February 10, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

SEA CHANGE
Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $24.95)

When a Jane Doe washes up on the shores of Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone starts making connections between the body and a sex ring led by a pair of wealthy playboys.

Mysterious Milieu
The salty seaside town of Paradise, during the height of its social calendar — the week of the annual sailboat races.

Final Verdict
Parker’s snappy back-and-forth dialogue exemplifies the strengths of contemporary American mystery writing.

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