O's Top 20 Books to Read This Summer
The must-reads that'll take you straight through to Labor Day.
9 of 20
Party Girls Die in Pearls
As fizzy and moreish (Britspeak for "delectable") as a glass of pink champagne, this murder mystery by a fashionista turned fiction writer uncorks a detective series set at England's august Oxford College. The year is 1985, when American pop culture—Dynasty, shoulder pads, Madonna—is as inescapable as London fog, and two freshers land on campus and become BFFs. One is a tweedy country girl named Ursula Flowerbutton; the other a brash, fashion-forward Yank named Nancy Feingold. Together they hunt the killer of their überposh classmate Lady India Brattenbury. But this novel is more than a chick-lit whodunit. In the telling, Sykes, an Oxford alum herself, lays bare the institution's arcane norms and reconstructs the scene of a crime against humanity: the over-the-top decadence of the Material Girl era.