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December 15, 1996

Fiction

AIRFRAME by Michael Crichton (Alfred A. Knopf: $26) A mysterious glitch threatens the production of a profitable jetliner. See review on Page 3. Southern California ranking: 1; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

THE FALLEN MAN by Tony Hillerman. (HarperCollins: $24) A pair of sleuths track a killer after finding a human skeleton at the top of a Navajo shrine (2). Southern California ranking: 2; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

THE TAILOR OF PANAMA by John le Carre. (Alfred A. Knopf: $25) Clothier to Central America's elite turns British agent for the power and the money (7)*. Southern California ranking: 3; Last Weeks: 2; Week on List: 7

ALIAS GRACE by Margaret Atwood. (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday: $24.95) A 19th century psychologist helps a murderess with memory loss to recall her crime. See review on Page 2 (15). Southern California ranking: 4; Last Weeks: 3; Week on List: 3

THE LAWS OF OUR FATHERS by Scott Turow. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: $26.95) (5)*. Southern California ranking: 5; Last Weeks: 1; Week on List: 7

"M" IS FOR MALICE by Sue Grafton. (Henry Holt: $25) Jealousy among the heirs to a fortune ends in murder, and it's up to Kinsey Millhone to nab the culprit (6). Southern California ranking: 6; Last Weeks: 5; Week on List: 5

SILENT HONOR by Danielle Steel. (Delacorte: $24.95) A successful Japanese family's world is overturned by World War II and the struggle to survive in a relocation center (3). Southern California ranking: 7; Last Weeks: 6; Week on List: 4

THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN by Jacquelyn Mitchard. (Viking: $23.95) A child's vanishing and the cruel aftershock felt by his family (4). Southern California ranking: 8; Last Weeks: 4; Week on List: 11

THE THIRD TWIN by Ken Follett. (Crown: $25.95) A researcher stumbles onto a right-wing plot to reshape American society using genetics (9). Southern California ranking: 9; Last Weeks: 9; Week on List: 5

ALICE MUNRO: Selected Stories by Alice Munro. (Alfred A. Knopf: $30) Love gained and lost, and the lessons learned from these experiences. Southern California ranking: 10; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

Nonfiction

MY DARK PLACES: An L.A. Crime Memoir by James Ellroy. (Alfred A. Knopf: $25) The writer's exhaustive search for answers to his mother's murder in 1958. Southern California ranking: 1; Last Weeks: 2; Week on List: 4

EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO MY OPINION by David Brinkley. (Alfred A. Knopf: $20) Wry insights by the legendary newscaster culled from 15 years of television broadcasts (9). Southern California ranking: 2; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

ANGELA'S ASHES by Frank McCourt. (Scribner: $24) A memoir of childhood in a gloomy Irish city (2). Southern California ranking: 3; Last Weeks: 8; Week on List: 7

AN UNSEEMLY MAN: My Life as Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast by Larry Flynt. (Dove: $22.95). Southern California ranking: 4; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

THE ZONE by Barry Sears with Bill Lawren. (HarperCollins/ReganBooks: $22) (13)*. Southern California ranking: 5; Last Weeks: 7; Week on List: 39

SIMPLE ABUNDANCE: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. (Warner: $17.95) (8)*. Southern California ranking: 6; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 18

THE NBA AT 50 Edited by Mark Vancil, with foreword by David Halberstam. (Park Lane Press: $50) A glossy celebration of basketball's players and coaches, past and present. Southern California ranking: 7; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

DOWN IN THE GARDEN by Anne Geddes. (Cedco Publishing: $39.95) Adorable infants posed as flowers, peas in a pod and other floral delights (14). Southern California ranking: 8; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 1

MEN ARE FROM MARS: Women Are From Venus by John Gray, PhD. (HarperCollins: $23) (4)*. Southern California ranking: 9; Last Weeks: --; Week on List: 137

MY SERGEI: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva with E.M. Swift. (Warner: $18.95) The romance and tragedy of Olympic ice skating's Romeo and Juliet (1). Southern California ranking: 10; Last Weeks: 4; Week on List: 4

Paperbacks: FICTION

1. THE ENGLISH PATIENT by Michael Ondaatje. (Vintage: $11.)

2. THE BOOK OF RUTH by Jane Hamilton. (Anchor: $11.95.)

3. SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS by David Guterson. (Vintage: $12.)*

4. THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES by Amy Tan. (Ballantine: $6.99.)

5. SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison. (Plume: $11.95.)

Paperbacks: NONFICTION

1. THE RULES: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. (Warner: $14.95.)

2. SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON by Craig Fass, Brian Turtle and Mike Ginelli; with an introduction by Kevin Bacon. (Plume: $7.95.)

3. VIEW WITH A GRAIN OF SAND by Wislawa Szymborska. (Harcourt Brace and Company: $12.)

4. SHOES by Linda O'Keefe. (Workman Press: $11.95.)

5. IT'S A MAGICAL WORLD: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson. (Andrews & McMeel: $14.95.)

Rankings based on Times' poll of local bookstores. National hardcover rankings (in parentheses) are those of Publishers Weekly. Asterisk (*) indicates book also available on audio (source: Sound Audio Books Distributing, Agoura Hills).

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