The apparent murder-suicide of newspaper tycoon Fred Masters and his girlfriend Miranda Jay supplies titillating gossip for the tabloids and has many high-placed persons running scared. As former mistress to a wealthy man with powerful government connections, Miranda was privy to confidential information, which many feel could be exposed by her death. In a series of flashbacks, Davis ( The Pretenders and other novels) traces Miranda's life from Midwestern yokel to an expert at sexual bondage and domination. The author's attempts to fashion a novel that functions as a mystery, political thriller, and an essay in eroticism fails. Cardboard characters jet from one exotic setting to another, and none is as flat as Miranda Jay. Davis fails to generate sympathy or interest for her. Lydia Burruel Johnson, Mesa P.L., Ariz.