A Body to Die For (Bailey Weggins Series #2)

A Body to Die For (Bailey Weggins Series #2)

by Kate White


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446531481
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 06/02/2003
Series: Bailey Weggins Series , #2
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.09(d)

About the Author


New York, New York

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Glens Falls, New York


Union College, 1972

Read an Excerpt

A Body to Die For

By Kate White

Time Warner

Copyright © 2003 Kate White
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446531480

Chapter One

When I think back on everything terrible that happened that autumn-the murders, the grim discovery I made, the danger I found myself in-I realize I probably could have avoided all of it if my love life hadn't been so sucky. Or let me rephrase that. Nonexistent. Late in the summer, I'd been kicked to the curb by a guy I was fairly gaga over, and though my heart no longer felt as raw as a rug burn, my misery had morphed into a sour, man-repellent mood. It was as if I had a sign over my head that said, "Step any closer and I'm gonna bitch-slap you."

So when I was invited to spend an early fall weekend free of charge at the Cedar Inn and Spa in Warren, Massachusetts, I grabbed the chance. Trust me, I wasn't expecting to meet anyone there-except maybe a few rich women in pastel sweat suits and fanny packs who thought having their bodies slathered in shea butter would miraculously vaporize their cellulite. I should also admit that I've generally found spa stuff pretty goofy. I once had a complimentary prune-and-pumpkin facial, and when it was over I kept thinking that I should be stationed on a sideboard between a roast turkey and cornbread stuffing.

But I do go nuts for a good massage, and I was hoping that a few of those and a change of scenery would improve my mood as well as jump-start my heart.

Unfortunately, soon after I arrived at the inn, all hell broke loose.

I pulled into Warren just before seven on Friday night. A reasonable arrival time, but three damn hours later than I'd originally planned. A combination of things had thrown my schedule into a tizzy. I'm a freelance journalist, specializing in human-interest and crime stories, and an interview that I was scheduled to do with a psychologist for an article on mass hysteria got pushed from morning to midafternoon. I would have liked to just blow it off entirely. But the piece was due at the end of the following week, and I was feeling under the gun. I didn't hit the road until three-thirty, guaranteeing that I'd have a good chance of getting caught in a rush-hour mess somewhere between Manhattan and Massachusetts-and I did. In addition, I was undone by a smoldering car fire on the southbound side of the New York State Thruway, which caused people on my side to practically crawl by on their haunches so they could get a better look. You would have thought the front half of the Titanic had been dredged and deposited along the side of the road.

If I'd arrived on schedule, I would have been welcomed by the owner of the inn, Danielle (aka Danny) Hubner. She was the one treating me to an all-expenses-paid weekend. An old college friend of my mother's, Danny had been pleading for me to visit the inn since she'd opened it three or four years ago. But I'd always been too crazed with work-or too caught up in the stages of grief that followed the demise two years ago of my flash fire of a marriage: heartache, healing, and manic horniness. This fall, because of my snarky mood, I'd finally said yes.

It would be great, I figured, to not only be pampered 24/7, but also to spend a nice chunk of time with Danny. She was really my friend, too, and she had a slightly offbeat personality that I found absolutely refreshing. I got the sense my visit would also prove beneficial to her. My mother had called right before she flew to Athens for a Mediterranean cruise to say that Danny had seemed in a bit of a slump lately, but she didn't know why. My mother was worried she might be having troubles with her second husband, George, whom I'd yet to meet-and whom my mother didn't seem wild about.

Since I arrived so late, I'd missed Danny. According to the desk clerk, she'd driven into town on business she could no longer put off, but she'd left word that she would check in with me later. I was given a brief tour before being shown to my room.

The inn, a rambling, clapboard building probably erected in the mid-1800s, was really quite smashing, even more so than in the pictures I'd seen. Instead of dripping with the cutesy country charm that you so often find at a restored inn, the decor was elegant, pared down-lots of beige and cream tones and brown-and-white-check fabric. And there wasn't a whirligig, weather vane, or wooden swan in sight.

Since I was late, I figured I'd blown any chance of getting a treatment that night, but my guide explained that Danny had arranged for me to be squeezed in for a massage at eight-before a late dinner. The inn's spa, which also operated as a day spa for the area, stayed open until ten.

I had about fifteen minutes to catch my breath before the massage. My room was maximum charming, a suite, actually, with a small living area. It also sported checks, but in red and white and paired with several quirky print fabrics. I unpacked the clothes most likely to wrinkle and hung them in the closet. (I'm a contributing writer for Gloss magazine, and I read in a recent issue that you should roll your clothes in tissue paper before packing them in order to prevent wrinkles, but I'd no sooner take the time to do that than I would to iron my underpants.) Next I took a very quick shower, letting the spray of hot water do a number on muscles achy from a long car ride.

