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A segment of ``sophisticated'' New York society, with its ostentation and incessant craving for pleasure and publicity, provides Keenan ( Blue Heaven , Penguin, 1988) with abundant opportunity for the exercise of his caustic wit and power of observation. The story revolves around the efforts of songwriters Philip and Claire to compose lyrics and music for the talentless wife of an arrogant real estate magnate while spying on the couple for their friend Gilbert, who is working on an expose of the husband's questionable business dealings. Most chapters provide compact essays on stereotyped people and are animated by just the right amount of malice. The fact that many of the characters seem molded more from familiarity than fancy only serves to heighten their plausibility. The book moves briskly and should keep most readers amused.-- A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Playwright Keenan's amusing hardcover debut (second in a proposed series, after the Penguin paperback Blue Heaven ) incorporates all the elements of a classic screwball comedy. Philip Cavanaugh and Claire Simmons are hired to write songs for a Rainbow Room performance by would-be chanteuse Elsa Champion, wife of the exceedingly wealthy and detested Peter Champion, arch-competitor of the equally rich and unscrupulous Boyd Larkin. The two Manhattan magnates enlist Philip and his chum Gilbert Selwyn to spy and counterspy, in hopes of uncovering some useful dirt on each other. At the same time, both Gilbert and Philip vie for the affections of Tommy Parker, editor of Larkin's pet magazine Boulevardier , and become involved in a series of increasingly farcical situations that ultimately rival Lucy and Ethel at their best (or worst). Although the constantly arch tone palls a bit, Keenan's generally clever repartee and on-target sendups of the media, nouveau-riche society, show biz, magazine publishing and gossipmongers make for a fast and entertaining read. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved