cover image IF LOOKS COULD KILL

IF LOOKS COULD KILL

Kate White, Author . Warner $22.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-53023-1

Bridget Jones meets Nancy Drew in Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief White's impressive debut novel, which provides plenty of New York glamour and glitz, besides a smart, sexy heroine and a cleverly constructed murder mystery. When Cat Jones, editor of Gloss magazine, calls, employees jump. And when she calls freelancer Bailey Weggins on a Sunday morning with a frantic plea for assistance in a personal matter, Bailey responds quickly. Cat has found her live-in nanny, Heidi, dead. When it turns out that Heidi was poisoned, Cat freaks out and insists that Bailey, whose specialty is true-crime reporting, help her discover who's done it. Though Heidi was the victim, Cat may well have been the intended victim. Either way, there are plenty of suspects among the guests who attended Cat's party the night before. The Gloss media world offers plenty of sex, greed, money and cutthroat maneuvering—and few reliable friendships. Bailey navigates this universe with pluck, luck and savvy, and emerges as a viable candidate for rookie sleuth of the year. Bailey not only plays detective but also manages to juggle her freelance assignments and her rocky romantic entanglements in entertaining fashion. Best of all, on top of the dead-on depiction of the media world she knows so well, White keeps both sleuth and reader guessing until she's ready to rip away the blinders and reveal the clues hidden among the school of (red) herring. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (May 3)

Forecast:With an author as media savvy as her heroine, BEA and ALA appearances and a five-city tour, this Mystery Guild featured alternate and Doubleday Book Club selection is going to sell a lot of copies, not just to celebrity hounds but to mystery regulars who appreciate quality.