Thursday, September 23, 2010

“This Pen for Hire” by Laura Levine

I opened up the paperback version of this book to find the inner cover listing several quotations praising the book from various sources: authors, famous people and the media, including Garrison Keillor, Publishers Weekly, author Carolyn Hart, author Leslie Meier, a writer from the old “I Love Lucy” TV show and even the executive producer for “The Simpsons” TV show.

So I read the book with high hopes. It wasn’t until I was almost done that I opened up the back cover to read about the author, Laura Levine. She is a comedy writer who has written for several classic TV shows including “The Bob Newhart Show”, “Laverne & Shirley”, “The Love Boat”, “The Jeffersons”, “Three’s Company” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”.

That explained like I was reading a script for a Bob Hope movie. It’s almost like a comedy with a mystery thrown in for good measure.

“This Pen for Hire” is the first in the series featuring female-sleuth Jaine Austen - first name pronounced “Jane”. Her mother liked author Jane Austen, but couldn’t spell.

Jaine is 36, divorced, and works as a freelance writer who will write just about anything for money. Her business is called “This Pen for Hire”. Jaine used to work in advertising. She is working on a slogan to further promote her business: “Jaine Austen, Discreet Inquiries: Work Done with Pride, Not Prejudice”.


So one day a guy named Howard Murdoch contacts her for help. He has not been blessed in the looks department, and doesn’t seem to have much going for him. He asks Jaine to write a personal love note to an attractive aerobics instructor named Stacy. At first Jaine says no, but when Howard triples her fee she accepts.

Jaine goes on about her business until one day when she is shocked to see the news on TV: Stacy has been murdered and the police think Howard killed her. Jaine just knows that Howard couldn’t have done it, and sets out to prove the smug police detective wrong. And she does.

If you like your mysteries sprinkled with lots of jokes (mostly one-liners), this is the book for you. I enjoyed it but I wish the mystery had more depth to it.

You can buy the book here:


Librarian said...

It sounds quite entertaining, and I like the "Work done with pride, not with prejudice" :-)

LadyPI said...

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Jane Austen book. I love the 1990's adaptation with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I watch it about once a year - although I haven't done so this year. The countryside is quite beautiful.