Picks and Pans Review: Name Dropping

updated 07/03/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/2000 01:00AM

by Jane Heller

Lucy Ricardo had nothing on Nancy Stern, heroine of the latest madcap murder mystery from Heller (Sis Boom Bah). Like TV's famously batty redhead, Nancy is easily dazzled by the glitz of show business—and she concocts some delightfully harebrained schemes to get a taste of the glamor. She even has an Ethel-like sidekick, a fellow preschool teacher who gets drawn into her pal's increasingly risky capers, prompting a villain to tie her to the bathroom faucets and stuff a sock in her mouth.

But Nancy is also a thoroughly modern woman, a quick-witted thirtysomething divorcée with a well-developed sense of cynicism who lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side. So when she sets out to impersonate a celebrity journalist in order to dine with the potential man of her dreams, the fallout is as much Sex and the City as I Love Lucy. Throw in a sinister scheme involving a notorious ring of diamond thieves, a sprinkling of clever plot twists and a dab of Space Goo (don't ask) and you've got a rollicking and delectable—if soufflé-light—summer read. (St. Martin's, $24.95)

Bottom Line: Saucy heroine and screwball plot add up to a romp

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