cover image The PMS Murder: A Jaine Austen Mystery

The PMS Murder: A Jaine Austen Mystery

Laura Levine, . . Kensington, $19.95 (245pp) ISBN 978-0-7582-0783-8

In Levine's fifth romp to feature L.A. freelance writer Jaine Austen (after 2005's Shoes to Die For ), Jaine makes the mistake of accepting a new friend's invitation to join her weekly margarita and bitch session group, the PMS Club. At the second meeting Jaine attends, one of the members dies, and since guacamole isn't supposed to contain peanuts, and they all know about Marybeth's allergies, it's murder. Marybeth was, it turns out, having an affair with the husband of the hostess, Rochelle, so there's an obvious suspect. But everyone's under suspicion, and Jaine watches a really good job (writing a monthly newsletter for a mega company with a dreamy contact person) get put on hold. The plot is obfuscated by several intrusions (the e-mail from her parents about catching America's-most-wanted hiding in their planned community, Jaine's weekly writing class for the local senior citizens, her attempts to put her cat, Prozac, on a diet, her own wardrobe malfunctions), but arrives at an unexpected and suitably scary ending. (June)