White, Kate 1950-
White, Kate 1950-
Born 1950; second marriage to Brad Holbrook (a television anchor); children: Hunter, Hayley. Education: Union College, B.A.
Child magazine, New York, NY, editor in chief, c. 1987-89; Working Woman magazine, New York, editor in chief, 1989-91; McCall's magazine, New York, editor in chief, 1991-94; Redbook magazine, New York, editor in chief, 1994-98; Cosmopolitan magazine, New York, editor in chief, 1998—.
New York Women in Communications Matrix Award, 2002.
"BAILEY WEGGINS" MYSTERY SERIES
If Looks Could Kill, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
A Body to Die For, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
'Til Death Do Us Part, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Over Her Dead Body, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead—But Gutsy Girls Do: Nine Secrets Every Career Woman Must Know, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want, Harmony Books (New York, NY), 1998.
How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, & (Especially) Sex, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2006, published as You on Top: Smart, Sexy Skills Every Woman Needs to Set the World on Fire, 2007.
Kate White began her journalistic career as an investigative reporter for magazines. She moved to editorial work in order to assure herself a stable career in the sometimes volatile magazine market, and the move proved profitable indeed. After serving as editor in chief of such popular periodicals as Working Woman, Redbook, Child, and McCall's, White became editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine in 1998. The job is one of the plums of the industry and a high-profile position that has allowed White not only to produce one of America's most widely read magazines, but also to observe the worlds of high fashion, movie celebrity, and high-stakes publishing. In short, she has an insider's view of an unusual workplace in a business full of fascinating—and sometimes prickly—people.
White has also enjoyed a second career as an author. Her nonfiction books offer advice to many of the same women who read Cosmopolitan. The first of these, Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead—But Gutsy Girls Do: Nine Secrets Every Career Woman Must Know, provides tips from White herself plus dozens of other successful women. They include wearing expensive, borrowed clothing to meetings and not taking personal setbacks seriously. In 9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want, White suggests that women should bite off more than they can chew, not wait for the right moment, and never rest on their laurels. Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper called the volume "practical and amusing."
In How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, & (Especially) Sex, White explores how women can find the time to do the things they want to do, including pleasing their sexual partners. Cooper wrote that White's advice is "delivered with considerable style and wit—and without much psycho-sex-babble."
White is the author of a series of best-selling crime novels featuring a young, savvy sleuth named Bailey Weggins. A reporter who writes about high-profile murders for magazines, Bailey finds herself in the role of crime solver in such titles as If Looks Could Kill and A Body to Die For. Women's Wear Daily contributor Jacob Bernstein observed that White has "married the frothiness of the chick lit genre to the plotting of a mystery novel," and the formula has worked well. An endorsement from television talk-show host Kelly Ripa turned White's debut novel, If Looks Could Kill, into a best seller, assuring that subsequent Bailey Weggins titles would find a ready, and warmly receptive, audience.
In If Looks Could Kill, Bailey is summoned by Cat Jones, the editor of fictitious Glossy magazine, on a personal matter. Cat's nanny has been murdered—she ate poisoned chocolates that might have been meant to kill Cat. It is up to Bailey to figure out who committed the crime, made more difficult because the caustic Cat left many ruffled feathers in her wake as she rose to the top. The plot is further enlivened by Bailey's perspective as a single, sexy New Yorker not always in search for Mr. Right, but willing to be adventurous with a few Mr. Wrongs. In a Cosmopolitan interview, White said of her series heroine: "Bailey's struggling with the issues that all single girls face. No matter how self-assured you may be and no matter how much of a life you've built for yourself, you still have questions and anxieties." The author added: "What I've really enjoyed about doing this book is that I feel like I'm getting the opportunity to live vicariously through Bailey and her experiences."
If Looks Could Kill sold nearly 200,000 copies in hardback, a stellar performance for a debut novel. Rex E. Klett in Library Journal called the novel "a pleasure" and particularly singled out its "down-to-earth heroine" and "sturdy story line." In a starred review, a Publishers Weekly critic commended If Looks Could Kill for its "smart, sexy heroine and … cleverly constructed murder mystery." Karen Valby noted in Entertainment Weekly that the book, "a mystery set in the snippy world of women's magazines, has one pedicured foot planted firmly in the gutter.… The mystery is surprisingly first-rate."
