Society / The Seen

Oil Heiress Author’s Houston Visit Brings a Devilish Twist

This Legendary Oilman’s Granddaughter Has Plenty of Stories to Tell

BY // 12.12.18
photography Anthony Dinh

Former Houstonian Alison Baumann came home to tout her new mystery novel, Nick Noelle Thicker Than Blood, and her friends and admirers celebrated at a party with a touch of heaven and a devilish twist. Designer Kelly Gale Amen opened up his fabulous new Woodway apartment, with stunning views of the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church cathedral, for the bash following Baumann’s appearance at Murder By The Book, where she was introduced by longtime friend Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg.

Baumann, the granddaughter of legendary oilman and philanthropist Hugh Roy Cullen, now lives in California but visits Houston several times a year. She set her first novel, Under A Cloud Of Rain, in River Oaks with a series of socialite murders. For her second book, the location is New Orleans, featuring the fictional Houston detective Nick Noelle, who also was the star of the first mystery.

Playing off the theme of the new novel, which opens with the murder of an evil archbishop by a crusading cannibal serial killer, Amen’s party featured twin models dressed as altar boys who served guest shots of a special drink combining vodka and pomegranate.

The menu, created by chef Dennis Starks, included an altar of brie and brioche, skewered tomatoes from The Garden of Good and Evil, radicchio hearts with chevre bacon and dates, tangerine yams, “White Trash Genghis Khan” (braised Mongolian beef shank on Fritos), and Angel cookies, Amarena lemon eclairs, raspberry ganache, and chocolate shortbread for dessert.

Helping Baumann celebrate were her sister Carroll Ray and husband, Hugh, Cullen Geiselman, MaryRoss Taylor, Melissa Bondy, Candace Elkins, Joe Agrella, Gracie Cavnar, Deborah and Tom Tatham, Mary and Gerry Averitt, Jennifer and Brian Averitt, Mary Ainslie, Berthica Fitzsimmons, Kathryn McNiel, Cherri Carbonara, Lauren Fisher, Jeff Gremillion, Lori Freese, Diane and Steve Cowen, Dr. Roland Maldonado, Ron Mize, Ruchi Mukherjee, Roz and Alan Pactor, and Kim Renteria.

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