Too Pretty to Die (Debutante Dropout Series #5)

Too Pretty to Die (Debutante Dropout Series #5)

by Susan McBride

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Too Pretty to Die (Debutante Dropout Series #5) by Susan McBride

The fifth sassy and irresistible entry in the Debutante Dropout series finds Andy Kendricks uncovering more than just the beauty secrets of Dallas high society …

They call them "pretty parties," and they're the latest rage among Dallas debutantes—get-togethers with light refreshments, heavy gossip, and Dr. Sonja and her magic Botox needles. Former socialite Andy Kendricks normally wouldn't be caught dead at such an event, but she's attending as a favor to her friend Janet, a society reporter in search of a juicy story. And, boy, does she find one when aging beauty queen Miranda DuBois bursts into the room—drunk, disorderly, and packing a pistol.

Miranda's wrinkles have seen better days, and she blames it all on Dr. Sonja. Luckily, Andy calms her down and gets her home … where she's found dead the next morning. The police suspect suicide, but Andy knows that no former pageant girl would give up that easily. She's determined to find Miranda's killer herself, but she'll have to be careful. After all, Botox can make you look younger, but it can't bring you back from the grave.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062319906
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Series: Debutante Dropout Series , #5
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 66,767
File size: 448 KB

About the Author

Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of Blue Blood and the Debutante Dropout Mysteries that include The Good Girl's Guide to MurderThe Lone Star Lonely Hearts ClubNight of the Living Deb, Too Pretty to Die, and Say Yes to the Death. She also writes the bestselling River Road Mysteries and has penned three women’s fiction titles: The Truth About Love and LightningLittle Black Dress, and The Cougar Club. She chronicled her bout with breast cancer in the short memoir, In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Man, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After Forty. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.

Read an Excerpt

Too Pretty to Die
A Debutante Dropout Mystery

Chapter One

"Aw, c'mon, Andy. Don't be a chicken. Everybody's doing it. What's the big deal?"

I'm not exactly sure why Janet had followed me into the opulent powder room in Delaney Armstrong's enormous Bordeaux Avenue manse, except to torment me, as she was supposed to be mingling with the loitering ladies swarming the living room: upper crust women in their twenties and thirties, sipping Chablis and waiting for a turn with über-dermo Dr. Sonja Madhavi, there to inject the beauty-obsessed with her latest age-defying cocktails. My only consolation was that Dr. Sonja hadn't brought her fat vacuum to liposuction any thighs or bellies. That would've had me running straight out the front door and not just to the can.

If I strained my ears, I could discern the hum of yammering voices alongside the bass of "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summers, being that disco was the night's background music. No one had asked, but if they had, I'd have kept disco dead and buried.

I was no Saturday Night Fever diva, but a rock chick to the core.

Yet another reason why I'd rather have been just about anywhere else at the moment and felt extra grateful for my temporary refuge in the loo.

I'd endured enough Abba and eyeballed enough shallow women wearing Gucci, Fendi, and Prada to satisfy my quota for the year, and I certainly had no intention of experiencing Dr. Sonja's party favors, since that would mean subjecting myself to a syringe full of God knows what. I'd heard tell that she made up some of her "beauty remedies" on the stovetop in her kitchen. Kind of like an upscale meth labfor the chic.

The idea gave me shivers, but it obviously didn't do much to scare off the long list of Dr. Sonja's clientele. Even the Morning News had dubbed the exotic-looking doc who wore miniskirts and platform heels "Big D's Own Fountain of Youth."

Like a bad case of the flu, Dr. Sonja's "Pretty Parties" had spread across the city, infecting every wrinkle-fearing, couture-wearing woman in Dallas's in-crowd from age fifteen to 115.

It was worse than the Tupperware plague of the 1980s.

Plastic wasn't my thing, not the kind you stored leftovers in or the type that meant reshaping body parts with knives or needles.

Call me crazy—and plenty of folks around Big D did—but hardcore superficiality gave me the heebie-jeebies, not surprising considering that I, Andrea Blevins Kendricks, would forever be known as the "debutante dropout" after bailing on my own cotillion, and deemed fatally etiquette impaired by the city's blue bloods, despite being reared by the High Priestess of High Society and Matron of Good Manners, my Chanel-wearing mother Cissy Blevins Kendricks.

So why the heck would I want to inject myself with some funky substance just because all the appearance-obsessed females in town were doing it? If peer pressure—and dire threats from Cissy—hadn't inspired me to don white and debut at eighteen, it sure as heck wasn't going to work now.

"Baawk, baawk," my so-called pal, Janet Graham—the culprit responsible for my presence at this particular Pretty Party—squawked in her best chicken imitation, even flapping her elbows to get the point across.

I loaded up my verbal slingshot.

"If everybody jumped off Reunion Tower with Sub-Zero fridges strapped to their butts, would you do it, too?"

I flung the words at her and stared her down, waiting for her comeback. Oh, and she'd have one, too. I could bet my rarely touched investment portfolio on it.

