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'A Body To Die For'

CAROUSEL -- In this Aug. 2, 2009 photo, giraffes from Africa's most endangered giraffe subspecies feed at sunrise, in the bush near Koure, Niger. By all accounts, they should be extinct. Instead, their numbers have quadrupled to 200 since 1996, an unlikely boon experts credit to the concurrence of an impoverished government keen for revenue that has enacted laws to protected them, a conservation program that encourages people to support them, and a rare harmony with humans who have accepted their presence. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Last year, Cosmopolitan magazine's editor-in-chief Kate White fulfilled her life-long dream and wrote her first novel, "If Looks Could Kill." The murder-mystery became a best-seller, much to her surprise.

White returns this summer with "A Body To Die For," and we find her heroine Bailey Weggins trying to solve another murder without ending up dead herself.

White says she was relaxing at a day-spa, when she came up with the idea to have the heroine solve her next crime. She visits The Early Show on Tuesday to talk about it.

Not long after Bailey arrives at her friend's spa she stumbles upon the body of a massage therapist wrapped head to toe in Mylar paper, (the foil paper often used for mud body treatments), strangled to death.

Wanting to help her friend and her friend's business avoid negative publicity, Bailey sets out to solve the crime and soon finds her own life in danger. White says she believes this book is scarier because it has two murders.

Bailey could pass as an older version of Nancy Drew, but she actually has some of White in her. White says, "I think she also is a reflection of the person I would love to be in another lifetime. I've always had an interest in stories beyond the surface. She's always going after that."

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
When I think back on everything terrible that happened that autumn—the murders, the grim discovery I made, the danger I found myself in—I realize I probably could have avoided all of it if my love life hadn't been so sucky. Or let me rephrase that. Nonexistent. Late in the summer, I'd been kicked to the curb by a guy I was fairly gaga over, and though my heart no longer felt as raw as a rug burn, my misery had morphed into a sour, man-repellent mood. It was as if I had a sign over my head that said, "Step any closer and I'm gonna bitch-slap you."

So when I was invited to spend an early fall weekend free of charge at the Cedar Inn and Spa in Warren, Massachusetts, I grabbed the chance. Trust me, I wasn't expecting to meet anyone there—except maybe a few rich women in pastel sweat suits and fanny packs who thought having their bodies slathered in shea butter would miraculously vaporize their cellulite. I should also admit that I've generally found spa stuff pretty goofy. I once had a complimentary prune-and-pumpkin facial, and when it was over I kept thinking that I should be stationed on a sideboard between a roast turkey and cornbread stuffing.

But I do go nuts for a good massage, and I was hoping that a few of those and a change of scenery would improve my mood as well as jump-start my heart.

Unfortunately, soon after I arrived at the inn, all hell broke loose.

I pulled into Warren just before seven on Friday night. A reasonable arrival time, but three damn hours later than I'd originally planned. A combination of things had thrown my schedule into a tizzy. I'm a freelance journalist, specializing in human-interest and crime stories, and an interview that I was scheduled to do with a psychologist for an article on mass hysteria got pushed from morning to midafternoon. I would have liked to just blow it off entirely. But the piece was due at the end of the following week, and I was feeling under the gun. I didn't hit the road until three-thirty, guaranteeing that I'd have a good chance of getting caught in a rush-hour mess somewhere between Manhattan and Massachusetts—and I did. In addition, I was undone by a smoldering car fire on the southbound side of the New York State Thruway, which caused people on my side to practically crawl by on their haunches so they could get a better look. You would have thought the front half of the Titanic had been dredged and deposited along the side of the road.

If I'd arrived on schedule, I would have been welcomed by the owner of the inn, Danielle (aka Danny) Hubner. She was the one treating me to an all-expenses-paid weekend. An old college friend of my mother's, Danny had been pleading for me to visit the inn since she'd opened it three or four years ago. But I'd always been too crazed with work—or too caught up in the stages of grief that followed the demise two years ago of my flash fire of a marriage: heartache, healing, and manic horniness. This fall, because of my snarky mood, I'd finally said yes.

It would be great, I figured, to not only be pampered 24/7, but also to spend a nice chunk of time with Danny. She was really my friend, too, and she had a slightly offbeat personality that I found absolutely refreshing. I got the sense my visit would also prove beneficial to her. My mother had called right before she flew to Athens for a Mediterranean cruise to say that Danny had seemed in a bit of a slump lately, but she didn't know why. My mother was worried she might be having troubles with her second husband, George, whom I'd yet to meet—and whom my mother didn't seem wild about.

Since I arrived so late, I'd missed Danny. According to the desk clerk, she'd driven into town on business she could no longer put off, but she'd left word that she would check in with me later. I was given a brief tour before being shown to my room.

The inn, a rambling, clapboard building probably erected in the mid-1800s, was really quite smashing, even more so than in the pictures I'd seen. Instead of dripping with the cutesy country charm that you so often find at a restored inn, the decor was elegant, pared down—lots of beige and cream tones and brown-and-white-check fabric. And there wasn't a whirligig, weather vane, or wooden swan in sight.

Since I was late, I figured I'd blown any chance of getting a treatment that night, but my guide explained that Danny had arranged for me to be squeezed in for a massage at eight—before a late dinner. The inn's spa, which also operated as a day spa for the area, stayed open until ten...