08/25/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
by James Brady
It is Labor Day weekend in exclusive East Hampton, N.Y., and nouveau-riche lifestyle author Hannah Cutting is found naked on the beach with a stake of privet hedge driven through her heart. She had just thrown a season-ending lawn party where Dom Perignon was gaily passed around in Waterford crystal flutes. Though adored by her fans, the fictional Hannah was despised by half the town; her latest manuscript—a get-even expose—has disappeared. All this is recounted by freelance journalist Beecher Stowe, one of the local gentry, who had been seeking the dish on Hannah for a Parade magazine article. Now he's seeking a murderer.
Brady, himself a Parade columnist and a veteran of the Hamptons scene (he actually lives there on the real Further Lane), adds spice to this romp by inserting many delicious insider references and cameo appearances by the likes of Martha Stewart, Demi Moore
, Donna Karan and Billy Joel in this refreshing, summer-ending dash of literary verite. (St. Martin's, $23)