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Party Girls Die in Pearls

An Oxford Girl Mystery

About the Book

“A rollicking murder mystery. . . . a wildly entertaining romp. . . . Laugh? I died.”—Vogue

The New York Times bestselling author of Bergdorf Blondes takes us back to the decadent 1980s in this comic murder mystery set in the tony world of Oxford University.

It’s 1985, and at Oxford University, Pimm’s, punting, and ball gowns are de rigeur. Ursula Flowerbutton, a studious country girl, arrives for her first term anticipating nothing more sinister than days spent poring over history books in gilded libraries—and, if she’s lucky, an invitation to a ball.

But when she discovers a glamorous classmate on a chaise longue with her throat cut, Ursula is catapulted into a murder investigation.

Determined to bag her first scoop for the famous student newspaper Cherwell, Ursula enlists the help of trend-setting American exchange student Nancy Feingold to unravel the case. While navigating a whirl of black-tie parties and secret dining societies, the girls discover a surfeit of suspects. From broken-hearted boyfriends to snobby Sloane Rangers, lovelorn librarians to dishy dons, none can be presumed innocent—and Ursula’s investigations mean that she may be next on the murderer’s list.

Clueless meets Agatha Christie in this wickedly funny tale of high society and low morals, the first book in Plum Sykes’ irresistible new series.

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Critical Praise

“As fizzy and moreish (Britspeak for ‘delectable’) as a glass of pink champagne, this murder mystery by a fashionista turned fiction writer uncorks a detective series set at England’s august Oxford College. . . . But this novel is more than a chick-lit whodunit. In the telling, Sykes, an Oxford alum herself, lays bare the institution’s arcane norms and reconstructs the scene of a crime against humanity: the over-the-top decadence of the Material Girl era.”   —Oprah magazine, “Top 20 Books to Read This Summer”

“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 . . . . [a] fizzy cocktail of satire and style that will leave readers thirsty for another round.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] flashback to fabulousness from the author of Bergdorf Blondes . . . . This frothy romp will find fans among mystery readers who want an escape from it all.” —Booklist

“The wild and hysterical adventures of crime-solving Nancy and Ursula turned loose on Oxford University. Plum Sykes knows her world, skewers it, and serves it up as murder. Delicious.” —Delia Ephron, author of Siracusa

Party Girls Die In Pearls is a sassy, darkly funny whodunit that gleefully -- and literally -- skewers the blue-blood cliques of Oxford University. Think Gossip Girl meets Agatha Christie, complete with its own plucky young Miss Marple, bonkers ‘80s fashions, and Plum Sykes’s keen-as-ever eye for social satire.” —Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, bestselling authors of The Royal We

“A delightfully detail-packed peek behind the brocade curtain of Britain’s elite Oxford, where not all of high society holds moral high ground in this clever Heathers-meets-Nancy Drew dishy treat.” —Jill Kargman, creator and star of Odd Mom Out

“Reading Plum Sykes’ Party Girls Die in Pearls is like nibbling a pistachio macaron from Ladurée. Simply delicious. And impossible to stop halfway. You must finish the whole thing. Including the hilarious footnotes sprinkled like tasty crumbs throughout. And then you find you need the next serving of the Oxford Girl Mystery series. ASAP!” —Joanna Coles

“Party Girls Die in Pearls is a sharp and witty mystery. Plum Sykes expertly weaves together an engaging tale of intrigue and social climbing with humor and insight to create a wildly entertaining story.” —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

“A riot and very page turning and written with terrific panache.” —Barbara Trapido, author of Brother of the More Famous Jack

“This knowing, clever and perfectly rendered novel is part mystery, part retro blowout. So 80s you can smell the hairspray, Party Girls Die in Pearls unfolds at Oxford University, where high society still reigns. . . . Witty and utterly addictive.” —<b>Netgalley, “Top Ten UK Books for June”</b>

“Take one posh university, mix in a queen bee, throw in a murder, and you’ve got a mystery that makes Heathers look almost snoozy.” —Cosmopolitan

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062429025
  • ISBN 10: 0062429027
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 05/09/2017
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price: 33.50 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Contemporary Women
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Humorous / General

Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

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