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A Debutante Dropout Mystery
By Susan McBride

Avon, 2006 ($6.99)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-056408-7
ISBN-10: 0-06-056408-3

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

This is the third book in the Debutante series, and it is just as funny and entertaining as the first, THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO MURDER and second, BLUE BLOOD.

This time, it is Andrea Kendricks' mother Cissy who gets to go deep undercover to find out how and why two of her dearest friends really died soon after they moved to the posh Belle Meade retirement community, while Andy acts as her reluctant sidekick. To outward appearances, Bebe Kent and Sarah Lee Sewell died peacefully in their respective beds of natural causes, but Cissy ain't buying it, and she's determined to make a fuss until somebody listens to her. Belle Meade's owner, Annabelle Meade, is an old camp mate of Andy's, and she talks Andy into riding herd on her mama and finding out if there's any truth to her claims. It is a testament to her love for her old friends that Cissy is willing to give up her couture finery and diamonds for polyester, big hair and cubic zirconias to masquerade as a new resident of the community so she can investigate what she sees as two cold-blooded murders.

Andy uses her computer skills to try and find a link between the two women, and learns they were both members of a very exclusive matchmaker service for the older, richer set. The two ladies were very demanding in many respects, finding so much fault with their accommodations that Annabelle was going nuts. Did they upset a potential mate so much that he did away with them, or was there some other connection Andy can't find? And if it was murder, is the murderer still around, willing to kill again to protect him--or her--or themselves?

McBride once again does a fine job of showing us the world of Dallas high society in all its glory and dysfunction. The relationship between the oh-so-perfect Cissy and her down to earth, anti-deb daughter is complicated, conflicted, and altogether lovely. They may not always understand each other, but by golly they'll stand up for each other come hell or high water, and woe to anyone who tries to cause them harm.

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