cover image Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery

Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery

Plum Sykes. Harper, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-242902-5

Fortune favors Ursula Flowerbutton, the spunky “fresher” (first-year student) and aspiring reporter who stars in this frothy series launch set at Oxford University in 1985 from bestseller Sykes (Bergdorf Blondes). The orphan from Gloucestershire become instant besties with American gardening tools scion Nancy Feingold—thereby gaining entrée to the most exclusive soirées, as well as borrowing rights to a bottomless stash of Dynasty-worthy regalia. But then she discovers, on the morning of her first tutorial, the white satin–swathed corpse of one of the campus’s It Girls, putting her instantly on the journalistic fast track. Ursula’s subsequent sleuthing pulls her and the title-besotted Nancy, whose expressed goal is “minoring in Earl-Catching,” below the fictional Christminster College’s glossy surface, into the depths where greed, lust, and ambition roil. Though Sykes’s plotting proves serviceable enough, it’s her fizzy cocktail of satire and style that will leave readers thirsty for another round. Author tour. Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)