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“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.
About the Author
Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. The author of the novels Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcée and the Kindle Single memoir Oxford Girl, she is a contributing editor at American Vogue, where she writes about fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. She lives in the English countryside with her husband and two daughters.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you like the 1980s, stories set in England, mystery mixed with laughter, or relationships intertwined like those in a soap opera, then Party Girls Die in Pearls is for you. Loved it!
I don’t usually dive into the mystery genre – I do like reading it but I prefer anything rom-com or fantasy to it. When I flipped to the back of Party Girls Die In Pearls, however, I was instantly intrigued. This was a murder set in the 1980’s in Oxford (who had only started accepting female students) and it was also compared to Sex and The City, Clueless and Agatha Christie and I just HAD TO DIVE IN. What’s the verdict? Party Girls Die In Pearls was a hilarious, over the top British murder mystery that had me laughing at the drama and still sitting at the edge of my seat, waiting to find out whodunit. WRITING: This is my first book by the Sunday Times bestselling author, Plum Sykes, and I adored the writing. Everything about it screamed posh British society – from the manner of speaking, to the parties and cucumber sandwiches. She really brought to life the drama in an undergrad’s life while always keeping the murder plot running and interesting. I ADORED the way this book was written. PLOT: Like I said above, the plot was PERFECT. I was so invested in the personal lives of all the characters – Ursula, Nancy, Wenty, Otto, Claire, India, Dr Dave, Isobel and every other character who pretended they were friends, conspired and cheated and still managed to look perfect while throwing an extremely lavish party. At the same time, it kept me invested in the murder solving of a character and it was SUCH A FUN book to spend time in. It totally managed to transport me out on Indian in 2017 and into Oxford in the 1980’s. CHARACTERS: While the plot was perfect and the writing style made everything come to life, the complex natures of the characters, and their true motivations and schemes were THE BEST THING IN THIS BOOK. As the book went on, the lives of these Oxford Aristocrats, these Ladies and Earls unravelled showing us their secrets and their rivalries and it was such an amazing thing to witness. CONCLUSION: Even though Murder-Mystery isn’t my favourite genre, I thoroughly COMPLETELY enjoyed this book. Party Girls Die In Pearls will keep you on your toes, at the edge of your seat, laughing at the antics of these Oxford goers while waiting to see which one of them is a murderer.
1985 Ursula Flowerbutton has arrived at Christminster College, Oxford to start classes when she meets American, Nancy Feingold arriving as well. The two girls immediately bond as they stare in awe at the majestic buildings surrounding them. The first person they meet is a geeky looking guy who introduces himself as Otto Schuffenecker, Prince of Carinthea from Austria, Second Year History and he has been assigned to help the first year Freshers. Nancy is from a wealthy American family is spending her junior year of college abroad calling it her party year. Ursula lost her parents when she was young and has been raised by her loving grandmothers. As they progress through signing in and finding their rooms, the girls pass numerous other girls greeting one another in their snobby, posh ways. Otto calls them the “Yars.” As they meet more girls, they are amazed at the difference in appearance of them and the snottiness of some. Each day, more invitations arrive for the girls to attend parties and teas, plus invitations to join various organizations. Will there be any time for studies? One night, Ursula and a group attend a drinks party and the next morning Ursula finds a girl named India dead on a sofa. Thus begins the inquest and now that Ursula is part of Cherwell, the school newspaper, she is doing all she can to follow the inquest so she can report on it. The story introduces the reader to lots of different characters as we see how the students live in this posh environment that tends to be nothing but one big party. This is a good mystery here in addition to lots of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can understand why the author has such a great following. Copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.