Crime is nothing new. And it's not going away any time soon. So say Nora Roberts, whose new whodunit

Crime is nothing new. And it's not going away any time soon. So say Nora Roberts, whose new whodunit is set 55 years in the future, and John Maddox Roberts, who has set his latest mystery more than 2,000 years in the past.Their two books are among the latest hardcover novels of mystery and suspense -- most of which are set closer to 2004 -- including works by Lilian Jackson Braun, Ed McBain, Susan Wittig Albert, Elmore Leonard and John le Carre.
In "Divided in Death" (Putnam), Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, offers her 18th book featuring New York police Lt. Eve Dallas and billionaire businessman Roarke. Set in 2059, the story begins as one of Roarke Enterprises' most trusted employees has caught her husband and his lover red-handed -- and stabbed them to death.
Rewind 2,129 years to 70 B.C. for "The River God's Vengeance" (St. Martin's), No. 8 -- make that No. VIII -- in John Maddox Roberts' "S.P.Q.R." series set in ancient Rome. In this installment, a minor official, whose main duties include record-keeping and sewer-cleaning, investigates when 243 people die in the collapse of a five-story "insula," a tenement building.
In Pickax, the destroyed building is the town's only bookstore, the victim of a fire, as described in "The Cat Who Talked Turkey" (Putnam), Braun's 26th tale about newspaperman Jim Qwilleran and his "crime-solving" cats Koko and Yum Yum. On the day of the groundbreaking for a new bookstore, the body of a man, shot execution-style, is discovered on Qwilleran's property.
A young pop singing star is snatched in "The Frumious Bandersnatch" (Simon & amp; Schuster), the 53rd book in McBain's "87th Precinct" series set in the fictional metropolis of Isola. A luxury yacht anchored in the harbor is the venue for the launch party for singing sensation Tamar Valparaiso's first album. While she's performing, two armed men wearing Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat masks board the yacht and make off with the pop queen.
The Pickle Queen, a k a Phoebe, is missing, too, in "A Dilly of a Death" (Berkley), Albert's 13th in the series featuring herb seller China Bayles. As Pecan Springs, Texas, prepares for the annual Picklefest, pickle plant proprietor Phoebe hires Bayles' private-eye husband to investigate when she suspects that her plant manager is a thief. But on the eve of the Picklefest comes jarring news: Phoebe has vanished.
Detroit, Leonard's hometown, is the setting for his 38th novel, "Mr. Paradise" (Morrow). The octogenarian Tony Paradise, a wealthy retired lawyer, enjoys watching tapes of college football games while his young girlfriend Chloe, complete with pompoms, leads the cheers from the living room sidelines. One night, Chloe's roommate and Tony's right-hand man make it a foursome -- but it's a duo again when two of the party-goers are murdered.
Another duo, Ted and Sasha, are the "Absolute Friends" (Little, Brown) in le Carre's espionage thriller. Fellow spies for British Intelligence during the Cold War, the two had parted ways with the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Years later, they are reunited when Ted learns that a mysterious billionaire philanthropist has enlisted Sasha for his plan to change the world and wants Ted to join them.
A San Francisco police detective investigates a series of murders while a law firm takes the case of a teenager accused of double murder in "The Second Chair" (Dutton) by John Lescroart. Down the coast, police in Los Angeles investigate the murders of SWAT team officers in "Vertical Coffin" (St. Martin's) by Stephen J. Cannell.
A reporter disappears just before she was about to break a story exposing a corrupt U.S. senator in "The First 48" (Warner) by Tim Green. There's more green as a florist investigates a bloody murder at a flower fair in Janis Harrison's "Reap a Wicked Harvest" (St. Martin's), set in small-town Missouri. And small-town Arizona is the scene of the crime in "Truth or Dare" (Putnam) by Jayne Ann Krentz, in which a psychic interior designer senses that she and her best friend are in danger.
Dame Frevisse investigates the suspicious death of a quarrelsome, vicious man whom everyone seems glad to be rid of in Margaret Frazer's "The Hunter's Tale" (Berkley), set in medieval England. In modern-day England, Police Inspector Alan Banks investigates a series of arson murders and an art forgery ring in Peter Robinson's "Playing With Fire" (Morrow).
A young communications company employee assigned to work undercover at a competing firm finds unexpected success there and wants to stay, in "Paranoia" (St. Martin's) by Joseph Finder. And in Manhattan, a rape downtown and a murder uptown seem unrelated -- at first -- in "The Kills" (Scribner) by Linda Fairstein.
Source: Associated Press