Semi-starving Los Angeles freelance writer Jaine Austen (no relation to the famed author) is thrilled to be reuniting with her ex-husband despite the protestations of her cat, Prozac, and neighbor, Lance. When she lands a gig ghostwriting a smutty novel for an heiress, it feels like everything’s coming up roses. Not so fast, though. Death of a Gigolo is a humorous whodunit that’s as zippy as a triple-shot latte.
Laura Levine’s latest Jaine Austen mystery takes flight when a young man named Tommy woos Jaine’s new boss, Daisy Kincaid. Daisy’s staff hates Tommy, and with good reason; he’s bleeding her dry financially while hitting on the women who work for her. When he turns up with a knife in his neck, nobody’s sorry to see the last of him, but that means everyone’s a suspect. So Jaine tries to get to the bottom of things while also cranking out Daisy’s proposed bestseller, Fifty Shades of Turquoise. Subplots about Jaine’s parents (told entirely via emails) and the oddball guru her ex-husband has fallen in with are funny additions to the main story that weave together at the end. Running commentary and strategic hairballs from Prozac add to the fun while Jaine tries to pin down the killer.
This mystery has a deep bench of suspects and eliminates them with the precision of Agatha Christie. It would be equally at home beside the swimming pool or next to the fireplace on a dark and stormy night.