A lumbering first novel of a young woman's initiation into the glamorous New York auction scene. Dale Kenton is a lovely assistant in a Los Angeles gallery who heads for Manhattan, hoping to make it in the fine-art big time. With the help of connections and a smooth sales pitch, she convinces suave Kenneth Fraizer, head of the New York auction house (The House of Fraizer), to allow her to prepare an auction of contemporary California art (of all things). ""It's not all glamour,"" he warns. ""For every minute of glory up there on stage, these are hours of drudge work."" But not really. Quicker than a tycoon's hand signal, Dale has an affair with an ambitious, unscrupulous rival auction-house owner, but passes on him when elegant Franco-Russian gallery owner Ivan Wolnovitz, soon to head Fraizer's new international operation, raises the bidding with his ""tweedy male jackets"" and leopardine grace. Something, however, is rotten in the House of Fraizer--enraged patrons are returning paintings that turn out to be forgeries and diamonds that are made of glass. Dale does some detective work and cleverly traps the all-too-obvious villain, who is none other than Fraizer's son Steven (married to Dale's best friend, Katherine) who has been in a sulk throughout the novel because his father has stifled his attempts to gain real power in the auction house. The unlikely ending has a little something for everyone, as if the authors were afraid of hurt feelings--Steven is given a second chance, and Kenneth ends up marrying his own ex-daughter-in-law. As for Ivan and Dale? ""Their arms wrapped around each other, and without another word being spoken, they knew they would skip the post-auction dinner party and instead go home together to see how the Turner looked by firelight."" Strictly out of the bidding.