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Deadly Beautiful    by Sam Baker order for
Deadly Beautiful
by Sam Baker
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sam Baker's Deadly Beautiful takes readers into the world of international haute couture alongside engaging ex-newspaper reporter Annie Anderson, now a fashion writer for Handbag Magazine and enjoying a long distance relationship with Chris Mahoney. Baker's background - as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan in the UK - gives her the inside track on the fashion industry that forms the backdrop to her mystery series.

Annie's involvement begins with her best friend Lou, who has long kept secret that her highly dysfunctional family includes uber-rich and powerful industrialist Rufus Ulrich for a father, and the half-sister who has had all his attention, child star and supermodel Scarlett Ulrich. The verbally abusive Rufus calls Lou to demand whether or not she's heard from Scarlett - which is when Lou learns her sister has gone missing in Tokyo.

In between covering fashion shows - she can't deny 'a macabre fascination with fashion's excesses' - for Handbag and avoiding dealing with misunderstandings that build a wall between herself and Chris, Annie investigates Scarlett's disappearance. She learns that Lou's sister might be the latest victim of the serial killer the press are calling the Roppongi Ripper and whose 'victims are all Western, all female, all blond, and all around the same age.'

The trail eventually leads Annie to Tokyo, where a friend of Scarlett's and a local journalist provide more clues, Annie is endangered, the Roppongi Ripper is caught, and readers learn along with the fashion writer what really ended Scarlett's declining career. Deadly Beautiful is an intriguing mystery that will appeal to anyone with an interest in the world of fashion.

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