‘So Pretty It Hurts’: the return of Bailey Weggins

Could it be five years since the last Bailey Weggins novel by Kate White?

Time flies, whether or not you’re having fun.

The Cosmopolitan editor created the character a decade ago and put her at the center of five very tasty mysteries set in the Manhattan media world. After winning lots of fans with a book a year, White decided to recharge her batteries and wrote two excellent stand-alone novels, “Hush” and “The Sixes.”

Well, I’m happy to report that today Harper is publishing the sixth Bailey book, “So Pretty It Hurts” and it was worth the wait.

Bailey started out at the fashion magazine Gloss, then moved on to the gossipy tabloid Buzz where her specialty is celebrity crime features.

The plotting in each of the books is expert but what gives them an extra punch is the insider’s view of the magazine world that we get from one of the most successful editors in Manhattan.

The turbulence in magazines over the past decade has been reflected in Bailey’s often tenuous employment. She’s an endearingly sassy character with great survival skills in the work world, but not so great instincts in her private life — Bailey is in a glamour profession, but that is not always the best place to find someone to share your life.

“So Pretty It Hurts” picks up a few months after the end of “Lethally Blond.” Bailey is sort of happy with her new boyfriend Beau — she does wonder what he gets up to on his business trips abroad — when she agrees to go with her work friend Jessie on a weekend getaway to the country home of a music mogul her pal is dating.

The weekend guests include supermodel Devon Barr and her entourage of a very harried personal assistant, and her managers. An old rocker boyfriend — who is now dating one of Devon’s model friends — also attends.

Devon is a Kate Moss-type who has been through drug problems and anorexia. Her modeling career is winding down, but the mogul believes she will have a lucrative second career as a singer.

Add a snowstorm and a murder and White has the makings of a terrific 21st century update of the classic Agatha Christie-style puzzle mystery with lots of possible suspects. White masterfully juggles the murder mystery with Bailey’s personal crises — the meltdown of her new relationship and ethics charges against the writer at work that could cost our heroine her job.

Fans of the previous Bailey Weggins will eat this up with a spoon and newcomers will be introduced to one of the most sheerly entertaining series in modern crime fiction.

Joe Meyers