A trip to the spa inspired the plot for White's second Bailey Weggins book, A Body to Die For. As she described it in a Cosmopolitan interview: "I was lying back in a chair, waiting for a facial, when I looked over at some of the crazy instruments next to me and thought, You could kill somebody with some of those things. At that moment, a light bulb went on in my head." In A Body to Die For, Bailey has sought the refuge of a spa resort in Massachusetts to clear her head after a serious relationship has ended. She discovers the corpse of one of the spa technicians, wrapped in Mylar, and with the help of a seductive local police investigator determines to solve the crime, at no small danger to her own life. Clarissa Cruz in Entertainment Weekly called the novel "as fun and frivolous as a champagne facial." In Publishers Weekly, a critic deemed A Body to Die For a "solid follow-up" to White's debut, adding that readers "will find Bailey's sassy wit as engaging as ever."
Bailey becomes involved in the murders of a number of bridesmaids in 'Til Death Do Us Part. She had been one of the bridesmaids of Peyton Cross, who aspires to living the life of Martha Stewart, and Ashley Hanes begs her to investigate after their fellow bridesmaids are found dead, one of electrocution in her bathtub, and the other, of drug and forbidden food ingestion. They head to Greenwich, Connecticut, where Ashley is also killed, leaving only Bailey and three other surviving bridesmaids. No one, including Peyton, the rest of the wedding party, and the police seem interested in finding the killer. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote: "Another dish of smooth, upscale gossip laced with low-grade mystery-mongering." Cooper commented that White's sleuth remains "as endearing as ever, proving again that, in mysteries, it's not so much what happens as who it happens to that matters."
A Publishers Weekly contributor called Over Her Dead Body "sharper than a stiletto heel, funnier than a bad dye job and full of fuchsia herrings." Bailey is given a pink slip and takes another job reporting on celebrities with Buzz. When Bailey finds her tyrannical boss, editor Mona Hodges, dead, she and coworker Robby Hart, who is newly fired, become suspects. When the acting editor, Nash Nolan, assigns an investigative article on the crime to Bailey, she soon discovers a great many other suspects. Cooper noted that in this story, Bailey breaks up with her boyfriend, "giving the series a jolt of needed energy." A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that "the real question in this weightless mystery isn't Who Done It? but Where Is He?" Bailey's new love interest becomes Beau Regan, a documentary filmmaker who helps her forget her problems.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of 9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want, p. 1396; May 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of A Body to Die For, p. 1555; March 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of 'Til Death Do Us Part, p. 1244; May 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Over Her Dead Body, p. 1540; June 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of How to Set His Thighs on Fire: 86 Red-Hot Lessons on Love, Life, Men, & (Especially) Sex, p. 14.
Cosmopolitan, May, 2002, John Searles, "The Hot New Murder Mystery" (interview), p. 286; June, 2003, "A Body to Die For: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Buzzed-About Book" (interview), p. 275.
Country Living, August, 2005, Kathleen Beckett, "A Welcome Escape" (interview), p. 85.
Entertainment Weekly, August 2, 2002, Karen Valby, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 66; May 23, 2003, Clarissa Cruz, review of A Body to Die For, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 372; May 1, 2003, review of A Body to Die For, p. 648; April 1, 2004, review of 'Til Death Do Us Part, p. 304; May 1, 2005, review of Over Her Dead Body, p. 517.
Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 138; June 15, 2003, Susan Clifford Braun, review of A Body to Die For, p. 106.
New York Times Book Review, May 19, 2002, Marilyn Stasio, review of If Looks Could Kill.
People, May 20, 2002, Samantha Miller, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 47; June 23, 2003, Samantha Miller, review of A Body to Die For, p. 43.
Publishers Weekly, April 3, 1995, review of Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead—But Gutsy Girls Do: Nine Secrets Every Career Woman Must Know, p. 52; April 8, 2002, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 208, Laura Mathews, "PW Talks with Kate White" (interview), p. 208; May 5, 2003, review of A Body to Die For, p. 202; April 5, 2004, review of 'Til Death Do Us Part, p. 44; May 30, 2005, review of Over Her Dead Body, p. 42; May 8, 2006, review of How to Set His Thighs on Fire, p. 61.
Women's Wear Daily, May 24, 2002, Peter Braunstein and Jacob Bernstein, review of If Looks Could Kill, p. 12; May 2, 2003, Jacob Bernstein, "Memo Pad," p. 13.
iVillage: Cosmopolitan: Connect with Cosmo,http://magazines.ivillage.com/ (January 13, 2007), "Cosmo Exclusives: Q&A with Kate White, Author of Over Her Dead Body."