Unusually diffuse suspense from a popular author who of late has retreated from the focused shocks of her earlier work (Where Are the Children?, etc.) into more elegant but attenuated thrills (Weep No More, My Lady, etc.). Here, the backdrop is Manhattan high-fashion, and the foreground a chaotic buzz of murder, greed, and vengeance. Who's the unnamed killer who opens this swift but scattered tale by dumping the body of investigative-journalist Ethel Lambston into the woods? That's the key mystery of many that swirl around Neeve Kearny, a standard late-Clark heroine--i.e., young, gorgeous, and rich--who's owner of a smart Madison Avenue boutique. Daughter of Gotham's former police commissioner Myles Kearny, and of a mom slain 17 years ago--by mobster Nicky Sepidi in revenge for Myles' sending him to jail?--Neeve "dresses" Ethel and smells a rat when the writer isn't home to try on some new selections. And why has Ethel's creepy nephew taken over her apartment? Neeve's too busy brooding about these developments to notice the hit man stalking her on orders of--who? Nicky Sepedi, just out of jail? Slimy top fashion designer Gordon Steuber, whom Neeve has just exposed as a sweatshop owner and whom Ethel was about to savage in a new book? Did Steuber kill Ethel? Did her inheritance-hungry nephew? Or did Ethel's former husband, mouse turned murderous lion in rebellion against exhorbitant alimony payments? With just enough pause to kindle a romance with young, gorgeous, and rich book-editor Jack Campbell, Neeve puts on her Nancy Drew cap and sorts it all out--at exactly the same moment that Jack and Myles do, allowing all three to witness the truly surprising but surprisingly flat unveiling of the chief villain behind all this mayhem. Hardworking and passably engrossing, but much too busy and not nearly as much fun as Clark's early best. Still, a likely best seller.