Feeling a bit put out with her boyfriend, Beau Regan, who's on a last-minute business trip to Sedona, Arizona, Bailey Weggins leaps at the chance to spend a weekend away from Manhattan with her friend and co-worker, Jessie. An old-fashioned house party in the country where she'll be surrounded by movers and shakers sounds like a good time, and will hopefully serve to deter Bailey from obsessing over the state of her relationship.
"This latest installment of the series lives up to the precedent that Kate White has set with her previous Bailey Weggins mysteries and doesn't fail to delight. While I admit to being a Kate White fan since her days as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, I don't feel at all biased to say that these are novels any mystery reader will enjoy immensely."
Unfortunately, Bailey and Jessie arrive at the secluded location just ahead of a major snowstorm and encounter a strangely tense atmosphere filled with people who seem to annoy each other more than they entertain. Their host, record producer Scott Cohen, has assembled an eclectic group that includes supermodel Devon Barr; Devon's surly assistant, Jane; another model and friend of Devon's, Tory Hartwick; Devon's manager and his wife, Cap and Whitney Darby; Devon's modeling gig booker, Christian Hayes; rock star Tommy Quinn; and journalist Richard Parkin. While a cast of such high-achievers should have provided an interesting weekend full of stimulating conversation, the underlying tension among the other guests creates a weekend that's anything but comfortable for Bailey and Jessie.
The main purpose of the weekend --- to present an opportunity for Devon to perform one of the songs from her upcoming album --- takes a backseat to the strange relationships among the players in this odd game of one-upmanship. In spite of the mind games, however, Devon pulls off her debut without a hitch and reveals a vocal talent that's likely to catapult her to even greater fame.
Unfortunately, the night of her show-stopping performance, Devon dies suddenly, alone in her bed. While her death appears to be the result of a reoccurrence of complications from an eating disorder, Bailey is not convinced that foul play wasn't involved. Several people at the party had good reason to dislike the petulant supermodel, and everyone is behaving suspiciously.
As Bailey delves into the circumstances surrounding Devon's death, tries to maintain her relationship with Beau and struggles to keep up with a demanding work schedule, events spin out of control. Before long, a situation arises that calls Bailey's professional ethics into question, and she finds herself fighting to keep her job --- as well as her life --- intact.
SO PRETTY IT HURTS reveals the cattiness and backbiting that often invades the lives of those who reach the pinnacle of success. Instead of reveling in their accomplishments, the individuals suspected of murder seem to have nothing better to do than to tear each other down. Rather than allowing herself to be dragged into the dirt with them, Bailey takes the high road and investigates Devon's fate when no one else seems inclined to look beyond appearances.
This latest installment of the series lives up to the precedent that Kate White has set with her previous Bailey Weggins mysteries and doesn't fail to delight. While I admit to being a Kate White fan since she became the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, I don't feel at all biased to say that these are novels any mystery reader will enjoy immensely.
Reviewed by Amie Taylor on March 22, 2012