Janet never lacked for words. She edited the society pages for the Park Cities Press newspaper, the rag that covered the upscale Dallas neighborhood I'd grown up in, and she wrote much of its contents. Janet knew everyone who was anyone in the city, and she always had something to say about each one of them (the choicest cuts saved for private snarking sessions).

"I see," was all she said at first, and cocked her head, sending ringlets of bright red hair cascading over her shoulders—a new and very feminine look for her, as she usually went for no-nonsense cuts. She studied me with eyes made all the wider by her black-rimmed "smart girl" glasses. "So, my self-confident compadre, you wouldn't try a little of Dr. Sonja's super-new wrinkle eraser? Not even to wipe out those lines between your brows?"


"What lines?" Instinctively, my fingers went up to poke the terrain north of the bridge of my nose.

"The ones you've had since high school, Andy." She sighed and smoothed the lapels of her 1940s style jacket, armed with shoulder pads that had the wingspan of a 747. "You always scrunch up your brow when you contemplate something, and it's given you premature creases." She sighed again, agitated, "You're doing it right now."

I ambled over toward a mirror, as there were several large gilt-framed ones hanging on the velvet-papered walls in Delaney Armstrong's gargantuan downstairs hall bathroom. The whole mansion was overstuffed and ostentatious enough to look like an old-fashioned bordello (not that I'd ever seen an old-fashioned bordello, but I had been in a strip club once that had red velvet ceilings and chandeliers).

Did I mention that Delaney was the hostess for this evening's soiree plugging Dr. Sonja's –miracle cures? And that I'd been tricked into coming by La Femme Janet, who'd invited me out for a friendly "let's catch up" dinner, only to pull one of her "oops, I nearly forgot, I have to cover this teensy-weensy event for the paper. It'll just take a sec. Want to go with me?"


She was almost as bad as my subversive Mummy Dearest, and I was far too gullible for my own good. I would never learn, would I?

I squinted at my reflection, contemplating it so thoroughly my brow was pleated like an accordion. Even when I forced a blank expression, the pleats didn't erase, not completely.

Well, shiver my splintered timbers.

Too Pretty to Die
A Debutante Dropout Mystery
. Copyright © by Susan McBride. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Too Pretty to Die (Debutante Dropout Series #5) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only repeat first books this has no humor and serious problem about clothes and shoes that should at least be comfortable modest and are not a safety hazard. She is just on a longer leash and doubt will preorder may show up at library this was a borrow read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He reaches down between her legs, while exploring the inside of her mouth with his tongue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is here)
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LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Too Pretty To Die .... This is the first book I have read by Susan McBride and I really enjoyed it! Very light and fun reading - would highly recommend this author and plan on buying some of her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this author writes a great story line and keeps humor in her stories as well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. McBride is such a good writer, she must have a blast writing. Her characters are believable, I've said some of the same things that she writes. Charming, interesting and worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Protaginist not as acerbic , seems a little more mature. However , I like my main character to have a semblance of intelligence.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I flew through this fun novel and just wished there was more when I got to the end. Susan McBride has a real talent! Can't wait for her next one to come out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was anxiously awaiting this fifth in the Andrea McKendrick series and I was SO not disappointed! As always, if Andy is not sticking her nose in where it gets her in trouble, her incorrigible mother, Cissy, is doing it for her, and the Dallas Society scene is once more shown in all its glorious true colors! McBride hits it right on the head with her jibes at the superficiality of 'high society' while keeping us guessing until the very end just exactly whodunnit! As a mystery lover, and a person who just plain loves to laugh, these books are an absolute delight! Can't get enough of them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the first four books in the series, but in this installment Andy is spineless and accepts terrible treatment from her selfish mother and demanding friend. Just not the caliber of McBride's earlier books.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Beautiful Miranda DuBois is an anchor on a Dallas Television Station but to improve her looks she went to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sonja Madhavi for work on her eyes and her mouth. The results are a drooping mouth and an eye twitch, which in turn tainted her career and caused her to be ousted by the Caviar Cliub. In a drunken rage she crashes a party at Delaney Armstrong¿s house where Dr. Sonja is giving Botox injections.------------ She fires her gun but the bullet hits a picture frame and the weapon is taken away from her. Andy Kendricks, who avoids being a society girl even though her mother is mega-wealthy, takes Miranda home, puts her to bed on the couch and shuts off the computer. The next morning she returns to Miranda only to find her dead. The police think it is a suicide but Andy believes differently. The computer is missing, the gun that killed her was the one left behind at the party and Miranda was angry not despondent. When her mother gets involved trying to prove it was murder and her best friend, a reporter cajoles her into investigating what really happened, Andy has no choice but to figure out what occurred unaware that she is putting herself in harm¿s way.------------------- TOO PRETTY TO DIE is a delightful Debutante Dropout mystery with a social message concerning the nation¿s addiction to beauty at all cost. The protagonist of the humorous and charming cozy isn¿t interested in beauty or her standing in society which makes her seem much more mature than many of the other characters. Susan McBride provides a fantastic amateur sleuth tale sprinkled with humor yet with a deep underlying question on wasting medical funds on the frivolous.----------- Harriet Klausner