Again, the Ad Age columnist and novelist (Designs, 1986, etc.) relies on celebrity cameos rather than a gripping plot, producing a limp whodunit featuring an amiable Hamptons native as detective, a flighty member of British royalty as the love interest, and an ambitious millionairess as the victim. By name alone, it's clear that Beecher Stowe IV, a world-weary journalist back from a stint in Algiers, is a lifelong member of East Hampton's exclusive Maidstone Club, even if he does watch his fellow Wasps' activities with a bit of a jaundiced eye. Thus when Hannah Cutting, the relatively new owner of the grand old Warrender ``cottage'' on the beach, is found on her property with a privet- hedge spike driven through her chest, Beecher follows the investigation with interest. The suspects are many, since arriviste Hannah boasted an enemy behind every sand dune, including: her old- money ex-husband, whom she sucked dry of Hamptons Brahmin lore and then dumped; next-door neighbor Pam Phythian, with whom the victim had a falling-out during an expedition to the Himalayas; and even Hannah's own daughter, Claire, whose lust for a blue-collar eco- activist was an embarrassment to her mother. When Beecher's editor at Parade magazine assigns him a story about Hannah's life (she grew up in blue-collar Polish Town and once worked as an au pair at the mansion she later purchased), he begins to take an active part in the investigation--especially after Random House sends down the sexy British editor Alex Dunraven to locate the scandalous tell-all manuscript that the publisher had paid Hannah handsomely to create. Beecher and Alix banter, kiss, and compete to see who can more effectively bait the locals as the mystery lumbers to its predictable end--at which point the romance is consummated, the bad guy apprehended, and another fabulous Hamptons' summer is brought to an end. Chock-full of famous names and nicely nasty asides, but otherwise unsurprising.