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Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery
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Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,811 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews
It’s 1985, and at Oxford University, Pimm’s, punting, and ball gowns are de rigeur. Ursula Flowerbutton, a studious country girl, arrives for her first term anticipating nothing more sinister than days spent poring over history books in gilded libraries—and, if she’s lucky, an invitation to a ball.

But when she discovers a glamorous classmate on a chaise longue with her thr
Hardcover, 331 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Harper
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Bethany Clark
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great story! I LOVED it! I've never read anything like it and I can't wait till the next in the series comes out.
It's set in the 80's (who didn't love something about the eighties?) It begins with Ursula Flowerbutton (quite the name, right?) moving to the big city to study at Oxford.
Boy did she get more than she bargained for in her first semester?
She's hit on by several boys, invited to several parties (with only 1 formal dress in her closet), found a dead body and I haven't even mentio
Rebekah Franklin
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
two stars.
This book was just ok. The English college theme has been done, and even for a cozy mystery didn't quite work. I thought the authors of the "Royal We" created a better story, and this could have been a better collab into their storyline. Party Girls die in Pearls had interesting pop culture and fashion descriptions located throughout, but overall, the storyline was disappointing. The depictions of the students’ day to day interactions did not seem believable or overly interesting.
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I liked that the story took place at Oxford but it was just okay and I can't recommend it highly.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I reeeeallly liked this book - footnotes and all! What’s not to like about the retro college life setting & the cozy-like vibe of this ‘Oxford Girl Mystery” novel?
I’m forever longing for times that I haven’t lived through. Being someone that was particularly young in the 80s, I’ve always felt as if I’d missed out on the tacky glitz of how I’ve romanticized this time to be - the goth costume parties, the Lycra, the hair teasing - all the things MTV portrayed the world to be. I really feel th
I’ve been lightly entertained before by Plum Sykes, and was hopeful that this novel might do the same. Unfortunately, much of the British ‘80s slang went over my head and the era that I recalled was far removed from the one portrayed here. Oxford University campus, ritzy debutantes, trust fund children in fatuous cliques, beyond bizarre clothing and a flippant regard for post secondary education frames a wandering murder mystery, which heads to English hills and dales, tutorials, shooting weeken ...more
Recommendation via @jo_rodgers - 5/21/2017

This was such a fun, and breezy mystery. Really enjoyed the characters, setting and all the details put into this novel. I did figure out who the murderer was quite soon. But, overall a great read for in between other books. It reminds be quite a bit of P. G. Wodehouse and Nancy Mitford; absurd, yet entertaining in both wit and humor. I do hope there will be more adventures featuring the dynamic protagonist from the series.
Cindy Burnett
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My family recently went on our summer vacation where I was thrilled to make a small dent in my ever growing TBR by reading nine books, all of which were fun reads (exciting in and of itself because I tend to be a picky reader). The two clear standouts were Party Girls Die in Pearls and Eden by Jeanne Blasberg, two very different but equally fabulous reads. In Party Girl Dies in Pearls, Plum Sykes crafts a clever tale filled with memorable and mostly likeable characters set at Oxford University i ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Party Girls Die in Pearls may be a mystery, but it's also a fun, frothy read set in 1980s Oxford. Ursula Flowerbottom is our student/amateur detective who is determined to follow the story of the murder of a popular fellow student- not only did she find the body, but she's got to write the article for the school paper, naturally. If you're a fan of British mysteries and a fan of 80s culture, Party Girls Die in Pearls is the perfect combination. The world Ursula finds herself in at Oxford is deli ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A really lovely, well-paced, perfectly-set mystery novel. The characters all felt real (even though they were charmingly ridiculous), the setting was well-researched and felt very vivid. The sign of a good mystery is when all the clues to solve it are available and, even though there's an end-of-the-book twist, you once it was solved, it wasn't with a clue that no one could see coming. It was a good introduction to the characters, and the footnotes– a tool used mostly by pretentious writers like ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a fun mystery!
Mar 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: physical-owned
When you're hoping the protagonist and her best friend are going to be the next ones killed, you know it's time to give up on the mystery you're reading. And the footnotes... Lord have mercy. This isn't David Foster Wallace. Total miss for me
Elizabeth Mahon
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been eagerly awaiting this book ever since I read the announcement in Publisher's Marketplace and I was not disappointed. Plum Sykes knows how to write a cracking good mystery and the 80's setting is perfection. I spent a great deal of time in England during the 1980's and this book brought back all kinds of memories, from the terrible fashions to the fantastic music. Anyone who owned a copy of the Sloane Ranger Handbook (I still own a copy) will want to read this book. It’s 1985, and at Ox ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is what I would call a fun, cozy mystery. It is set in the 1980's in Oxford, England on the campus of Christminster College. The characters are engaging. The two main characters are sensible English girl Ursula and American fashionista Nancy. They get caught up trying to solve the truth behind a murder that happens on campus. There are hilarious mentions of the 80's fashions and good descriptions of the campus life in Oxford.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-release, adult
Thanks so much to Bloomsbury Australia for my copy of this!

