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Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page BW11

Blood From a Stone

By Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly, $23)

The slaying of a Senegalese street vendor piques the interest of Venetian commissario Guido Brunetti as diamonds are found among the man's meager possessions and Brunetti finds his efforts to solve the case being stymied by government ministries with secrets to keep. (F)

Hotel Babylon

By Anonymous & Imogen Edward-Jones

(BlueHen, $14). Eager to tattle about the goings-on of both the staff and habitués of a certain five-star London hotel (but just as eager to keep his job), the hotel's manager enlists the aid of a journalist, Edward-Jones, to bring all the salacious details to light. Babylon indeed. (NF)

Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?

By Charles Barkley (Penguin Press,

$24.95). Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon edited this collection of 13 candid interviews conducted by the always candid NBA superstar Charles Barkley with notable Americans, from Bill Clinton to Ice Cube to George Lopez, on the complex topic of race in America. (NF)

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