Whistler: A Life for Art's Sake by Daniel E. Sutherland (Yale University Press, 440 pages, March 4)
We've all seen the painting of Whistler's mother, but there's so very much more to this artist. Between feuding publicly with Oscar Wilde and John Ruskin, and chasing perfection in his painting, Whistler helped shape a generation of American artists during the 19th century. Sutherland makes extensive use of the artist's letters to tell this story.
Gemini by Carol Cassella (Simon & Schuster, 352 pages, March 4)
This new novel by Carol Cassella sounds fascinating- an unidentified woman is critically injured in a hit-and-run and when she's transferred to Doctor Charlotte Reese for treatment, the mystery deepens. Why is the patient getting worse, even after an operation? And where are her family and friends? Looks like a slam-dunk for people interested in medical mysteries.
The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Co., 304 pages, March 4)
It's ok, you guys- the Chandler estate is totally cool with this. They said it's fine for Black to bring Marlowe back to life for another sleuthing adventure, so here it is. Early 1950s California, a mysterious lady looking for her former lover, and a boat-load of money: yeah, that sounds like a Chandler novel.