I dried myself off with a thick Egyptian-cotton towel. Thanks to a towel warmer, it was as toasty as a baked potato. As I buffed my body with it, I noticed a small earthenware jar on the bathroom countertop. It was filled to the brim with amber-colored bath salts, and a little tag announced their availability for sale in the spa. They were a blend of sandalwood and sweet orange aromatics with a hint of frankincense, prepared, the tag said, so I could "surrender to a state of total enchantment and emerge with a primitive power." God, just what I needed. Was it actually suggesting I could get both in the same weekend? I glanced up, into the mirror above the sink. I'm five six, with short, brownish blond hair, and blue eyes, and I'm considered pretty in a slightly sporty way, but there was no denying that at this moment in time, I looked weary, even burned-out. It was going to take a helluva lot of bath salts to leave me feeling enchanted and empowered.

I arrived downstairs at the spa with just a few minutes to spare. It was actually a large addition to the inn, abutting the eastern edge of the building. The decor was Asian inspired: beige walls, cracked stone floors, bamboo plants in large putty-colored pots, and hallways lined with sheer beige curtains that poofed outward from the breeze that you created walking by them. It was very different from the decor of the inn, but because they both featured such muted tones, it all seemed to work together.

I undressed in a spacious dressing area and then waited for ten minutes in the so-called relaxation room. Haunting Asian music played in the background, water gurgled over stones in a small fountain, and the scent of green tea wafted from two flickering candles. I tried to let go and relish it, but I felt a little silly. It was as if I'd somehow stumbled into a scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Fortunately, it was only a few minutes before I was led to a treatment room. I could barely wait for my massage to start, for the chance to have those sore muscles unknotted. My only concern was that it had been so long since I'd had any physical contact with another member of my species that I might begin to whimper at the first touch-like a poor little pound puppy. Unfortunately, on a scale of one to ten, the massage was no more than a seven. My "therapist," a red-haired woman in her thirties, was skilled enough and had plenty of strength in her hands, but she seemed distracted, pausing at odd moments as she worked. It was enough to make me wonder if I had something weird happening on my butt-like a humongous boil-that was forcing her to stop and gape in horror. I was almost relieved when I was finally back in my suite and could totally veg.

After ordering a club sandwich and a glass of Merlot from room service, I unpacked most of the rest of the stuff from my bag, sticking my underwear and shirts in a dresser. In the early days that I'd traveled, I used to wonder who actually used hotel dressers, but lately, at the ripe old age of thirty-three, I'd come to discover that I prefer not having to forage through my suitcase each time I get dressed.

My food arrived within twenty minutes and, ravenous, I devoured it. Then, after opening the window a crack, I undressed and turned back the thick white duvet on the bed. I was looking forward to reading between sheets that felt as if they exceeded a three-hundred-thread count.

As I lay between said silky sheets, though, I could feel my mind itching to go places it shouldn't. In other words, it was dying to ruminate about my most recent love trouble. His name was Jack Herlihy, and he was a thirty-five-year-old professor of psychology from Washington, D.C., whom I'd met in May after he'd come up to teach a summer course in New York. At the time, Jack had come across like a breath of fresh air compared to most of the guys I'd been meeting. He was great looking, nice without being a wuss, and an amazing listener (well, he was a shrink), and he managed to be all of these things without ever showing up, like some New York men, with too much product in his hair. He seemed like a straight shooter, not the kind of guy who promises to call the next day but doesn't for weeks, giving you reason to believe that he calculates his time in dog years. Jack didn't like games-or at least that's what I assumed before he started playing them.

Most of my Jack ruminations generally involved trying to figure out how I'd blown things. Admittedly, our romance had gotten off to a slow start, but he'd seemed okay with the pace, and it was certainly fine with me. I'd been fairly skittish since my ex-husband-the attorney-at-law and gambler-at-large-had fled the scene. Jack and I had some fun nights in the Village (he was hoping to eventually relocate to New York), one glorious day on the beach on Fire Island, and a night of half-naked groping in his apartment, during which I explained I wanted to wait a little longer for the full-frontal variety.

Then, in the beginning of July, Jack announced that his younger sister had meningitis and he was going to be going home to Pittsburgh each weekend to help his family. Since his life was about to become insane, he wanted to put our relationship on hold for the next few weeks-until he and his family were through the worst. I promised to be there when his life returned to normal.

