cover image Murder Among Friends: A Kate Austen Mystery

Murder Among Friends: A Kate Austen Mystery

Jonnie Jacobs. Zebra, $16.95 (321pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-5030-8

The everyday life of a prosperous California suburb takes on livelier aspects when Kate Austen visits a neighbor, wealthy divorcee Mona Sterling, and finds the woman dead, apparently a suicide. The almost-divorced Kate, last seen in Murder Among Neighbors, and her friend Sharon Covington, convinced that Mona-flush with financial victory after a messy divorce-would not have taken her own life, start their own investigation, to the express disapproval of Kate's love interest, Lt. Michael Stone of the Walnut Hills' police. Not only does Kate have to cope with her fledgling art consultancy, her five-year-old daughter, Anna, and her feckless soon-to-be ex-husband, Andy, but she also has temporary custody of Mona's sullen and rebellious teenage daughter, Libby, who fiercely resents her father and his new trophy fiancee. The mysterious death of Libby's unsuitable boyfriend and an attack on Kate's car keep Kate on her detecting track. Jacobs's domestic tale takes a few well-aimed jabs at suburban life but carries little impact in its character or plot development. (Aug.)