Party Girls Die in Pearls – Plum Sykes

34341508It’s 1985 at Christchurch College, Oxford University, when ultra popular Yah-girl India is discovered dead, throat slit, in one of the professor’s rooms. Fresher Ursula lands the opportunity to write about the murder in the university newspaper, and sets out to solve the mystery behind India’s death. With help from fellow fresher, Nancy, and a vast array of eccentric side characters, Ursula digs her way to the bottom of the mystery.

The story is fun. It’s a very detailed murder mystery, but the writing style is quite clunky. It was also a bit too frivolous and frothy for me; I prefer my mysteries to have more grit. Although, there was some quite grizzly detail included about the murder and autopsy. The gruesome aspects being so completely surrounded by froth and glitter was quite confusing. Really, my main negative thought is that the book is too long. For me, it went on a bit and would have been more enjoyable if it was shorter. As it was, I struggled through to the end.

What I did like was the array of amusing characters. There are so many rich, posh and snobby characters, but they were all somehow different and likeable in their own ways. It felt a little like the book was written from the point of view of someone who has never been to public school or Oxford university (I actually don’t know if the author has or not, it’s just the vibe I get), so there are a lot of stereotypical posh characters who are obsessed with glamour and status. Which I found quite narrow-minded but enjoyable all the same.

The mystery aspect was excellent. I did guess (correctly) whodunit pretty early on but not how or why. This didn’t detract at all from the story; it was fun to work out the motives and methods alongside Ursula as the story progressed (and it was nice to find I was right all along).

Final note: although I liked the characters, it frustrated me immensely that no one was able to focus on the fact that their friend had been murdered. A girl turns up dead, and they’re all still obsessed with parties and clothes and dating. Your friend is DEAD and you can only manage to care for 5 minutes at a time.. uh HELLOOOO! What the hell?! But aside from that, good book.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

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