We'd stayed in phone contact through July and the first week of August, and then suddenly I stopped hearing from him. I told myself to be patient, that he was caught up in the crisis. But after several weeks had gone by and he was still incommunicado, I started to panic. Since I didn't have any reason to believe he'd entered the Federal Witness Protection Program, I suspected that I'd been given the boot.

But wait, things get worse. Just before Labor Day, as I was cruising the Village in search of fall shoes, I spotted him from a distance with a couple of cute female student types-he seemed talky, flirtatious, Mister Not-a-Friggin'-Care-in-the-World. As I'd ducked on wobbly legs into a store to avoid being seen, it was finally clear that it was o-v-e-r.

The only question left in my mind was why? Had he not been that interested in me to begin with and his sister's illness had become a good excuse to put distance between us? Had he met someone else in the weeks we'd been apart? Had my request to take the sexual part of the relationship slowly discouraged him despite the fact that he had sounded okay with it?

Just as I was about to travel this tiresome ground in my mind for the millionth time, the phone rang.

"Bailey, it's Danny. I didn't wake you, did I?"

As she spoke, I could see her in my mind's eye. She was in her early sixties, pretty, or rather handsome, I'd say, with blondish gray hair lightly curled. And she was tiny-only about five feet tall and as slim as a candlewick.

"No, no, I'm just lying in bed with a book," I said. "Danny, your inn is absolutely gorgeous. You've done an amazing job with it."

"Thank you so much, dearest. How has your evening been?"

Well, for the last twenty minutes I'd been tapping a freshly scabbed emotional bruise, seeing if I could make myself squeal-but I spared her that sordid detail.

"Terrific. I had a lovely massage and then a light dinner up here in my room-or should I say my suite fit for a princess."

"Who was your massage therapist, do you recall?"

"A woman. Redhead. Name started with a P, I think."

"Piper. She has wonderful hands, don't you think?"

"Yes, definitely." I wasn't going to get Piper in any kind of trouble by saying her heart hadn't been totally into her work tonight.

"By the way, I've set up a meeting for you and Josh, the spa manager, at four tomorrow-if that's still okay with you."

I write a few travel articles each year-it's a free way to see the world and also a nice break from the crime grind-and Danny was hoping that while I was ensconced at the inn I could provide some ideas on how to better pitch her place to editors and travel writers.

"Of course," I said. "But when do I get to see you?"

"How about breakfast together tomorrow morning?" Danny asked. "Would nine work for you?"

"Absolutely, though I still may be in a stupor from my massage."

She laughed lightly, like someone jangling her keys. "Well, you know what I always say-too much of a good thing is wonderful. Just wait till you have some of the other treatments I've got booked for you. Have you ever had a massage with hot stones before?"

"No-but I'm game for anything as long as it doesn't involve colonics."

"Oh, Bailey, you always make me laugh," she said. "Well, I'm going to turn in now because my head is throbbing for some reason. I'm staying here at the inn tonight, by the way, in case you need to reach me."

"Do you do that to see things from the guests' perspective?"

"Partly. But also George is out of town and I hate staying alone. Our house isn't far from here, but it's very secluded. Shall we meet in the lobby, then?"

"See you then. I can't wait."

And I meant it. I felt a tremendous debt to Danny. She had been so good to me when my father died the year I was twelve, taking me on all sorts of little adventures and day trips at a time when my mother was struggling so much that it was hard for her to comfort me. Danny must have sensed early on my fascination for the macabre, because one of our excursions had been to Salem, to learn more about the witch trials. My mother had looked slightly agog at both of us when she'd learned where we'd ended up that day, but it had been pure heaven for me.

My family eventually lost touch with Danny, during a period when she'd lived out west in a bad marriage.


Excerpted from A Body to Die For by Kate White Copyright © 2003 by Kate White
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.

Table of Contents


An Interview with Kate White
Kate White is without a doubt one of the hottest new names on the mystery beat. Her day job as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan adds depth and dazzle to her New York Times bestselling mystery series featuring savvy magazine reporter Bailey Weggins. Kate's debut, If Looks Could Kill, was a runaway hit, and she soon follwed up with a second installment, A Body to Die For. In June 2003, Kate talked to Ransom Notes about her interest in mysteries and her future plans for Bailey, her fictional alter ego.

Kate White: I've always been fascinated by the more macabre side of life. My mother tells me that when I was three I painted a piece of paper entirely black, and when she asked me what the name of it was, I told her "The hacienda is dark and the town is sleeping."

