``There ought to be some kind of retribution, some way to even the score....Let's make sure they pay a price.'' These are the words of a veritable Park Avenue Medea in Goldsmith's sharp, vitriolic, funny, and exceedingly commercial debut novel--all about what happens when three abandoned society wives get mad. The wives are a little slow to cut loose because, as one of them points out, ``We are a generation of masochists.'' Besides, their divorces have laid them low. Indeed, good girl Annie Paradise still thinks she loves her soon-to-be ex, advertising-whiz Aaron, who gambled away their Down's syndrome daughter's trust fund in a bum stock deal and shacks up with--of all people--Annie's old sex- therapist. Meanwhile, her Greenwich Village pal, Elise Atchison, a faded but still beautiful movie star and fantastically wealthy heiress, puts up with the promiscuity of her ``empty suit,'' Bill, for years until--to add insult to injury--he decides to walk with an anorexically thin, cocaine-snorting performance artist. And Brenda, the wise-cracking former wife of crass, appliance-peddling millionaire Morty the Madman, takes solace in cookies and pies. But then the girls get together for lunch at Le Cirque and determine to see to it that there's justice for first wives. Their goals? ``Morty broke...Bill castrated, and Aaron abandoned''--most of which they accomplish with the help of Elise's dough, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a US senator. Along the way, they find themselves new beaux, laughs, tears, and vastly improved lives. Poor Medea never had it so good, nor do most real, down-to- earth first wives. But this is fantasy, with warm, cuddly female characters and larger-than-life, utterly villainous men. Moreover, the novel mainlines into a vein of pure bile--which can't help but produce heady effects on those millions of women who know exactly what Goldsmith's talking about.