There's no mystery: in this one Dominick Dunne-dunit, the book, that is, not the crime. The book is Another City, Not My Own, the crime is the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the raison d'etre is Dunne's unquenchable fascination with the rich, famous, and infamous and vice/versa.

Dunne reads his quintessential roman à clef, where the real far outnumber the fictional, and the protagonist, Gus Bailey, is so minutely modeled on his creator that one wonders why Mr. Dunne didn't call this a memoir the names sure haven't been changed to protect the innocent. That said, I have to admit that Dunne's delight in being a hot commodity himself and in being able to get close to anybody who's anybody, including Marcia Clark, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, and a heavenly host of Hollywood's high muckety-mucks, usually at an in-crowd eatery or an elegant Beverly Hills affair, is infectious and brings out the voyeur in the best of us. Dunne covered the "trial of the century" for Vanity Fair and frequently aired his views on TV. You may have read or heard him then, but his insider's insights are still fascinating.

High crimes
P.D. James is certainly one the best in the business and not only in the business of mystery fiction. She's one of those rare novelists who transcends genre, category, and formula. A Certain Justice (15.5 hours), her 14th, read by Michael Jayston with perfect British eloquence and restraint, is certainly no exception. James sets this one in the closed and rarefied world of London's Law Courts with its bewigged barristers and arcane customs. Commander Adam Dagliesh of New Scotland Yard and his team have been brought in to investigate the murder of Venetia Aldridge, a highly distinguished highly disliked criminal lawyer, stabbed in Chambers with her own letter knife and drenched in someone else's blood. As the investigation progresses it becomes more and more convoluted, with many suspects and as many motives. Ultimately, James questions the nature of justice, justice under the law, retribution and revenge. And though that may sound somewhat highfalutin, it results in a gripping, skillfully wrought novel.

Luck of the Irish
You don't have to be Irish to enjoy and savor The Irish in America (4.5 hours), edited by Michael Coffey, with text by Terry Golway. It's that wonderful kind of audio that informs while it entertains. Colm Meany, with the blush of a brogue in his voice, leads us through this evocation of the Irish experience cultural, political, and social. Brought by famine, fueled by pride, hard work, and enduring nostalgia for the island they left, the Irish changed America as America changed them. Woven into this historical narrative are essays written and read by contemporary Irish-American notables, all blessed with the glorious "gift of gab" Frank and Malachy McCourt, Mary Higgins Clark, Pete Hamill, and Peggy Noonan among them.

Bulls and cows
Ever heard of the "new-cow-old-cow" theory? In a nutshell, it states that after a bull mates with a new cow, she becomes an old cow and old cows are best turned into Big Mac's. You'll learn all about it and its transferal from the bovine to the human in Laura Zigman's Animal Husbandry (3 hours), a funny, sadly savvy take on male behavior in the waning days of the 20th century. Zigman's appealing protagonist, a talent booker for a hip TV talk show, has been dumped for some unknown reason by the man of her dreams. Miserable, mad, and still yearning for the man who got away, she does some deep delving into animal behavior studies and comes up with some surprisingly sound hypotheses about why her guy and his postmodern kin do what they do. Narrator Chelsea Adams gets the nuances just right and makes this a totally enjoyable audio presentation for the cows anyway, not sure how the bulls will react.

Bloody business
Former FBI agent Terril McCaleb, hero of Michael Connelly's latest, Blood Work, wouldn't have lived without a heart transplant. Had he known how the heart he received actually got to him, he might have opted out altogether. Connelly's carefully constructed, suspenseful scenario puts you in McCaleb's world as he gradually gathers the horrendous details that will inadvertently lead him to the serial killer he's been after for years, a man maniacal enough to murder for fun and games. And the ultimate goal of the game is to destroy McCaleb.

We're going down
If you've ever wondered whether cover-ups beget cover-ups, wonder no more. Mayday (6 hours), Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block's best-selling airborne thriller, makes it perfectly clear that they do. TransUnited flight 52, a Stratton supersonic 797, on its way to Tokyo is struck by a missile. The missile, unfortunately, was fired from a Navy fighter on a secret test mission. The plane is disabled but not downed, the passengers and crew are suffering from severe oxygen deprivation. Only five people aboard can function normally and one of them has to land the aircraft. But there are others on the ground who will go to disturbing lengths to make sure that the Stratton never reaches a runway. You may get the picture but you won't feel the gut-wrenching tension unless you tune in to David Duke's rendering of this doozy of a disaster tale.

Return of a detective duo
Psychologist Alex Delaware and his friend and colleague in crime solving, LAPD officer Milo Sturgis, rank high on my list of detective duos, always as interesting themselves as the cases they get involved with. This time, their best-selling creator, Jonathan Kellerman, has given them a tough, troubling, darkly dangerous assignment. In Survival of the Fittest (6 hours) Alex and Milo are called in to reexamine the murder of a retarded teenager, the daughter of an Israeli diplomat, a crime that has remained unsolved for months. Is it an isolated incident or something more sinister, more far-reaching? John Rubenstein has recorded many Kellerman thrillers and has become, to my ears, the Alex Delaware narrator of record. He narrates this one and does it with consummate style.

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