Isobel Tucker is a prizewinning novelist, but recently her books haven’t been making money. One reviewer hit the nail on the head: “People [today] want irony, action and dramatic self-development.” Isobel needs money—her husband Philip is suffering from an incurable disease—and her agent Troy Cartwright advises her to write a trashy potboiler that will sell. So Isobel concocts a steamy novel about Satanism, revenge, and survival that’s just the ticket. Troy’s delighted and plans to auction the manuscript, but he needs a buzz for the press, so he and Isobel create Zelda Vere, a glamorous beauty with a blond wig, artful makeup, and sexy underwear. As Zelda, Isobel wows the editors, and her manuscript is auctioned for gobs of money. When Philip hires a sexy contractor to build a swimming pool in their backyard, Isobel finds being Zelda extremely satisfying—especially when Troy joins the fun. The sex gets kinky and intense, and both she and Troy find it hard to live their normal lives. And, since Gregory (Virgin Earth, 1999, etc.) intends this as a fable, bad things happen: Philip learns he’s been conned by the pool man, and Troy disappears with the proceeds of Isobel’s second novel. But Isobel, who’s learned a thing or two from Zelda, knows exactly what to do.
A witty and entertaining romp that sizzles with intellectual energy and frankness.