Up until now, Villars' best efforts have centered on glamorous worlds gone by, as in One Night in Newport (1981) and The Normandie Affair (1982). But here she does a bang-up job in a contemporary setting--the publishing industry--adding all the commercially savvy posh touches, to be sure, but also producing an involving melodrama about how good girls can end up on top. The good girl here is Hallie Porter, top editor at Rutherford and Styles, featured on the cover of Time, one half of a ""power couple"" whose other half is the agenting wonder-boy Jake Fox. But Hallie has a bete noire, Olivia Porter, her best friend and editing associate. Born on the wrong side of the tracks, Olivia has about a mile-wide green streak where Hallie is concerned, and a completely unscrupulous nature. Soon Olivia has wooed both Jake and Hallie's godfather, Quentin Styles, into her bed; pitched battle with Hallie over the Maxwell Perkins Award; and landed on top at Rutherford and Styles when Allied Entertainment buys the company out. So what's a good girl like Hallie to do, except fight fire with fire, which she does by starting her own publishing firm. Despite a few setbacks, she pulls off the maneuver, wins back Jake, and doesn't even gloat when Olivia finally cries uncle. Villars knows what they put on the canapes at publishing parties, as well as a lot more about the industry. And her characters this time around are neatly handled types--including a vlllainess fun to hiss, and a heroine easy to root for.