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Fatal Fashion: 8 Stylish Mystery and Thriller Books

It really is a cut-throat industry...


The fashion world can be incredibly high stakes. “In fashion, one day you're in and the next you're out,” said Heidi Blum on the reality TV fashion competition Project Runway. Strong passions and a winner-take-all environment can be an explosive combination, perfect for murder. We’ve brought together eight mystery and thriller books where fashion is at the core.

fashion victim amina akhtar


By Amina Akhtar

Sarah Taft seems to have it all. Enviable position at a fashion magazine, the perfect looks and wealth to boot. Everything that her coworker Anya St. Clair wants. She wants nothing more than to be Taft’s bestie. But when a promotion comes up on the horizon, St. Clair realizes that Taft is now her competition. So what’s a girl to do? Leave a trail of bodies, naturally.

Quirky Cozy Mysteries Cloche and Dagger

Cloche and Dagger

By Jenn McKinlay

Losing your temper and social media are a bad combination Scarlett Parker learns. After an incident goes viral, Parker’s cousin Vivian Tremont invites her to London, England to help at Mim’s Whims, their late grandmother’s hat shop that she left to both women. Parker gets the heck out of dodge, swearing off men and drama.

 But when she arrives in the UK, Tremont is nowhere to be found. And when one of Mim’s Whims customers is found dead, the police throw their hat of suspicion on Parker’s cousin. Can Tremont figure out what is going on with her cousin and avoid romantic entanglements? Fatal Fascinator, book seven, just came out earlier this year.

suede to rest by diane vallere

Suede to Rest

By Diane Vallere

In the first of four books in the Material Witness series, Polyester “Poly” Monroe loved her family’s fabric store named Land of a Thousand Fabrics, but everything changes when her aunt is murdered and a fire ravages the property. Ten years later, her uncle bequeathed it to her and she unexpectedly finds that the store isn’t a lost cause as she had thought. 

But someone would rather that the store remain buried forever. When she finds a body behind the store, Monroe has to figure out who killed him and whether it's connected to the tragedy that took her aunt and the store from them.

the red box by rex stout

The Red Box

By Rex Stout

This one is the oldest book on the list but definitely worth a read. When a young model named Molly Lauck dies from a poisoned chocolate from a mysterious red box, Llewellyn Frost visits the famous reclusive Nero Wolfe to ask him to go to the fashion boutique where Lauck was killed to find the murderer. Frost is worried about his “ortho-cousin” Helen who also works there. 

Normally Wolfe never leaves his NY brownstone but when members of the Metropolitan Orchid Show entreat him, he acquiesces. But part of the question was Lauck the intended victim? Will Wolfe and his right-hand man, Archie Goodwin, figure out who was supposed to be poisoned and why?

if you've got it haunt it by rose pressey

If You've Got It, Haunt It

By Rose Pressey

You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale but Cookie Chanel had not expected to meet the recently deceased there. Charlotte Meadows, a socialite now ghost, asks Chanel to help figure out who killed her. But Chanel is trying to open up her vintage clothing shop called, It’s Vintage, Y’all in a small town in Georgia. Can she open her store and figure out who wanted Meadows to have to wear one outfit for eternity?

someone had to do it by amber and danielle brown

Someone Had to Do It

By Amber Brown and Danielle Brown

They say don’t meet your idols or get your dream job. That’s definitely true for Brandi Maxwell. She’s got stars in her eyes interning at the fashion house Simon Van Doren, even if she’s not loving the menial environment.

 But there’s model Taylor Van Doren who dazzles and sparkles. Little does Maxwell know that Taylor Van Doren has a serious problem. Her father is on the verge of marrying someone near Van Doren’s age. Plus he’s threatening to take away her fortune. Soon Maxwell finds herself mixed up in this dispute between daughter and father. Can she get herself unentangled or will she be stuck in the model’s web?

killer har by ellen byerrum

Killer Hair

By Ellen Byerrum

 A bad haircut grows back, right? Not if you are murdered. Fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian learns that a popular hair stylist is found dead but the police want to sweep them under the rug, like the hair they used to cut. But Smithsonian starts investigating and find that there may be a whole epidemic of “suicides” across the DC area. Along with Smithsonian’s own stylist, she tries to get to the roots of the problem but can she do it without being cut first? This is the first book in the 11-book Crime of Fashion series.

i'll keep you safe by peter may

I'll Keep You Safe

By Peter May

Married couple Niamh and Ruairidh have become famous for their soft tweed in their company Ranish Tweed which they make in the Isle of Lewis and Harris in Scotland. But with fame can come heartbreak, Niamh thinks her husband is cheating on her with a fashion designer. 

On a business trip to Paris, Niamh confronts her husband who later runs off with his alleged affair partner and explodes in a car. Now Niamh finds herself in the spotlight by the Parisian police. Plus continuing the business is proving to be more challenging than expected. Weaving in Niamh and the police detective pursuing her, you’ll be on pins and needles for the explosive ending.