Best of the author's stories about New York gossip-columnist Julie Hayes (A Death in the Life), whose nine-year marriage is at an end just asher reporting career is beginning to flourish. Street-wise savvy but numbed by husband Geoffrey's sudden demand for a divorce. Julie falls into a trap set by two masked men who brutally rape her. Recovering from insults to body and soul, Julie concentrates on a long-repressed need to find out more about her father, whose marriage to her now dead mother was annulled before she was born. Meanwhile, her attackers--one a seaman, both Irish--have confessed, been indicted, released on bail, and disappeared. The police suspect the powerful hand of Mafia boss Sweets Romano, Julie's self appointed protector, behind their contrition. Julie's research into her father's past leads to Ireland and eventually to a meeting with painter Edna O'Shea, her father's second wife, who's now convinced, after seven years, that he died in a boating accident, his body never recovered. And there are other happenings here--a new romance; three deaths; an ever-present undercurrent of IRA violence; and an inconclusive, perhaps temporary end to Julie's quest. An overlong, confusing mixture of plots and a huge case dilute the impact of the story, but the Irish milieu is sensitively explored; there are some memorable characters, and the reader will look forward to the next chapter in Julie's life.