Martha told me she heard this morning on "Writer's Almanac" that today is Judith Krantz's birthday. (I guess there is hope for NPR.) There are lots of writers I admire, respect, enjoy, but Krantz is the one I love the most. It's not the sex and clothes (although she writes well about both) but the easy, generous, and amused tone of her narration and the ladylike swagger with which she employs four-letter-words. I had the great pleasure of talking with Krantz once for several hours for a Booklist interview, and she told me she had to give up using the c-word after her first novel, Scruples, because it was the one word her "ladies" (as she called her readers) positively hated.
Any Krantz novice should begin with Scruples, of course; after that I would most highly recommend Till We Meet Again (two French sisters, one a pilot and the other a movie star, and their mother, a star of the Paris music hall who becomes a great châtelaine of Champagne) and Dazzle (gorgeous and impetuous photojournalist with two scheming half-sisters). Any one of them would be perfect for your journey to Philadelphia tomorrow.
Odd trivia: Did you know that Judith Krantz was sister-in-law, via her brother, publisher (and acidhead) Jeremy Tarcher, to the late Shari Lewis?