Papazoglou derived some mild merriment from the paperback-romance biz in her first case for amateur sleuth Patience McKenna (Sweet Savage Death)--but this time, while the mystery element remains weak, the in-jokey satire is strained, mixing poorly with an unpersuasive streak of sentimentality. The first to die in the gnarled plot here is fading romance-writer Verna Train, who falls onto the NYC subway tracks during a party for visitor Sarah English, a 40-ish Connecticut recluse whose very first romance-novel is about to be published. Then newcomer Sarah dies, poisoned, before Patience's very eyes (at their agent's office)--but, while Patience herself collapses from a jolt of the same poison, someone makes off with Sarah's body. . .which turns up a few days later during a fire at her editor's office. What's going on, you ask? Well, not really very much, unfortunately--though Papazoglou tries hard to drum up motives out of the petty machinations behind mass-market romance merchandising (e.g., romance vs. romantic suspense). And if the plotting is unconvincing so is a cutesy-sugary subplot involving the little daughter of dead Sarah, whom Patience (with boyfriend Nick) now hopes to adopt. All in all: too silly and frenetic to take seriously, too smart-alecky and ragged to provide frolicsome diversion.