True crime writer and sometime-sleuth Bailey Weggins took the world by storm in Kate White's sexy and suspenseful debut novel, If Looks Could Kill. Now, in Bailey's latest outing, she takes the plunge into a world of domestic divas and deadly nuptial doings...
When she gets a call from Ashley Hanes on a frigid night, Bailey expects to be hit up for fashion show tickets. Instead Ashley reveals that two bridesmaids from Peyton Cross's wedding have recently died in freak accidents...and Ashley is terrified she's next. A bridesmaid herself-with the dress to prove it-Bailey dashes off to Ivy Hill Farm, the home of Peyton's catering empire in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bailey's barely warmed up after the cold drive before another bridesmaid takes a walk down the aisle of no return. Now following a dangerous trail of clues that will take her from New York's trendy Lower East Side to a fabulous oceanfront hotel in Miami, Bailey could become the headline of the next true crime story: Four Funerals and a Wedding.
The third cleverly plotted Bailey Weggins mystery from Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief White (after 2003's A Body to Die For) provides a juicy inside look at the well-to-do matrons of tony Greenwich, Conn. Lounging at home one winter evening in Manhattan, the 30-something Bailey gets an unexpected call from one of her fellow bridesmaids from "the infamous Cross-Slavin wedding" held the previous spring. Ashley Hanes wants the Gloss magazine true-crime reporter/amateur detective to look into a bizarre coincidence: two bridesmaids have died, both seemingly by accident. So Ashley and Bailey travel to Greenwich to talk with the star of the wedding herself, Peyton Cross. Through her heroine's funny, self-deprecating voice, the author deliciously conveys the milieu of moneyed Greenwich-ites (and their New York counterparts). One has to wonder, though, why the refreshingly down-to-earth Bailey is even friends with the likes of Peyton Cross, a "Bridezilla" unpleasantly obsessed with perfection. White keeps everything light, but she also sustains a real sense of mystery, with less than obvious motives and a positively suspenseful denouement. Ultimately, the pleasures here are more gossipy than criminal. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (May 4) Forecast: After all the hype over White's best-selling mystery debut, If Looks Could Kill (2002), last year's follow-up couldn't quite sustain the momentum. But Marc Platt and Touchstone have optioned the Bailey Weggins books for an hour-long ABC-TV pilot, which bodes well for the long-term health of the series. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
May 30, 2005
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Excerpt from 'Til Death Do Us Part by Kate White
THE FIRST TIME she said her name on the phone that January night, I couldn't place her--though there was something vaguely familiar about the voice. It had a snooty, trust fundy tone, as if she were announcing, "I own a Marc Jacobs bag and you don't."
"Ashley Hanes," she said once more, this time with exaggerated emphasis and irritation, the way American tourists sometimes speak to foreigners who don't understand them. "We met at Peyton Cross's wedding. I was a bridesmaid, remember?"
Ohh, right. We had been introduced late last April in Greenwich, Connecticut, during the infamous Cross-Slavin wedding weekend. Ashley had graduated from the same exclusive private high school as the bride and was now working, if my memory was correct, as an interior decorator in Greenwich--though working was apparently something she chose rather than had to do. An image of her began to loosen from my memory: long, chestnut-colored hair, slim as a French baguette, and haughty as hell, just like the voice. She was the kind of woman who would meet you at a party and look right through you, as if you were a potted palm.
"Oh, right, I'm so sorry," I said. "I'm in a little bit of a fog at the moment. How are you, anyway?"
I was pretty sure what was coming next. Since I'm a contributing writer for Gloss magazine, I often get phone calls from people I've met asking for fashion- or publishing-related favors. But I write gritty, true crime and human-interest stories for the magazine, and I'm not connected to the glittery, glossy stuff. My name is Bailey Weggins, by the way, and just for the record, I am categorically unable to help someone become a Ford model, gain admittance to a Chanel sample sale, or publish a confessional article on how a liposuction procedure left ugly scars along her buttocks.
"I need your help," she said.
"Okay," I said. "Though if it's--"
"There's a very serious situation, and I have to talk to you about it."
"Serious" to someone like Ashley could mean her hair stylist was out of town for the week, but the alarm in her voice sounded real enough that I was concerned.
"Is it about Peyton?" I asked. Though I had spoken to Peyton on the phone once last summer, I had not laid eyes on her in nine months--not since she had dazzled a room of five hundred guests in a satin Vera Wang wedding dress with a low-cut, crumb-catcher bodice. From there she had headed off for a cruise of the Greek islands with her new, older husband, David, who'd made a fortune in the world of finance--whatever that means.
"No. Well, indirectly, yes. Look, it's not something I want to get into on the phone. Can you meet me to talk about this?"
"All right. Tell me when--and where. Are you still living up in Greenwich?"
"Yes, but I'm in New York tonight. At the Four Seasons Hotel. Could you come by here for a drink?"
"Tonight?" I exclaimed. It had started to snow a few hours earlier, and as I glanced across the room toward the terrace of my fourteenth-story apartment, I could see it was coming down harder now--in big, crazy swirls. I live at the very eastern end of Greenwich Village, on the corner of 9th Street and Broadway, and it would be a bitch getting a cab up to 57th Street in this weather--and an even bigger bitch getting one back.
"It's urgent," she said. "When you hear what I have to say, you'll understand why I need to see you immediately."
It didn't seem that I had much choice but to acquiesce. She sounded about as eager to hear me say no as she would be to travel by Greyhound, and besides, if the situation really did involve Peyton Cross, even indirectly, I was curious to know what it was. I explained to Ashley that it might take me forty-five minutes to get there. We agreed that I would ring her on the hotel house phone when I arrived and she'd come down to the bar in the lobby.