August 13, 2001 12:00 PM

By Nancy Geary

In the Hamptons, the sandbox for Manhattan’s well-shod swells, socialite Clio Henshaw Pratt is murdered at a posh country club. Oddly, some of her peers seem less upset than if they’d run out of vermouth, but Clio’s stepdaughter Frances Pratt, an assistant D.A., is sweating suspects faster than you can say “Manolo Blahnik.” Could the killer be the African-American surgeon Clio kept out of the country club? How about that other stepdaughter, Blair, who nearly choked on her sushi when Clio refused her a loan?

In a clever debut effort, lawyer-turned-novelist Geary keeps the pace racing with a steely-eyed heroine who picks apart every flake of the upper crust. Most characters are as flat as the champagne left over from a Fourth of July party, but War and Peace won’t fit in your Gucci beach tote. (Warner, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Mwah! Big air kiss

You May Like