Kate White's New York Times bestseller, If Looks Could Kill, introduced Bailey Weggins, one of the savviest single urbanites ever to take up sleuthing and still look terrific. Now Bailey, the Gloss magazine true crime writer, gets the treatment at a ritzy country spa where she finds...
A BODY TO DIE FOR
For Bailey, trading Manhattan for a weekend of major pampering at a friend's resort in rural Massachusetts is a no-brainer. But when she stumbles across a mummy-wrapped corpse in one of the spa's treatment rooms, her time-out suddenly morphs into a full-tilt murder investigation. Instead of slathering cellulite away with shea butter, she's uncovering suspects ranging from a spurned lover to a sleazy husband to a shady ring of employees. With a sexy, hard-to-resist homicide cop on the case and by her side, Bailey's soon chasing clues across state lines-and moving into the sights of a vengeful killer who is trying to wrap things up for good. This time, the body in the mud wrap could be her own.
Bailey Weggins, the heroine of Cosmo editor-in-chief White's bestselling debut, If Looks Could Kill (2002), proves that her sleuthing ability was no fluke in this solid follow-up. Depressed by her nonexistent love life, Bailey, a freelance true-crime writer for Gloss magazine, leaves Manhattan for some R&R at the Cedar Inn and Spa in Warren, Mass., owned and run by an old friend of her mother's. Her first night there, however, she stumbles on the corpse of one of the inn's female therapists-wrapped in silver Mylar paper. Anna Cole's murder, on top of the accidental death of a male client months earlier, could spell doom for the inn, unless Bailey can get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, Jack Herlihy, the smooth shrink from her prior outing, surfaces with a plausible excuse for his earlier disappearing act, while "dashing" Jeffrey Beck, the local detective who's looking into Anna's murder, also attracts, despite his cool professional demeanor. Bailey bravely deals with threats (a dead mouse wrapped in Mylar in the mail), deftly pumps people for information (a scene with a local waitress is a gem) and comes to a startling conclusion after the murder of a second therapist just before the heart-stopping, heroine-in-peril climax. Though the glamorous New York magazine world has only a small role here, fans will find Bailey's sassy wit as engaging as ever and are sure to admire the skill with which White pulls together all the threads. Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and BOMC; Mystery Guild alternate. (June 2) Forecast: Expectations are running high for this sequel, after the hardcover of If Looks Could Kill sold more than 150,000 copies. The major advertising/publicity/promotion campaign for this media-savvy author should ensure similar sales, though those looking for glitz may be disappointed to find less of it than before. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
March 31, 2004
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Excerpt from A Body to Die For by Kate White
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.