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Party Girls Die in Pearls: Meet the Author and the Characters of this Comic Murder Mystery

Party Girls Die in Pearls (An Oxford Girl Mystery) download 24


If you are looking for a fun and entertaining read that combines mystery, humor, and fashion, you might want to check out Party Girls Die in Pearls, the first book in the Oxford Girl Mystery series by Plum Sykes. This book is set in Oxford University in 1985, where a studious country girl named Ursula Flowerbutton finds herself involved in a murder investigation after discovering a glamorous classmate on a chaise longue with her throat cut. With the help of her American friend Nancy Feingold, a fashion-savvy exchange student, Ursula sets out to solve the case and write her first scoop for the famous student newspaper Cherwell. Along the way, she encounters a whirl of black-tie parties, secret dining societies, and a surfeit of suspects, from broken-hearted boyfriends to snobby Sloane Rangers, lovelorn librarians to dishy dons.

Party Girls Die in Pearls (An Oxford Girl Mystery) download 24

In this article, I will tell you more about this book, its author, its characters, its style, and why you should read it. I will also provide you with some FAQs and a link to download the book for free.

Main body

The setting: Oxford University in 1985

The book is set in one of the most prestigious and oldest universities in the world: Oxford University. The author, Plum Sykes, is an Oxford alumna herself, so she knows the ins and outs of the academic and social life there. She paints a vivid picture of the university in 1985, a time when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, Madonna was topping the charts, and Princess Diana was the style icon.

The culture: Pimm's, punting, and ball gowns

Oxford University has a rich and distinctive culture that is steeped in tradition and history. Some of the elements that Sykes highlights in her book are:

  • Pimm's: A refreshing alcoholic drink made with lemonade, fruit, mint, and cucumber. It is often served at garden parties and picnics.

  • Punting: A leisure activity that involves propelling a flat-bottomed boat along a river using a long pole. It is popular among students and tourists.

  • Ball gowns: Formal dresses that are worn at balls, which are lavish social events that usually take place at the end of term. They often feature live music, dancing, champagne, and fireworks.

The mystery: A glamorous classmate murdered

The book begins with a shocking scene: Ursula Flowerbutton, a first-year history student, arrives at her dormitory to find her roommate, India Brattenbury, lying on a chaise longue with her throat slit. India was a beautiful and wealthy girl who belonged to the elite group of students known as the Bollinger Club, or the Bollys. She was also dating the most handsome and popular boy in Oxford, Lord Wenty.

Ursula is stunned and horrified by the sight, but she also sees an opportunity to write her first article for the Cherwell, the student newspaper that she dreams of working for. She decides to investigate the murder and find out who killed India and why.

The suspects: From boyfriends to dons

As Ursula delves deeper into the case, she realizes that there are many people who had a motive to kill India. Some of the suspects are:

  • Lord Wenty: India's boyfriend, who was seen arguing with her the night before the murder. He is also rumored to have a secret affair with another girl.

  • Lady Natasha: India's best friend and fellow Bolly, who was jealous of India's beauty and popularity. She is also in love with Lord Wenty and wants him for herself.

  • Professor Scrivener: India's tutor, who was obsessed with her and gave her high marks despite her poor academic performance. He is also a member of a mysterious society called the Order of the White Feather.

  • Miss Fotheringay: The librarian, who hated India for being noisy and disrespectful in the library. She is also a former lover of Professor Scrivener and wants to expose his secrets.

The characters: Ursula Flowerbutton and Nancy Feingold

The book is narrated by Ursula Flowerbutton, the protagonist and amateur detective. She is joined by her sidekick and best friend, Nancy Feingold, who helps her with the investigation and provides comic relief.

Ursula: A studious country girl and aspiring journalist

Ursula is a smart and curious girl who comes from a modest background in the countryside. She has always dreamed of studying at Oxford and becoming a journalist. She is fascinated by history and loves reading books and magazines. She is also naive and innocent, often unaware of the social norms and expectations of Oxford. She is determined to solve the murder mystery and write her first scoop for the Cherwell, even if it means putting herself in danger.

