Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Say Yes to the Death (A Debutante Dropout Mystery)

Author:  Susan McBride
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback, E-book
ISBN #:  9780062358608
Witness Publishing
$7.99; $5.99 Kindle
September 29, 2015
Five Stars

Someone old, someone cruel

Debutante dropout Andrea Kendricks is beyond done with big hair, big gowns, and big egos - so being dragged to a high-society Texas wedding by her socialite mama, Cissy, gives her a bad case of deja vu.  As does running into her old prep-school bully, Olivia La Belle, the wedding planner, who's graduated to berating people for a living on her reality TV show.  But for all the times Andy wished her dead, nobody deserves Olivia's fate:  lying in a pool of blood, a cake knife in her throat - but did the angry baker do it?

Millicent Draper, the grandmotherly owner of Millie's Cakes, swears she's innocent, and Andy believes her.  Unfortunately, the cops don't.  Though Andy's fiance, lawyer Brian Malone, is handling Millie's case, she's determined to spring Millie herself.  But where to start?  "La Belle from Hell" had enemies galore.  Good thing Andy has a BFF who's a reporter - and a blue-blood mother who likes to pull strings.


Andy Kendricks is attending a wedding with her mother, mainly because Stephen, her mother's fiance, is out of town and she's the "plus one".   Unfortunately, she doesn't have a gown to wear, and her mother brought one that is just a tad too tight.  When Andy needs to use the restroom and is searching, she hears a conversation between the wedding planner and Millie Draper, the cake baker, and Olivia is berating Millie.  Fond of the woman, Andy intervenes and discovers Olivia is her hated nemesis from prep school.  After her confrontation with Olivia, she resumes her search for a bathroom, and comes across the bride, who is having difficulty 'getting upright' and helps out which results in Andy's having a 'wardrobe malfunction'.  To the rescue is Olivia La Belle, who tells her that she has a dress for her to wear - it seems one of the bridesmaids didn't show up and she needs Andy to step in.  Andy, with no choice in the matter, dons the dress and joins the wedding.

The next morning, she goes to Olivia's office to return the dress and finds a gruesome sight - Millie bending over the body of Olivia, a cake knife in her hand and blood on her clothes.  Although Millie insists she found Olivia dying, Andy convinces her to stay and wait for the police.

But when all evidence points to Millie as the murderer, Andy is positive she's innocent, enlists her fiance Brian to defend Millie, and then vows to do whatever she can to find the real killer and free Millie.

I found this book, as with all of Ms. McBride's works, to be written very well with a very good plot.  We follow Andy and her thought processes (although I don't agree with her mindset at times) as she probes the killing even though she's told to stay out of it by Brian, the police and her mother.  When Andy won't be convinced, her mother insists on helping, figuring she can at least try and keep her daughter out of harm's way.

When Andy digs deeper into Olivia's death, she finds a web of lies that seems to grow bigger every day, and engulfs people she never would have thought were involved in her wildest dreams.  But when she decides, against her better judgment, to help Olivia's assistant Terra, it becomes the key to the entire case.

There were a few things that didn't make sense, even though I didn't allow it to detract from my enjoyment of the story, which I won't detail here because I don't want it to detract from others' enjoyment, either (if you're truly interested and don't mind spoilers, you can email and I will tell you what they are).  

In the end, Andy discovers that not just knowing what you know, but who you know could just kill you.  Highly recommended.


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