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Who better to write a comic whodunit about an erotic advice columnist for a men's magazine than Bakos, former writer of Penthouse magazine's notorious Forum letters column? Possibly a novelist with a bit more experience in suspense, criminal titillation, and a storyline for a private dick that doesn't come equipped with batteries. To paraphrase Bakos: She's wearing the pants of a good mystery writer, but she's not quite filling out the crotch. Still, the text is funny and original as it chronicles a liberated woman's struggle for good sex and survival in the 1990s. The talk-show sequence that opens the book is a wonderful pastiche and typical of its strengths: On an Oprah-like program about women who enjoy sex too much, Carolyn Steele, a New York reporter who pounds her beat in black miniskirts and four-inch heels (with tasteful matching underwear), is attacked by a member of WWAWAW, Women Worried About Wantonness Among Women. Meanwhile, a serial killer is murdering the aging porn queens of Manhattan, many of whom belong to Steele's support group, Women In Pornography. Three-hundred-pound Madame Zelda is found boiled red in her hot tub; Tiffany Titters, the porn star who ran Goddesses and Sluts seminars (to help women release their sensuality), is strangled; Tanya Truelust is pushed off a fire escape. And someone is sending death threats to Steele, who has enough to worry about because none of the three men she's dating is sleeping with her. Steele's odyssey to find the killer and a decent integrated relationship is mixed with letters from her readers (""Dear Superlady of Sex"") and her sound advice to them. Bakos's characters are colorful, the funny stuff is funny, the sex is both stimulating and educational, the wisecracks are out and running. Only the crime writing needs a serious goose.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1994
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Kensington