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Books: Spoken Word

Keep Me Close Read by Frances Tomelty Macmillan, 3hrs, pounds 8.99 SOMETHING SHORT and savage to take the mind off traffic jams was this week's request, but it took me a while to find some thrillers that fitted the bill. There are still too many abridgements trading on the bestselling status of the original books. Colin Dexter's The Remorseful Day, for example, feels positively skeletal even though Kevin Whately is reading it. We need the grouchy trimmings, not just the plot. Minette Walters's The Breaker also disappoints, this time because of a sense of missing links. But Frances Tomelty's engaged reading makes Clare Francis's latest chiller Keep Me Close compulsive listening, even though it's abbreviated to a mere two tapes.

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner Read by Derek Jacobi Hodder Headline, 6hrs, pounds 11.99 Mail order 0800 7315637 ELIZABETH GEORGE has established herself as a thriller writer with a sure ear for contemporary issues. Her latest murder novel is allowed the luxury of four cassettes, and her complex plot deserves it. Opening with a murder (or suicide?) in the first few minutes, she follows through with the weird double murder of two apparently unrelated people in the Derbyshire Peaks. Given that there are two competing police initiatives, a gallimaufrey of suspects, and several red herrings, you'll need to concentrate at first to establish who's who, especially as it is assumed that you'll know a little about George's detective duo Lynley and Havers. But that task is made easier by Derek Jacobi's brilliant vocal switches.