The Good Girl's Guide to Murder (Debutante Dropout Series #2)

The Good Girl's Guide to Murder (Debutante Dropout Series #2)

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by Susan McBride

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In the second installment of Susan McBride’s Debutante Dropout mystery series, Dallas heiress Andrea Kendricks must expose a high-society assassin … before she becomes the killer’s next target.

Website designer and high-society rebel Andrea Kendricks would never have gotten involved with ego-in-pumps lifestyle hostess Marilee Mabry if it

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In the second installment of Susan McBride’s Debutante Dropout mystery series, Dallas heiress Andrea Kendricks must expose a high-society assassin … before she becomes the killer’s next target.

Website designer and high-society rebel Andrea Kendricks would never have gotten involved with ego-in-pumps lifestyle hostess Marilee Mabry if it weren’t for the underhanded machinations of Andy’s upper-crust mama. But thanks to Mother Cissy, Andy’s donning designer duds to attend a launch party at the intolerable domestic diva’s new Dallas TV studio—and she’s on hand to witness the celebration site go up in flames!

Then Andy finds Marilee’s daughter, seemingly lifeless. Even though iron-willed Cissy isn’t about to let her social calendar be upset by minor inconveniences like arson and possibly murder, her sometime-sleuthing daughter’s got a more pressing engagement—namely, hunting down the culprit behind some very foul play.

But there are more than a few nasty messes tucked away in the Mabry closet—and a craven assassin who has the Big D elite quaking in their cowboy boots may soon be burying Andy in hers!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McBride's second Debutante Dropout mystery (after Blue Blood) proves as alluring as an Estrada evening dress and as tempting as a slice of death-by-chocolate cake served by the exclusive Dallas Diet Club. The incorrigible Cissy Blevins hasn't given up on restoring daughter Andrea "Andy" Blevins Kendricks, who forsook her debutante season for art school in Chicago and a career as a Webmaster, to her rightful place in society. So when the new TV series The Sweet Life, starring Marilee Mabry, a Texan version of Martha Stewart, has an opening for a Webmaster, Cissy seizes the chance to advance her daughter. With disdain for Dallas high society but an enduring love for her meddlesome mother, Andy serves as the perfect guide to a lifestyle that's the contemporary Texas equivalent of upper-crust Regency. When Andy discovers Marilee's 18-year-old daughter, Kendall, near death on the night of her mother's grand TV debut, the fun really begins. The suspense builds as the do-gooder Webmaster unearths some unpleasant truths about Marilee, Kendall and their shared boy toy and personal trainer, Justin Gable. Though the mystery falters near the end, delicious dishing on social secretaries, Persian rugs and society rags more than compensates. Agent, Victoria Sanders. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Debutante Dropout Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.92(d)

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The Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Debutante Dropout Mystery
By McBride, Susan

Avon Books

ISBN: 0060563907

Chapter One

"Put it down, or I'll kill you."

Marilee Mabry didn't even have to raise her voice, and the huge vase of flowers was hastily lowered. The elaborate arrangement from one of Dallas's premier floral designers, Dr. Delphinium, nearly hid the woman behind it, until she deposited the bouquet on the coffee table with a clunk and backed away.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I was just trying to help with the party preparations."

Marilee scowled at the unadorned face and wild dark hair hanging down to where boobs should have been. What was it with these New Age flower children? Hadn't they heard of straightening wands, padded bras, or Bobbi Brown?

She flicked be-ringed fingers, motioning the girl away. "Please, do me a favor and go help somewhere else," she instructed, indifferent to the chill in her drawl, and watched the bewildered expression turn to dismay.

"I can't believe that you ... you're not anything like I'd imagined ... oh, forget it," the young woman stammered, then ducked her head and scurried off like a frightened rabbit.

Was she an intern?

A friend of Kendall's?

Though she looked at least a decade older than Kendall's eighteen.

Was she someone from Twinkle Productions?

Ah, one of The Sweet Life's newer production assistants. She had to be.

There seemed to be bushels ofthose lately.

Marilee tapped a finger to her lips, thinking something about the shape of the hazel eyes and set of the mouth seemed familiar.

Hmm, a name was on the tip of her tongue, really.

Something with an R, wasn't it? Randa, Retha, Renée?

Heavens to Betsy, she couldn't expect to remember everyone!

There were always so many people wandering around her offices and The Sweet Life set these days, half of them unfamiliar. Her staff had grown so fast in the past six weeks -- thanks to an infusion of crew from Twinkle -- that she'd long since given up memorizing names and faces. Thank God this was Texas and calling everyone "hon" worked in a pinch.

