Because we are often doing something else while we listen to audiobooks, it's important to match title to occasion. A mindless but settled activity is required to enjoy Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (Diana Quick, HarperCollins, 3hrs, pounds 8.99); if your attention wavers you will drown in the sea of metaphors through which its story line wanders elusively.

On the other hand, nothing short of sudden death will distract you from The Jigsaw Man (Derek Jacobi, HarperCollins, 3hrs, pounds 8.99), in which the legendary forensic psychologist Paul Britton explains how he manages to reconstruct the mindset of killers and kidnappers. Since his cases include those of the murder of Jamie Bulger and the abduction of baby Abbie Humphries, it's a triumph to be so interesting without a trace of sensationalism.