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 In a knockabout sequel to Blue Heaven (1988), songwriter Philip Cavanaugh agrees to write a set of tunes for untalented would-be songbird Elsa Champion--as a cover for spying on her boorish super- rich husband Peter. Peter's latest step in his feud with rival billionaire Boyd Larkin, you see, has been to start Estime, a gossipy magazine whose circulation already tops that of Larkin's Boulevardier; meanwhile, Larkin, his scrumptious aide-de-camp Tommy Parker, and Philip's old pal Gilbert Selwyn (who's thoroughly smitten by Tommy) persuade Philip to sign on with Elsa in order to get the dirt on Peter's nefarious business practices so they can blackmail him out of the business. What Philip actually gets (after masquerades and double-crosses too numerous to count) is much better--an audio tape, hilariously procured, of Peter's S/M session with Elsa's sister Kitty Driscoll. But his hapless attempts to deliver it without delivering himself to Peter or his lawyers lands him in repeated jams only his songwriting partner, improbably straight, unkinky Claire Simmons, can get him out of--and she's not kindly disposed toward him after Elsa's debut in the Rainbow Room, somewhat dampened by her just having heard the tape, makes Claire a laughingstock (along with Elsa) and the codefendant (along with Philip) in a ten-million-dollar lawsuit. Still to come: Philip's long-awaited romance with Tommy, whom Larkin insinuates into the editorship of Estime (and who plans to ``elevate'' it into financial ruin) and a showdown between Kitty, Elsa, and assorted hangers-on on live TV. An ebullient, overplotted tour of New York's brutish high life that's zany, arch, and gay in every sense of the word.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83877-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1991