Too Rich and Too Dead

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-03-24
  • Publisher: Bantam
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Have suitcase, will sleuth... Mallory Marlowe, travel writer for theGood Lifemagazine, heads to Colorado to answer the question: Can nonskiers have fun in Aspen? It's also a chance to visit a now rich and famous high-school classmate, Carly Cassidy Berman. Cheerleader, homecoming queen, and class president, Carly had it all then and still doesa sprawling mountainside home, an adoring husband, and a multimillion-dollar business centered around her super-exclusive Tavaci Springs spa. But not all is what it seems in Carly's golden life, because within twenty-four hours of Mallory's arrival, Carly's corpse turns up in a mud bath. Against a dazzling backdrop of majestic ski slopes, ritzy boutiques, and slumming celebrities, Mallory suddenly discovers that Aspen's main attraction is a dazzling array of suspectsone of whom is eager to see this accidental sleuth's travels come to an end. As Mallory begins to uncover the secrets hidden amid Aspen's snow, will a desperate killer make this playground for the pampered and privileged Mallory's final destination? Includes Mallory's article for theGood Life,with tips and reviews of real Aspen attractions! From the Paperback edition.

Author Biography

Cynthia Baxter is a native of Long Island, New York. She is the author of the Reigning Cats & Dogs mystery series, featuring vet-turned-sleuth Jessie Popper, and the Murder Packs a Suitcase mystery series, featuring travel writer Mallory Marlowe. Baxter currently resides on the North Shore, where she is at work on her next mysteries in both series.


Chapter One

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine."—Caskie Stinnett

Whoa! Who's that?" Jordan asked, leaning over to pick up the newspaper he'd just knocked off the kitchen table en route to the refrigerator. "She's really hot!"

Mallory Marlowe glanced up from the coffee mug that up until that moment had been the focus of her attention. She assumed that the female who had aroused such a strong reaction in her eighteen-year-old son would turn out to be a member of the Star-of-the-Month club, some actress or singer who was as well known for flaunting her curves as she was for her talent.

So as soon as she saw the face staring back at her from the front page of the New York Times Style section, she gasped.

"Oh, my gosh!" she cried. "I know her!"

" 'Carly Cassidy Berman,' " Jordan read aloud. "She invented some magic potion that makes people young again. Or so she claims."

"Let me see that."

Mallory reached for the newspaper, still wondering if somehow she was mistaken. Yet there was Carly Cassidy, staring right back at her from page one, wearing the same cat-that-ate-the-canary grin she'd worn when she'd been crowned Homecoming Queen. In full color, no less.

"You really know her?" Jordan asked as he retrieved a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator.

"I sure do," Mallory replied. "We went to JFK High together. Everybody knew her. In fact, she was voted Most Likely to Succeed."

"Cool." Jordan plopped down in the seat opposite hers. "She looks amazing—for somebody your age, I mean. Maybe that crazy potion of hers really works."

Mallory had to agree that that was a definite possibility. From the picture, it looked as if wrinkles, not to mention cellulite, had failed to stake a claim during the past two and a half decades. In fact, Carly didn't look much older than she had in high school.

True, her hairstyle had changed. Gone were the long, silky tresses that as a teenager she was forever flipping over her shoulder. While her hair was still just as blond and still just as silky, these days it was cut into a complicated set of layers. It curved around her face in such a flattering way that it looked as if a stylist had meticulously arranged each individual strand.

Her face had also changed since her days of shouting "Who's your worst en-e-my? John F. Kenn-e-dy! Go-o-o, Bulldogs, go!" on the football field every Saturday. But while her girlish prettiness was gone, it had been replaced by a womanly beauty that was at least as striking.

All in all, there was no mistaking that the woman pictured on the front page was indeed Carly Cassidy, apparently now known as Carly Cassidy Berman. After taking a strong sip of her coffee, Mallory began to read.

Enterprising Entrepreneur
Bottles the Waters
of the Fountain of Youth

Can drinking a magic potion twice a day turn back the hands of the clock? Carly Cassidy Berman thinks so. So do the thousands of believers who have been scrambling to snatch Berman's creation, Rejuva-Juice, off the shelves at health food stores all over the country.

They've also been flocking to Berman's chichi spa, Tavaci Springs, its name derived from the Native American Ute tribe's word for "sun." She opened it less than a year ago in tony Aspen, Colorado, well known as an enclave of the financially and physically fit. Local residents and visitors alike not only endure a six-month wait for a reservation; they also pay upwards of fifteen hundred dollars a day for the privilege of staying at this mountain hideaway that combines the rustic elements of a former silver mining town with an array of touchy-feely New Age accoutrements. The hefty price tag enables guests to imbibe unlimited quantities of the pricey pot

Excerpted from Too Rich and Too Dead by Cynthia Baxter
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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