Picks and Pans Review: Gossip Hound

updated 03/10/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/10/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Wendy Holden

Blame Bridget. Ms. Jones and her diary have spawned a host of breezy books about the romantic misadventures of endearingly kooky but insecure British women. The latest rendition follows Grace, a publicist with an obscure London publisher, who is mired in a miserable relationship with "the chairman of the local Revolutionary Socialists" until a drunken encounter with one of her authors launches a chain of personal and professional disasters.

Some of Holden's satire is well-aimed: A secondary character—a scheming and staggeringly inept tabloid reporter—steals the book. But events come together in an astonishingly predictable fashion, and every twist is relentlessly telegraphed. Gossip Hound is less for singletons and more for simpletons. (Plume, $13)

BOTTOM LINE: Not much bite

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