Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Writes by Laura Levine

Last Writes by Laura Levine.

Borrowed from my local public library.

*** "Fun!"

From the inside cover: "Jaine still hasn't found a good man - or a way to keep all those sugary snacks from going straight to her hips. But - with a little help from her best friend Kandi - she's finally landed a gig as a sitcom writer! True, Muffy 'n Me isn't going towin any Emmys. And her seedy office at Miracle Studios needs a little sprucing up, and a few dozen rat traps. But it sure beats writing boring brocures and run-of-the-mill resumes, so Jaine's not complaining. Until the plot thickens - with murder..."

Last Writes is the second book in Levine's Jaine Austen Mystery Series. You can read my review of This Pen for Hire here.

Jaine Austen is thrilled to find herself in the world of comedy television - the world of writers, actors, script re-writes, sets and read-throughs. She has been lucky enough to have her script - Cinderella Muffy - accepted, and is anxious that it be well-received. If it turns out that her episode is full of laughs she may even be offered a permanent job as a staff writer!

Unfortunately when actor Quinn Kirkland is poisoned on set during a live taping, Jaine's friend Kandi is taken off for questioning as the prime suspect. Not only was she seen in the prop room just before the poisoned prop donuts were sent to the stage, but she had been carrying on an affair with Quinn who had cheated on her with busty teenage actress Vanessa Dennis. Motive and opportunity! And so Jaine feels compelled to do some sleuthing to prove her friend's innocence.

I'm glad that I decided to continue with this series despite not being overly excited by This Pen for Hire. Levine has gained my respect by mixing it up a little, and not simply sticking with the same formula as last time. Although there are some familiar characters, such as Lance her nosy neighbour, and the lovable gang of senior citizens that Jaine teaches writing to, the setting is completely different. Levine is clever to take us out of Jaine's apartment and into the world to meet some new characters. I hope that future instalments of this series follow a similar path.

Levine also introduces a clever subplot involving her parents which is very reminiscient of Brigid's parents in Brigid Jones' Diary. Not original, but pleasantly entertaining none the less.

I don't really find the Jaine Austen Mysteries satisfying. I'm looking for a little more in the books that I read. A little more mystery, a little more romance (sadly lacking!), a little more thought-provoking, a little more challenging. I think of these books a little like junk food, only to be consumed sparingly because they don't really provide any nourishment.

If you need something for the bath, or a short trip on a plane, train or bus, then this is your book. And I really hope that Jaine gets lucky soon!

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