The Darkest Evening of the Year" by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $27): Strange goings-on begin when a woman devoted to rescuing golden retrievers takes in her latest.
_ "The Most Notorious Crimes in American History" by the editors of Life magazine (Life Books, $29.95): One of the coolest books in for a long time. Mug shots, a photo of the ax found at Lizzie Borden's house, Johnny Stompanato's dead body, even the body of the so-called Black Dahlia - this irresistibly voyeuristic book would look great on your coffee table!
_ "Bleeding Kansas" by Sara Paretsky (Putnam, $25.95): A feud between two Kaw River Valley families comes to a head when the son of one is lost in Iraq.
_ "Sisters on the Case" edited by Sara Paretsky (Obsidian Mystery, $7.99 paperback): Celebrating 20 years of Sisters in Crime, this anthology includes stories by Paretsky, Nancy Pickard, Margaret Maron and many others.
_ "A Christmas Beginning" by Anne Perry (Ballantine Books, $17.95): I love that Anne Perry writes an annual Christmas murder mystery. It's so much better than one of those boring newsletters one gets from boastful old friends. In her latest, the discovery of a body by a lonely Scotland Yard superintendent spending a solitary Christmas in Wales may be the key to turning his life around.
_ "Watchman" by Ian Rankin (Little, Brown, $24.99): A British spy usually assigned to surveillance must exercise tradecraft to learn why his superiors want him gone. Originally published in Britain in 1988, this is its first U.S. printing.