January 20, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

People Will Talk, by Lucianne Goldberg, is a veritable mindless trip through the world of New York gossips and the people they cover. The book has an economical, easy-reader pace: by page 5, columnist Lolly Pines has been knocked dead by a plummeting marzipan bust of Kim Basinger, and mayhem ensues when the virtuous Kick Butler and the sluttish Baby Bayer campaign for her column. All of the peripheral characters are as cartoonishly drawn as Butler and Bayer, without so much as a hint of satire. Goldberg herself is an accomplished journalist and political consultant, yet she consigns her female characters to a not-so-scary world wherein they reach out in supplication to a-giggle-man every time there’s trouble. D

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