Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery (Hardcover)
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
— Netgalley, “Top Ten UK Books for June”
“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.”
“Purely as a murder mystery in classic Christie mode, this novel would cut the mustard. Add Sykes’s perspicacious take on the uproarious, champagne-fuelled antics of 1980s Oxford - a decade which saw Sykes herself amid its dreaming spires - and what you have is whip-smart satire.”
— Irish Independent
“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