Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kiss Me, Kill Me

Imagine the first guy you ever kissed dropped dead at your feet two minutes later. That's the fate that befalls sixteen-year-old Scarlette Wakefield in Kiss Me, Kill Me.

Scarlette has always been an outsider at her posh British girls' school. She spends her days practicing gymnastics and hanging out with a few gym friends, while living with a strict chaperone (Scarlette's parents are dead) who allows her little freedom. The ruling clique, led by beautiful. wicked, and uber-rich Plum Saybourne, has always snubbed Scarlette, so she's shocked when one of the golden girls invites her to a private party. She's even more shocked when the gorgeous object of her affection, Dan McAndrew, shows interest in her and gives her her first kiss on the secluded garden patio. The kissing goes great. . . until Dan suddenly stops breathing and moments later dies.

Scarlette is branded as the "Kiss of Death" girl. Though the inquest clears her of murder, no one can understand what killed Dan. All anyone can assume is that Scarletter's kiss did him in. Guilt-ridden and socially ruined, Scarlette is forced to transfer schools. And it is there that she receives an anonymous note that reads only, "It wasn't your fault."

Determined to solve the mystery of Dan's death, Scarlette begins to investigate and learns much more than she anticipated about the golden clique and Plum Saybourne. Her gymnastic skills come in handy while spying. She forms a tenuous friendship with another outcast, and slowly the two begin to unravel the clues to Dan's demise.

I quite liked this book, especially its British setting. Now I am using words like "knackered" instead of "tired" and "lift" instead of "elevator." But I have always been an Anglophile. I love Scarlette's character and read the book quickly. Much to my chagrin, the mystery is not entirely solved at story's end--why is it I seem to be picking up books that are first in a series these days?--but there was enough of a conclusion to make for a good ending. I'm looking forward to the next installment and in the meantime recommending this as a good mystery read.

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