Fiction

The Evidence Against Her, by Robb Forman Dew (Back Bay, $13.95). Three babies arrive on the same September day in 1888, born to three good families in the town of Washburn, Ohio. What becomes of those children -- a girl named Lily and two boys, Robert and Warren, one of whom is destined to marry Lily -- is the meat of Dew's fourth novel. A previous novel of hers, Dale Loves Sophie to Death, won a National Book Award.

Diamonds Are Forever, by Ian Fleming; From Russia With Love, by Ian Fleming; Moonraker, by Ian Fleming (Penguin, $13 each). More swell Bond reissues from Penguin, which also brought out Dr. No, Goldfinger and several others last year. Here's a Russian general speculating, rather wrongheadedly, about 007 in From Russia with Love: "This man Bond is unknown to the public. If he was known, he would still not be a hero. In England, neither open war nor secret war is a heroic matter. They do not like to think about war, and after a war the names of their war heroes are forgotten as quickly as possible. Within the Secret Service, this man may be a local hero or he may not. It will depend on his appearance and personal characteristics. Of these I know nothing. He may be fat and greasy and unpleasant." Unpleasant, maybe -- greasy, never.

Highwire Moon, by Susan Straight (Anchor, $14). This is the story of Serafina, an illegal migrant worker who is caught in California and forcibly sent back over the border, leaving her 3-year-old daughter, Elvia, behind -- but mother and daughter will meet again, though it will be years. Reviewing the novel for Book World, Cristina Nehring had this to say: "Straight writes about the crooked lives of crooked people; she writes about pregnant Mexican-Indian teenagers, about Oaxacan immigrants crossing the border to Rio Seco, about aging black welfare mothers and white-trash truck drivers on speed, about orphaned orange-pickers and tough-talking rape victims, about girls from Mexico with no Spanish and guys from Fresno with no English beyond a handful of terse Anglo-Saxon vulgarities and, sometimes, 'beer.'And the darnedest thing is that she does it well. Really, really well."

Nonfiction

Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital, by Alex Beam (PublicAffairs, $15). McLean Hospital, outside Boston, "doesn't look like a mental hospital. The carefully landscaped grounds, dotted with four- and five-story Tudor mansions and red brick dormitories, could belong to a prosperous New England prep school. . . . There are no fences, no guards, no locked gates." McLean, however, is "one of America's oldest and most prestigious mental hospitals." Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds. Sylvia Plath, John Nash and Robert Lowell spent time there; so, more recently, did James Taylor and Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted). Beam, a novelist and Boston Globe columnist, goes behind the gracious fac{cedil}ade to examine the often-harrowing history of mental-health treatments used at McLean and other American psychiatric institutions.

Black Livingstone: A True Tale of Adventure in the Nineteenth-Century Congo, by Pagan Kennedy (Penguin, $14). William Henry Sheppard was in his twenties when, in 1880, he set sail for the Belgian Congo as a missionary. Shepperd, who hailed from Virginia, spent two decades in Africa, lectured widely on his experiences and became known as "the black Livingstone"; in addition to his missionary work, he documented atrocities that took place under Belgian occupation of the region. "What author could pass up a character like William Shepperd?" Kennedy writes. "He had traveled deep into the Congo jungle. . . . The story had all the hallmarks of an MGM movie from the 1930s -- an Afrocentric retelling of Lost Horizon, perhaps. . . . Indeed, Sheppard was a black Livingstone, a man caught between the nineteenth century and the twentieth, between white colonialism and black pride."

The Tale of the Rose: The Passion That Inspired "The Little Prince," by Consuelo de Saint-Exupe{acute}ry, translated from the French by Esther Allen (Random House, $12.95). After her husband disappeared on a 1944 recon mission over southern France, Antoine de Saint-Exupe{acute}ry's widow sat down and wrote this memoir of their dramatic marriage. They met in Buenos Aires in 1930; he took her up in his plane and threatened to crash it unless she kissed him. (She did.) She had lost two husbands already, and when she married Saint-Exupe{acute}ry she wore black. No wonder the marriage was as turbulent as any of the aviator-author's flights. Though he wasn't faithful to her, he did find her inspiring: She apparently served as the model for the Rose -- "such a proud flower" -- in The Little Prince. Consuelo died in 1979, the manuscript still unpublished; it came out in France in 2000 after it was discovered in a trunk.

-- Jennifer Howard