I love mysteries because they're suspenseful, and they also allow you to solve an intriguing puzzle. That's why, in both the Bailey Weggins books, I provide clues and give readers the opportunity to figure out who committed the murder. Though thrillers are also suspenseful, I never enjoy books as much when I know who the killer is from the very beginning.

Ransom Notes: How do you think your magazine publishing background has influenced your mysteries the most?

KW: I feel that humor is an important aspect of Cosmo, and I realized as I started writing my mystery series that I wanted to include humor in it as well. That's why Bailey is so irreverent. Bailey is also impulsive. There's a part of me that's like that, too, but I have to keep it under wraps in my profession. Writing about her gives me a chance to express that part of myself.

RN: What made you decide to set A Body to Die For in a spa?

KW: Just before I finished If Looks Could Kill, I started looking for an idea for my second mystery. A strategy I found very helpful is one I picked up from Practical Intuition by Laura Day. She says that when you need an answer in a creative situation, pose the question to the universe and the answer will come to you. I decided to book myself into a day spa for an afternoon in order to relax and open myself up for inspiration. As I was waiting for a facial I glanced around the room at some of the bizarre equipment, and suddenly I realized I wanted to write about a murder in a spa.

RN: Bailey has had some pretty rocky relationships lately. Can you tell us what you think that adds to her stories?

KW: Bailey is still finding her sea legs after her divorce. She really wants to meet someone, but at the same time she's gun-shy. In A Body to Die For, she develops a serious infatuation with Jeffrey Beck, the homicide detective investigating the case. He's attractive and sexy and intriguing, and I hope her involvement with him adds an extra level of excitement to the story that readers will enjoy.

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Body to Die For (Bailey Weggins Series #2) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading 'If Looks Could Kill', I was excited to read this second book by Kate. Of course it was wonderful like the first! I read it in a few short days. The book kept me guessing til the end, and like the first book I was surprised at who the killer was. I would love to read another by Ms. White.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Kate's books. She has a unique way of blending humor, pop-culture, sarcasm and mystery to keep her readers laughing and guessing until the end. If you enjoyed this book - read all of Kate White's Bailey Weggins mysteries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first book & liked it alot. Got this one & just loved it!!!! Really enjoying this series. I am looking forward to lots more!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book before White's freshman effort 'If Looks Could Kill' and couldn't put it down! A great mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end. WARNING: You won't want to leave the house until you finish it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and couldn't put it down.The ending was awesome and I never would have guessed it but I agree that I'll never be able to get a mud wrap.Although, I enjoyed IF LOOKS COULD KILL more,this book was a good follow up and I can't wait for a third.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in less than 24 hours. The next chapter of Bailey Weggins detective life kept me turning page after page. Set in a relaxing spa, the adventure was anythng but relaxing. I'm not so sure I'll be able to ever get a mud wrap. I can't wait for a third book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fantastic book that is well-told and exciting!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Manhattan Crime reporter Bailey Weggins feels she needs some rest following her last dangerous investigation (see IF LOOKS COULD KILL). So she feels fortunate when she receives an invitation for a free weekend at the Cedar Inn, a posh nineteenth-century Asian-like spa in Warren, Massachusetts. Bailey plans to enjoy forty-eight hours of mud bath pampering.

However, her mellowing ends rather quickly when Bailey finds the murdered corpse of masseuse Anna Cole, wrapped like a mummy. Unable to ignore the homicide especially since the beleaguered owner is a close friend of her mom, Bailey makes inquiries and soon uncovers a laundry list of suspects. Also her continuing to look for clues keeps her within a caress of Detective Supervisor Jeffrey Beck even while psychology professor Dr. Jack Herlihy shows renewed interest in the brave heroine.

Readers will envy the lead protagonist for the melodious serene relaxation especially those heavenly physical massages that she undergoes. However, once the tale goes into investigative mode, it never slows down. The story line works because the audience will like the 'pampered' Bailey who is as interested in the men in her life as she is in solving the homicide. Kate White will score once again with her second Bailey book.

Harriet Klausner

Kathy89 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Crime writer solves a murder at a vacation spa.
magst on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A Body To Die For is a great follow-up to If Looks Could Kill. It's fun, breezy, and entertaining. The main character, Bailey, is a funny, quirky, and quick-witted character. The novels are fast-paced and smart, with plot twists that are exposed at just the right time with just the right amount of suspense to keep you engrossed.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I enjoyed reading this and other books from Kate White. Couldn’t wait to hear who it was!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise was very interesting, but the book was not enjoyable. I usually give an author two to three tries before avoiding their future releases, so I will try one more time.
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