Who Gave Bebe a Makeover as a Corpse?
It’s always a pleasure to see a new Jaine Austen Mystery come out. Laura Levine’s books are reliably fun, and Murder Gets a Makeover is no exception.
If you haven’t met Jaine yet, she is a freelance writer living in Southern California. No, you probably haven’t read anything she’s written since most of her clients are local businesses that hire her to write advertising. Her world is slightly wacky, but that makes it all the more fun.
This book finds Jaine agreeing to get a fashion makeover after her neighbor, Lance, pushes her into it. She’s going to Bebe Braddock, fashion designer to the stars who also happens to be one of Lance’s clients at Neiman Marcus, where he works in the shoe department. Bebe is intending to use Jaine’s before and after pictures in a publicity campaign, so the cost to Jaine is going to be zero.
And even then, it turns out to be overpriced. Bebe is a nasty woman, who treats everyone in her orbit horribly. When Jaine heads over for a fitting one evening, she finds Bebe strangled in her studio. While the list of suspects is long, the police think that Jaine might be the killer since Jaine’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Can Jaine figure out who really killed Bebe?
Of course, like isn’t that simple for Jaine. (Yes, I’m calling being a suspect in a murder case simple.) Her cat, Prozac, gets her fifteen minutes of fame when a film of Prozac saving a two-year-old’s life goes viral. And the fame goes to Prozac’s head. Meanwhile, via emails, we learn that Jaine’s father is certain that his enemy at her parent’s retirement community in Florida is having an affair, and he sets out to prove it. Oh, and Jaine’s love life might be heating up.
Given the strong sub-plots and the book’s shorter length, you can bet that the pace is quick. There is always something happening in Jaine’s life, and author Laura Levine does a great job of juggling all the balls she has in the air.
And there are the laughs. The sub-plots are especially full of funny moments, but even the main mystery has some humor. While Prozac doesn’t talk, Jaine is able to interpret her cat’s thoughts based on body language, and they are always a riot. I don’t know how Jaine’s mom puts up with Jaine’s dad, but I’m glad she does because those emails are always a highlight as well.
With all this going on, we still have a solid mystery filled with several suspects and plenty of secrets for Jaine to uncover on her way to the solution.
I usually call these books to a cross between a sitcom and a murder mystery, and that holds true again here. That’s most obvious in the characters. They are more broad caricatures than true characters, but they fit perfectly in Jaine’s world and help give us the laughs. You don’t pick up these books for the serious character growth; you pick them up to have fun.
I’ve been reading Jaine’s adventures since the first book came out, and I love the series. I didn’t feel this one was quite up to the usual standards for the series, but it’s mostly a few nitpicks. Or maybe it was the mood I was in when I read it. Either way, this is still a fun read that will appeal to the series’ fans.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Jaine. Murder Gets a Makeover is another fun adventure for our heroine that will leave you smiling.
Laugh along with the rest of the Jaine Austen Mysteries.