Jack Albin Anderson. The Society Ball Murders (1990) 180 pp.
San Francisco Journal society columnist Patty Nottingham investigates
the murders of several scions of San Francisco’s social elite. Wealthy
women—with names like Binky, Neenie, and Buffy—are dying under suspicious
circumstances during benefit events. At first the deaths are attributed
to botched cosmetic surgeries—all of the victims had been patients of the
same pair of doctors, who have now vanished from the city. When Patty discovers
a mysterious substance at the bottom of a champagne flute, she is able
to prove that the women are being poisoned. With the help of her lover,
piano player Rex Murphy, she uses her social connections to expose the
killer. This comic novel features several thinly disguised San Francisco
public personalities and institutions.