Emma Victor, a former PR-woman now answering phones at the Women's Hotline in Boston, responds a bit late to an S.O.S. from new acquaintance Julie Arbeder--and finds Julie's dead body on the street. So, vaguely guilt-ridden, Emma turns sleuth, using Julie's address book (which she hides from the police) as the basis for her amateur investigation. Was blue-collar-worker Julie killed because of her union activities at a small warehouse? Or because of tensions with her two female roommates? Perhaps. But eventually Emma focuses primarily on Julie's intense, secret affair with society matron Allison Glassman, also recently deceased--in a yachting ""accident."" And, after crashing a Glassman party and sharing cocaine with Allison's bizarre, elegantly dwarfish brother-in-law, Emma uncovers the truth--which involves gynecology, women's politics, big money, and blackmail. First-novelist Wings gives nearly as much attention to Emma's own lesbian love-life (with a workaholic Jewish doctor) as to the creakily plotted mystery here; a few ventures into noir-ish exotica (e.g., that opium-smoking brother-in-law) don't blend well with the more pervasive tone of ironic urban realism. But Emma's sardonic narration, though less than fully engaging, provides fairly steady, occasionally distinctive diversion--with wry close-up views of lesbian bars, feminist caucuses, and social-service fund-raising.