Investment counselor Iris Thorne--a teacher of the deaf who changed careers to run with the wolves in L.A.'s financial district- -offers a fascinating mix of the contemporary and the nostalgic as she tracks down the killer of her deaf, polio-stricken office mailman Alley. What's new here is the don't-tread-on-me attitude (vital to the Ice Princess's daily survival among her maliciously detailed male officemates) and the accessories (Adolfo, Anne Klein, Vuitton, a '72 Triumph); what's old is Iris's touching faith in Alley's essential goodness despite mounting evidence that he passed himself off as the firm's chief of Mexican operations in order to touch an in-house money-laundering account for $10 million, and her finally needing to be rescued by a bunch of men (though not the ones you might expect). Along the way Iris will rediscover her first love, John Somers, when the LAPD puts him in charge of the investigation (``You shaved your beard.'' ``About nine years ago'') and deal with an amazing number of plausibly smarmy, probably felonious males. A first novel that's breezily on target about sexual politics in the office, though it's a shame that only one of these guys actually gets tabbed for the killing.