Anne Perry, , read by David McCallum. . Bantam, $25.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-52789-6

Having provided enough damaging testimony to convict a man of murder would seem a triumph of investigative police work. However, in this instance, the man sent to the gallows is a member of the Inner Circle, "those men who had secret loyalties which superseded every other honor or pledge." And, as a result, Edgar Award winner Perry's perennial Victorian hero, Detective Thomas Pitt, finds himself being transferred away from his wife and home and his command of the Bow Street station to Spitalfields, a remote London slum. Meanwhile, Pitt's wife, Charlotte, their colorful and cocky cockney housekeeper, Gracie, and her beau, Sergeant Tellman, take on the task of uncovering the conspiracy that has tarnished Pitt's name. Like Pitt, they unearth more than they expect. It seems that the Inner Circle's clandestine behavior can be traced all the way back to the gruesome crimes of Jack the Ripper, and the stakes are so high that the entire fate of the British way of life is threatened as the truth is unraveled. McCallum's expertly suspenseful reading will keep listeners glued to their headphones as he reveals the frighteningly full extent of the Inner Circle's influence and evil. Simultaneous release with the Ballantine hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 6, 2000). (Feb.)