Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: The PMS Murder by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good story and lots of laughs
Cons: None worth mentioning
The Bottom Line:
It's light and funny
So if that is what you want
You will be happy

No, Not that Kind of PMS

It all starts with a chance meeting. Freelance writer Jaine Austen is shopping when she meets Pam. They hit it off right from the start, and Pam invites Jaine to join her women's support group. Calling themselves the PMS Club, they get together once a week to drink margaritas, eat guacamole, and complain about their lives. Nothing about the monthly cycle involved.

Jaine goes, and has a great time meeting everyone. Well, almost everyone. Marybeth is overly perky to the point of annoying. She also had a known allergy to peanuts; so when she drops over dead after having some guacamole laced with peanut oil, the obvious conclusion is murder.

Since several of the members of the club are rich, the story makes local headlines. Jaine is less then thrilled to become such a public suspect in a murder, especially since it hampers her ability to land a decent paying job. So what else can she do but investigate the other members of the PMS Club herself to find the killer. The more she digs, the more motives she turns up. Seems everyone in the club had a reason to kill Marybeth. But are there any clues out there as to who actually did it?

Of course, Jaine can never deal with just one problem at a time. She's also been forced to put her cat on a diet. Somehow, the cat seems to be getting fatter as a result. Then there's the new member of the memoir writing class she teaches at the local retirement home. The very sexy (for a senior citizen) woman has caught the attention of the lone man of the group and made the other women bitter. Plus her dad is convinced her parent's new neighbor is a wanted professional assassin.

If you're looking for a light mystery perfect for a vacation that is guaranteed to make you laugh, you've come to the right place. This series is fun bordering on the silly at times. There's nothing too deep here, but that's perfectly all right because what is here is entertaining.

The murder storyline starts off a little slow while the other storylines and the new characters are introduced. Once Marybeth dies, the murder does begin to take center stage, with the other storylines taking their rightful place in the background. The murder comes together nicely at the end. I didn't have a clue who done it until Jaine figured it out. The sub-plots have nice resolutions as well.

Then there are the characters. Jaine is a loveable heroine with a great sense of humor. Her asides and quips are often hilarious although the "He didn't say it but I know he was thinking it" can get old at times. The cast of new characters is well developed. Marybeth was getting on my nerves before she died, and I felt sorry for Rochelle, the police's prime suspect.

And then there's the writing style. The story is narrated first person with a very casual tone as if Jaine is telling the story to a friend. This makes her witty observations feel right at home. I especially love the lines she gives the cat. No, this isn't a talking cat, just the thoughts that Jaine is sure the cat has.

With a summer release, The PMS Murder is perfectly timed. It's a relaxing read perfect for the season. Pick it up today and get ready to laugh.

And you'll definitely want to read the rest of the Jaine Austen Mysteries as well.

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