Nancy: A trend-setting American exchange student and fashionista

Nancy is a fun-loving and adventurous girl who comes from a wealthy family in New York. She is studying fashion at Oxford as part of an exchange program. She is obsessed with clothes and accessories, and always knows the latest trends and styles. She is also confident and outgoing, often making friends with anyone she meets. She is loyal to Ursula and supports her in her quest to solve the murder mystery and become a journalist.

Their friendship: A dynamic duo of sleuths

Ursula and Nancy meet on their first day at Oxford and become instant friends. They are opposites in many ways, but they complement each other perfectly. Ursula provides Nancy with intelligence and insight, while Nancy provides Ursula with glamour and excitement. Together, they form a dynamic duo of sleuths who use their skills and resources to crack the case. They also have a lot of fun along the way, attending parties, meeting boys, and having adventures.

The style: A comic murder mystery with a touch of satire

The book is written in a light-hearted and humorous tone that makes it easy and enjoyable to read. It is full of witty dialogue, hilarious situations, and amusing descriptions. It also has a touch of satire that pokes fun at the 1980s and the British upper class.

The humor: Witty dialogue and hilarious situations

The book is filled with funny moments that make you laugh out loud. Some examples are:

  • When Ursula tries to interview Lord Wenty about the murder, but he mistakes her for a groupie and tries to seduce her.

  • When Nancy disguises herself as a maid to sneak into India's room, but ends up cleaning the whole dormitory.

  • When Ursula and Nancy attend a ball dressed as Marie Antoinette and Madonna, but end up being chased by a mob of angry students.

The satire: A spoof of the 1980s and the British upper class

The references: From Agatha Christie to Nancy Drew

The book is also full of references to other famous works of mystery and fiction, especially those from the 1980s and earlier. Some examples are:

  • When Ursula and Nancy find a clue in a book of poetry by Lord Byron, they call themselves the "Byronic Babes".

  • When Ursula and Nancy visit a secret society called the Order of the White Feather, they compare it to the cult in The Da Vinci Code.

  • When Ursula and Nancy discover that India was killed by a poisoned pearl necklace, they call it a "Murder on the Orient Express" style murder.

  • When Ursula and Nancy dress up as Marie Antoinette and Madonna for a ball, they call themselves the "Material Girls".


Summary of the main points

In conclusion, Party Girls Die in Pearls is a comic murder mystery set in Oxford University in 1985. It follows the adventures of Ursula Flowerbutton and Nancy Feingold, two friends who try to solve the murder of their glamorous classmate India Brattenbury. The book is full of humor, satire, and references to other works of fiction. It is a fun and entertaining read that will keep you guessing until the end.

Recommendation and rating

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery, humor, and fashion. It is a perfect book for a cozy afternoon or a rainy day. It is also a great book for fans of Plum Sykes, who is known for her witty and stylish novels such as Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcee. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the book:

  • Is this book part of a series?

Yes, this book is the first in the Oxford Girl Mystery series by Plum Sykes. The second book, The Curse of the Poodle Fleece, was published in 2018.

  • Where can I download this book for free?

You can download this book for free from this link:

  • Who is Plum Sykes?

Plum Sykes is a British-born fashion writer, novelist, and socialite. She is a contributing editor at Vogue magazine and has written several bestselling novels. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.

  • What are some other books like this one?

If you like this book, you might also like:

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt: A dark and suspenseful novel about a group of classics students who commit a murder at an elite college.

  • Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding: A hilarious and romantic diary of a single woman in London who struggles with love, work, and weight.

  • The Clique by Lisi Harrison: A popular and addictive series about a group of rich and fashionable girls who rule their exclusive private school.

  • What are some other ways to enjoy this book?

You can also listen to the audiobook version of this book, which is narrated by the author herself. You can also watch the movie adaptation of this book, which is currently in development by Sony Pictures.


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