This week, Patricia Cornwell repeats what she has done with most of her bestsellers--her newest lands in the top slot on the fiction hardcover charts after less than a week in the stores. Isle of Dogs, part of the Andy Brazil series, had an October 8 laydown and makes it to #1 with a first printing of 600,500. Putnam notes that the author has done selected national interviews, including appearances on Today and Extra Entertainment. A look at the first week tallies, however, shows that the units it takes to get to the top these days is lower than in past years. We've noted that the necessary sales figures for top-sellers has decreased since 9/11, and Cornwell's first-week numbers seem to be strong proof. Combined sales for Isle of Dogs for week one at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Walden- books are slightly over 17,600. About the same time last year, first-week sales for The Last Precinct were more than double that; the total at the three national chains was about 46,000. A year earlier, Black Notice had an opening-week tally of more than 50,000. In fact, the title with the lowest numbers for week one since 1996 was Southern Cross (January 1999); that number was just under 25,000.

With reporting by Dick Donahue.