Pampered to Death: A Jaine Austen Mystery

Laura Levine, Author
Laura Levine. Kensington, $22 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7582-3847-4
Reviewed on: 06/06/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Levine's delightful 10th Jaine Austen mystery (after 2010's Death of a Trophy Wife) takes the freelance copywriter and her petulant cat, Prozac, to the Haven, "a swellegant spa for the rich and pampered" up the coast from L.A., which turns out to offer a strict 900 calories a day diet. Things don't get any brighter on the arrival of B-movie actress Mallory Francis and her catty entourage, who make life difficult for the spa owner, an old friend of Mallory's. The actress constantly lashes out at her assistant/sister, Kendra, and flirts shamelessly with married staff members. No one is sorry when Mallory is strangled with a piece of kelp. Jaine, the unabashed author of You and Your Septic Tank, jumps at the chance to tap into her amateur PI skills, but asking too many questions puts her life in jeopardy. Chapters of e-mail correspondence add little, but Jaine's wit shines throughout. (Aug.)
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