Still it was disconcerting to feel that she had strangers among her inner circle. When they'd started out years ago, taping locally at one of the downtown stations, she'd had only a small crew, operating on a shoestring. She trusted department heads to do the hiring now, while she focused on hosting the show, on writing books, making videotapes, and developing related projects. Even if she wanted to -- and she didn't -- she simply couldn't be all things to all people. She wasn't an octopus; she only had two hands, for God's sake.

Though that was the price of fame, wasn't it?

She sighed.

Never mind, she told herself and fiddled with the vase overflowing with artfully arranged Oriental lilies and green bamboo until it looked absolutely perfect. She stepped back to admire her handiwork, clicking tongue against teeth.

If she wanted anything done right, she still had to do it herself.

Wasn't that always the way?

Even married to Gilbert, she'd had to do everything: take care of the house, pay the bills, set up doctors' appointments, arrange vacations, and -- perhaps trickiest of all -- rear their daughter.

Dear, troubled Kendall, she mused with a shake of her head.

The girl had been a fussy baby and a demanding toddler; ripening into a needy teenager who required far more attention than Marilee could possibly give. Though it wasn't all Marilee's fault. Half that responsibility fell on Gil. Kendall had never received the affection she'd wanted from her father -- or so the therapists had concurred -- and, for that matter, neither had Marilee.

Kendall had been getting on her nerves all morning, whining about not being allowed to borrow any of Mari's best jewelry, complaining that her new pair of Jimmy Choos pinched her toes, and begging Mari to open the bottle of reserve stock Dom Perignon she'd been hoarding for tonight's big event "so I can have a little taste."

It was enough to give her an ulcer, if she didn't have one already.

Instinctively, Marilee reached for her third left finger, but it was bare. No wedding band to twist, not for six years, and still sometimes she tried out of habit.

Would things have been different for Kendall if there'd been no divorce? Was that at the root of her lack of selfworth?

Not that the divorce had been Mari's idea to begin with.

Still, would she be where she was if it hadn't happened?

Absolutely not.

When she thought about it -- really, truly, deeply -- it seemed a wonder she and Gil had lasted as long as they did. More amazing that she hadn't smothered him with a pillow along the way, much as she'd been tempted. Always leaving his dirty clothes on the floor, mussing up the bathroom, pretending to slave away at the office, then disappearing for days on "business trips" when he was really off boinking his assistant, a former nurse's aide who looked like the love child of Pamela Anderson and Carrot Top.

She realized she was gritting her teeth and made herself relax.

That was then, Marilee.

This was now, and everything was different. Her life was her own, and she'd taken the reins in a big way.

No, a colossal way.

She let her gaze dance over the cadre of people -- a mingling of staff and additional hired help -- who moved purposefully within the cavernous surroundings, readying the place for tonight's big premiere ... Continues...

