cover image One Dangerous Lady

One Dangerous Lady

Jane Stanton Hitchcock, . . Miramax, $23.95 (356pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-5236-3

New York grande dame Jo Slater, whose riches-to-rags-to-riches story entertained readers of Social Crimes , returns in Hitchcock's latest smart, genuinely funny novel to take on a sociopath socialite cutting a vicious swathe across Manhattan society. A Barbados wedding becomes the scandal of the year when the host, Russell Cole, a billionaire art collector with a psychiatric history, disappears off his yacht, and Jo puzzles over the suspect behavior of his much-younger second wife, Carla, an Italian with a shady past. Upon their return to New York, Carla angles for Jo's solidarity, but Jo, insightful and caustic, won't have any. Social life is hard work for these women, and Jo is soon vying for the upper hand in a deadly, high-stakes game with this ruthless social climber. (For Jo, a dinner party invitation from Carla heralds the "long reign of a rival queen in whose court I may very well become a prisoner.") Despite Jo's opposition, Carla achieves an exclusive co-op apartment (which she decorates "rococo-a-gogogo"), a seat on the board of the Municipal Museum along with Jo's resignation from said board, even Jo's romantic interest, Lord Max Vermillion. From Jo's first wry comment to her final maneuver, Hitchcock will have readers rooting for her to vanquish her nemesis. (July)