WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE by Nicholas Coleridge


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 Take-no-prisoners whodunit set in the British magazine industry, from CondÇ Nast's London-based managing director. Beginning with a disclaimer warning that this is no mean roman Ö clef, first-novelist Coleridge (Paper Tigers, not reviewed) delivers precisely that--a gossipy, downright trashy schmaltzspiel that celebrates the high-pressure sleaziness of media-driven consumer culture. Coleridge's stand-in is Kit Preston, a divorced, 40-something Åber-editor of four dreadfully tony newsstand slicks, who works off the tension, not to mention the calories, of wine-drenched expense-account lunches by roller-blading with his current inamorata, Anna Grant, a sexpot journalist whose peerless savagings of the rich and famous have made her almost, but not quite, as celebrated as her current subjects: a fading society tramp who's in the process of divorcing her Eurotrash husband, and a debonair but shady Pacific Rim businessman who sold arms to the Viet Cong. After a carpet-bombing of big names (Brad Pitt's magazine covers don't sell as well as Uma Thurmond's) and brand names (``smells like Givenchy, bottle like Obsession, packaging like Tresor''), followed by a Cristal-soaked dinner with Preston's boss, Chicago supermarket magnate and plastic-straw manufacturer Barney Weiss, Anna is found strangled. Tormented by suspicious cops, baseless innuendo, anonymous attackers, fatuously wealthy vulgarians, and a libel suit that simply won't go away, Preston is pitched from his imperial post and must somehow unmask Anna's murderer among a vogues' gallery of despicable media and fashion industry types. Coleridge's simmering insider dish--less a novel than an autobiographical venting of spleen--too rapidly cools to a brittle crust.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-17066-1
Page count: 401pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1997


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