Excerpted from The Good Girl's Guide to Murder by McBride, Susan Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Good Girl's Guide to Murder (Debutante Dropout Series #2) 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd time I've read this book and I truly enjoyed it! Again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Andy Kendricks is a debutant dropout. She missed her own coming out party and went to art school. Now Andy manages websites for non-profit organizations. It¿s not like she needs money. And she believes in their causes. But Cissy, her mother, talks her into working for her dear friend Marilee Mabry. It¿s supposed to be a short-term job. Marilee has gone through six webmasters already. Marilee is a Martha Stewart type and has a home show coming to TV. Marilee invites her ex-husband and his wife to the party celebrating her new show. A cat fight ensues between the two women in which one woman¿s hair is set on fire. Then the sprinklers go off. Andy heads to Marilee¿s office to turn off the live feeds she¿d set up for the website. On her way the lights go off. She finally stumbles into the office and stumbles across Marilee¿s daughter, Kendall, on the floor of the bathroom. Andy knows she must get help. She hears sirens with help arriving, but can she get back out to them in the dark in time? Marilee¿s personal trainer and boy toy, Justin, finally admits to the dr. that he had been giving Kendall herbs. Kendall and Justin have a past as well. It is determined that the herbs were harmful to Kendall. When a murder is discovered, Andy investigates to find the killer to protect Kendall whom she has befriended. Andy finds many skeletons in the closet, but can she figure out who the real killer is and the motive in time? I always enjoy books in this series. Andy is so down to earth, and her mother is such high society. Yet, they go well together in this book. In this book Marilee is so well crafted, she¿s a trip. She is your typical A type personality and feels everyone must do what she says. Andy is always the calming factor, but she has many wild adventures as well. I highly recommend this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For her not to at least living comfortable e g. Like bring her mattress over from home like most kids do when have their own space. A truly religious reason to live plain and dress modest would be more realistic than just doing it to get even with mother. annoying for those who must sell half the loaf for health insurance
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this. There was enough twists and turns for me that I did not figure this one out until the very last few pages. It can be a little draggy in some parts. I just don't enjoy a whole lot of over description. However, the story does not disappoint. I will be reading the third one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grannie-Reader More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this--a great plane or beach read. The story does involve murder and detecting, in the posh suburbs of Dallas and on a TV set. Cute and clever. Not the "best" mystery--but definitely a fun, enjoyable reading pleasure. A bit of "fluff".
historyprofMI More than 1 year ago
I enjoy this series for a light mystery. It is not difficult to figure out "whodunnit," but the characters are engaging.
InkwellLA More than 1 year ago
McBride has created a fun, easy-to-read series with her Debutante Dropout, Andy Kendricks. Having grown up and lived in Texas (but not in high society) for 60 years, and having taught in a high society school, I can say that the author paints a very realistic picture of the Deb world, and the world of the debs' parents. The perfect example of a deb mother, Cissy clearly can't understand Andy's "no,thanks" attitude, and works hard to drag her back into the world of the Texas elite. The characters in this series are fun, as is the reading experience. I've read them all. Hope McBride keeps them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andrea was needy & really dumb. The little humor that I found in the book was forced. It felt like the story was written 50 years ago instead of 10.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good ass book
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Andy Kendricks gets involved with the seedy and greedy side of television. The characters are well developed and the plots close many doors, but open windows to new suspects. Susan's latests book is a fun way to practice the ameature sleuth skills in all of us. Debutante high society is out of many reaches, but we learn to act like we are there. The Dallas setting is very realistic, and this book is a delight for anyone to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Andy Kendricks, the daughter of Dallas socialite Cissy Blevins Kendricks, wants to do anything but dress up and please her mother. As a matter of fact, she skipped her own debutante coming out and went to art school instead. Back in Dallas again, she manages websites, mostly for non-profit organizations. After all, she does have a trust fund. Cissy comes to Andy and begs her to help her dear friend Marilee Mabry, a home guru of the Martha Stewart type, whose show is hitting the TV waves, and she wants the first episode to be shown on a live web cast. She's already been through six webmasters and is desperate along with bossy and conceited and well, let's say hard to work with. Andy doesn't want to do it until her mother bribes her with an Escada dress to die for. Andy arrives early at Marilee's studio/offices to be sure all is set up. As the show gets underway, a cat fight between women erupts setting one woman's hair on fire prompting the sprinklers to go off and the sirens to blare. The lights go out and pandemonium breaks loose. Andy has her wits about her and stumbles back to the office to turn off that live feed so viewers aren't watching the debacle and stumbles across Marilee's daughter Kendall passed out in the bathroom. Andy must figure a way to get help for Kendall in the dark, wet recesses of the office, and pronto. Later we find out that Marilee's personal trainer gave Kendall some herbs. Kendall leaned on Justin as much as her mother did. He actually checks her out of the hospital against medical advice. What agenda does he have with Kendall. Or Marilee? Is he for real, or is he just after Marilee's fortune? You'll have to read this funny, witty, and intriguing mystery to find out for yourself!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Dallas, Martha Stewart clone Marilee Mabry, about to be launched on an unsuspecting American public, reflects how she now knows how her idol felt when she rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Andrea Kendricks knows she has one more reason to strangle her elitist mother, Cissy, who insisted her daughter attend her friend Marilee¿s celebratory party. Andrea wants no part of her mother¿s scene and would prefer to avoid this bow to the domestic queen event; she would prefer rush-hour on the LBJ.--- At the gala at the Sweet Life¿s Studio, a fire breaks out. During the chaos, Andy finds a seemingly comatose Kendall, Marilee¿s daughter, lying on the floor. When the studio cools down, a body is found. Other incidents follow. While Mother has no room on her social calendar for Marilee¿s troubles, Andy investigates into who wants to destroy their family friend.--- THE GOOD GIRL¿S GUIDE TO MURDER is a terrific satirical investigative tale that readers will fully enjoy due to the relationship between Mother and Debutante Dropout daughter as Andy is anything but a chip off the old block. Andy is a wonderful protagonist still struggling to cope with a perfectionist mother, who feels her only child is a let down as women should not be sleuthing when they need to insure their nails, hair, and pumps are correct. Marilee is a trip as her pompous attitude comes across that her coronation should have happened already. Though the culprit and the motive seem obvious, fans will still not be sure who the perpetrator is until the very end. What makes this novel and its predecessor so good is the BLUE BLOOD detective Andy.--- Harriet Klausner