Laura Levine is one of my favorite writers of all time. Her wit and humor are undeniable – this is a woman who really knows how to make us laugh and HAS made us laugh! As a comedy writer, her television credits include The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne and Shirley, The Love Boat, Three’s Company, The Jeffersons – and that’s just naming a few!
So it’s no big surprise to find her hilarious writing style entwined with a cozy murder mystery. Her Jaine Austen series is a must for cozy mystery fans. Jaine Austen is a freelance copywriter and kind of, sort of — private investigator. She loves her junk food (well, almost ANY food for that matter) as much as she loves her pompous (yet adorable) feline, Prozac.
She carries on conversations with each of her thankfully distant parents via e-mail. Her dad’s latest thrift store find, a used “bad toupee,” and her mother’s never-ending efforts to dispose of said toupee, had me in stitches! No matter what her mom did – it was like a bad penny, it just kept coming back! Even the garbage man returned the toupee from his trash bin, claiming they don’t take “dead animals!”
And yes, although the ratty squirrel-like bad toupee had been fermenting in the dumpster, Jaine’s dad still persisted on wearing it! This alone is a story in itself, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened to the world’s worst toupee!
In Killer Blonde, Jaine juggles her parents’ frantic, bantering toupee emails while ghostwriting for a high-maintenance trophy wife, SueEllen. SueEllen is married to Hal, a high profile plastic surgeon. Hard to say which one has more cheating on their mind, but in less than a week on the job, Jaine finds SueEllen’s surgically enhanced body bobbing dead in a bubble bath. How shocking, literally. Someone intentionally tossed a plugged in hairdryer into SueEllen’s bathtub! Well there goes another freelance job down the drain. Ladened with tons of highly questionable suspects, Jaine puts her own life on the line to solve this murder. Seems like SueEllen and Hal’s sixteen year old daughter, Heidi, is going to be charged with this electrifying crime that she surely didn’t commit – or did she?
It’s fast and it’s witty as only Laura Levine can be. The laughs just kept coming along with all those L.A. style murder suspects! It’s nice to be able to come home from a long and tiring day to read a really good cozy mystery and be able to laugh page after page. The Jaine Austen series really delivers. And with Halloween just around the corner, you may also want to pick up my all-time favorite Halloween murder mystery, also by Laura, Death of a Neighborhood Witch.
Available at Amazon and other fine booksellers.