The flashback history of that extra-luxurious L.A. boutique ""Scruples"" (foot massage, caviar, and backgammon for weary patrons served up in dressing rooms designed by Billy Baldwin) is the hyped-up music to which three super-trendy, super-sexy, super-rich main characters do their Susann-esque dance into would be bestsellerdom. There's Scruples proprietor Billy Winthrop Ikehorn Orsini, a beefy brahmin who diets her lonely way to glamour in Paris--and subsequently into a horny mogul's generous but sclerotic heart. And designer Valentine O'Neill, who rockets onto the American fashion scene from an obscure perch on a Balmain workbench (must have been her tip-tilted nose that did it). And Val's best friend, ""Spider"" Elliot, erstwhile photographer, heterosexual high priest of chic and sensual savvy, who markets the Scruples brand of sybaritism so effectively that we get to see all kinds of thinly disguised movie stars, designers, and magazine folk injected into the action as they revolve through those Scruples doors. Krantz's fund of trivia with regard to status symbols is boggling: ""Wells Cope, wearing a Dorso sweater, pale beige twill trousers, and black velvet evening pumps embroidered in gold, sat with Harriet. . . . Pictures of Melanie were spread all over the Lucite coffee table and some of them lay on the twelve-thousand-dollar Edward Fields rug."" A word on Billy's second marriage to made-in-heaven-for-her Italian producer Orsini: ""She bit him. Gently. She knew already that if she bit him too hard, he'd bite back."" Mymy.