Adler's latest pop fiction outing is just as elaborately plotted as her previous two, Leonie (1985) and Peach (1987). Here, she weaves the family saga and mystery genres together--by starting at the top of an exceedingly gnarled family tree and climbing down. in search of a lost heiress. Her tree-climber is the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Mike Preston; when he reads an ad seeking a young woman who stands to inherit the millions of the late Poppy Mallory, little lights go off in his head. The Swiss lawyer in charge of the Mallow estate agrees to let Mike check out the stories of the five most likely candidates: Pierluigi and Claudia Rinardi, a brother-sister team who claim that Poppy was their grandmother; Aria Rinardi, whose mother plans to refurbish a Venetian palazzo once Aria's shown to be Poppy's great-granddaughter; Orlando Messenger, an artist with a taste for the high life and a firm belief that he's Poppy's great-grandson; and Lauren Hunter, a waitress struggling to support her retarded sister in sunny southern California. Mike lays his hands on a number of journals belonging to Poppy and her adoptive sister, Angel Rinardi, and in these the twisted tale of Poppy's life unfolds. After being deserted by her gambler father and raped by Angel's wicked husband-to-be, she leaves her daughter with Angel. Poppy goes on to become Paris' most famous madame, but never learns which of Angel's two girls is her own. It's left to Mike to uncover the truth, while Orlando sets out to kill off all other contenders. . . Pure fluff, but the plot is dauntless enough to entertain.