Nobody's interested when apprentice stripper Teresa Johnson gets stabbed and mutilated in her West Side apartment a month after V-E Day. But her mentor Rhonda Silverstar, who knows Teresa (or Tush) as a sweet kid who ``spent her days poking around museums,'' is determined to bag her killer. Rhonda herself is kinda sweet too, a foolish-wise fallen princess devoted to her art--she gets fired from Plotsky's Burlesque for doing something nasty when she gets carried away by passion--and her tale isn't so much a detective story (there's only one clue) as a saccharine picaresque (taking Rhonda to Tush's home in Valleyview, Ohio, then to her well-connected Uncle Mo in L.A., before returning her to Brooklyn and Newark) framed by homicide. Warning: Rhonda's always wrong about men--her boyfriends, songwriter Sandy Singer and center-fielder Bull Wallinsky; Valleyview editor Calvin Bryant; even Uncle Mo--so, as Cal tells her, ``trust nobody.'' Ritz (Family Blood, 1992, etc.) stuffs this poorly paced saga with so many overripe period markers that it reads like a commercial for 1945.