Novelist/memoirist Johnson (The World of Henry Orient, Flashback, You Can Go Home Again, The Two of Us) chronicles in this antic social satire the life and mostly bad times of one Jamie Ricklehouse, pampered daughter of one of New York's most monied and illustrious dynasties. Barely out of her classically upper-crust and gilded Manhattan childhood, Jamie drops out of Vassar to plunge headlong into a markedly inappropriate marriage with Michael Murphy, a brilliant but decidedly dâ€šclassâ€š Irishman from Utica. The kind of gift who gave preppies a bad name, Jamie embarks on adult life woefully ill-equipped to cope with the sort of world that will very soon supplant the 1950's certainties and verities that have defined her existence from the cradle. Although her father bails her out financially when her marriage ends in divorce--Michael having decided, 1960's-style, that he can't handle the constraints of monogamy--the death of this patriarch brings the devastating news that she has been cut off almost without a penny. It turns out her father has left everything, including control of his firm, to his second wife, the luscious and enigmatic Bianca, child of a wretched Latin American backwater. In the course of some crudely contrived plot developments, Jamie learns that Bianca is milking the company to help finance a revolution in her homeland. With the help of Chester, a white knight both corporately and romantically, Jamie foils this dastardly scheme, rescuing the family name and fortune, and finally mares for herself the man who can fill her father's shoes. Despite the breakneck, practically off-the-rails goings-on of the final chapters, which diminish the book's over-all impact, this is a readable and engaging saga. When she tries least to be archly witty and knowing, the author succeeds most in being deliciously telling.