It has been a long time since I have sunk into a delicious mystery brew like “Nine Lives,” a thriller/mystery directly in the lineage of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None yet thoroughly modern. Nine utter strangers receive a letter with all nine names printed and then they begin dying. Familiar, huh? Peter Swanson is a deft, spry developer of characters and he controls the brilliant plot with military precision. A mystery like this, even one with canny characterization, is clearly designed to be read fast to unravel the plot intricacies and twists, and as such I treated it as a fast, delicious snack rather than as a memorable meal. Of course I read Nine Lives in one transfixed sitting. Of course.