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A look at David Maraniss's ''First in His Class,'' Nicholas Negroponte's ''Being Digital,'' and other new books

Suitable for Framing
Edna Buchanan
Plotwise, Buchanan has lost a bit of her dash. But her main character — ace crime reporter Britt Montero — shines through a somewhat banal mystery with her usual crackle and wit. B

First in His Class
David Maraniss
An evenhanded account of Bill Clinton’s life right up to the day he announced his presidential candidacy. Not surprisingly, Clinton comes across as a compulsively people-pleasing achiever, apt to bring the teacher an apple if he didn’t weaken and gobble it first on the way to school. A-

Original Sin
P.D. James
This murder mystery — investigated by Scotland Yard’s poet/detective Comdr. Adam Dalgliesh — is also an elegantly written novel of manners, an Upstairs, Downstairs dissection of life in England’s oldest publishing company. B-

Being Digital
Nicholas Negroponte
Raise your cyberquotient a notch with this low-tech guide to the bit-savvy world. Negroponte, a columnist for Wired magazine, will fill you in on the future of your TV, your phone, your computer, your job, and even your kids. B+

The Juror
George Dawes Green
Should you read the book or see the movie? It’s definitely a toss-up. This tale — about a juror targeted by a Mafia henchman as the one to get his boss acquitted — relies solely on coincidences to propel the plot. C-