Hilariously entertaining "whodunnit" that kept me company on those long bus trips to and from work.

Plum Sykes has always been a personal favourite of mine. Bergdorf Blondes was 18 year old me discovering chick lit for the first time and Syke's frankness and dry, witty humour was hugely appealing - even today. Finding out that she had a third book was a dream come true, and Party Girls didn't disappoint.

A slightly different tone from Syke
Aritri Chatterjee
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first thing that caught my fancy and made me immediately take interest in this book was the name of the protagonist, Ursula Flowerbutton. The story starts with a newspaper report written by our very own, younger version of Miss Marple and the mysterious murder of a fellow student makes us sit straight. Not to worry, the rest of the book is not half as serious as the first page. Full of hilarious pop culture and dapper house parties, Plum Sykes' first in a series of Oxford Mystery novels, mak ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this to be very difficult to get into and enjoy. Although I liked that it was set at Oxford and had an interesting set of characters the story felt a bit juvenile. It was basically British Gossip Girl meets Nancy Drew. The names were all ridiculous and the characters felt very caricature-like.

The footnotes were overkill and the plot was predictable. It was obvious that the author experienced life at Oxford in the 80s and this book was a way for her to relive that chapter. The description
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This was cute. I really like Plum Sykes, and this book was an enjoyable read, but ... I also didn't care what happened? The whole time, I just kept thinking, "Oxford students just have one meeting a week with a professor? That's it?" The mystery itself was a little convoluted, and I don't think it makes much sense to a kill a character nobody actually likes. But there's good setup for the next in the series. I just wish it didn't have to be a mystery.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun, fluffy crime fiction which made me nostalgic at least from the time period & protagonist situation - 1985, college freshman year. The footnotes make me giggle, as it is hard to believe that the young adult readers most likely to gobble this up have no recollection of the recent history provided in them. Very cute, fun read!
This was a fun little cozy mystery, with interesting characters, tons of tongue-in-cheek humor, and a dash of 80s nostalgia. The plot was just convoluted enough that I didn't guess the outcome but not so complicated that it was hard to follow. I appreciate that Sykes didn't pull out any last minute cheats to fool the reader. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Melinda Elizabeth
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
If Ursula changed her clothes one more time I was going to lose the plot with this book.

I rated it low because of the constant ball gown changes and descriptive paragraphs about 80's fashion, and the fact that I pegged the culprit when first introduced to the character. So between page 20 (ish) and the end of the book it was really filler for me.
Mary Bird
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book! It's fun and kind of ridiculous but in a way that engages you and makes you enthusiastic to keep reading. The characters are strange and funny, and overall I liked the development of the tale. I want to read more by Plum Sykes!
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wish I could know how readers rank this, according to the age of the reviewer. If this had not been required reading, I would not have gotten past page 2. The cultural references were on a scale from tedious to obnoxious. The mystery was all right. The protagonist turned out to be fairly admirable. Oxford University should probably sue for slander.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
3.5? I didn’t hate it but I’d never have kept reading if it wasn’t for book club. I had to just decide to stop being put off by the blasé attitudes about solving a murder (she was more worried about not being able to publish a college newspaper story than the fact that she’d found a dead person). I don’t like being confused by books, and diving into the 1980s Oxford setting left me a little lost, but is that really the author’s fault? She did include footnotes on some things, I could’ve used abo ...more
Nathalie Morén
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fizzy and entertaining, if somewhat predictable.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Murder of a young and privileged student at Oxford. Light reading and could guess the perpetrator from a mile away, but it was amusing.
Nov 14, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
Just a little bit too insidery to make it actually readable.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining, fluffy beach read with a mystery thrown in.
Merryl Todd
2.5 Stars

Very lightweight, borderline Young Adult novel. The characters of Ursula and Nancy could be developed further into a “detective duo” but hopefully not with the painful and vacuous Oxford students that featured throughout the novel. With the exception of Horatio very few of them had any redeeming qualities at all.

Also there was an often excessive use of footnotes to explain the idioms and fashions of the time. Some of these footnotes were quite entertaining and given Nancy’s unfamiliari
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Party Girls Die in Pearls is a fun murder mystery set amongst the parties, scandals, and scrapes of Oxford students in the 1980s. Ursula Flowerbutton is a middle-class girl from the countryside, brought up by her two grannies and looking forward to studying History and eating cucumber sandwiches when she goes to Oxford. However, her desire to get involved with the Cherwell, an Oxford student newspaper, becomes a reality when after an unexpected party invite, she comes across a dead body on her w ...more
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Victoria "Plum" Sykes is a British-born fashion-writer, novelist and New York socialite. "Plum" was a childhood nickname (the Victoria plum being a variety of that fruit).