Murder Has Nine Lives (Jaine Austen Series #14)

Murder Has Nine Lives (Jaine Austen Series #14)

by Laura Levine

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“I’m crazy about Laura Levine’s mystery series. Her books are so outrageously funny, they always make me laugh out loud.”
—Joanne Fluke

Freelance writer Jaine Austen has a new job, a tropical vacation on the horizon, and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, murder is the only thing to meow about . . .

When Jaine’s cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial, Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be so, well, catty. Nervous about the finicky furball’s diva nature, Jaine is pleasantly surprised—if not in stunned disbelief—at the sight of Prozac eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty’s inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect—including Jaine. And she’ll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim . . .

“Levine’s charming heroine is right on target.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758285102
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 04/25/2017
Series: Jaine Austen Series , #14
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 97,164
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

LAURA LEVINE is a comedy writer whose television credits include The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, Three’s Company, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Her work has been published in The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles, and is currently working on the next Jaine Austen mystery. Readers can visit her website at

Read an Excerpt

Murder Has Nine Lives

A Jaine Austen Mystery



Copyright © 2016 Laura Levine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-8511-9


I sat in the doctor's waiting room, my cat Prozac in my lap, praying the poor thing wouldn't suffer, that the procedure would be over quickly, with no need for extra painkillers. I had to remind myself that she'd had a good life and that if the worst happened, she wouldn't even know what hit her.

Wait a minute. Is somebody out there wiping away a tear? Did you actually think Prozac was about to bite the dust?

Heavens, no. It wasn't Prozac I was worried about. (That cat makes Vin Diesel look like Tinker Bell.) It was our darling veterinarian, Dr. Madeline Graham. Last year she wound up getting seven stitches after simply trying to clean Prozac's teeth.

Now I sat in Dr. Madeline's waiting room, Prozac baring her soon-to-be-cleaned teeth at me from her perch in my lap, and prayed that no blood would be shed in the course of her annual checkup.

Dr. Madeline practiced out of a converted bungalow near the beach in Santa Monica, her waiting room a former parlor with lace curtains on the windows and a fireplace filled with a carton of well-worn pet toys.

Behind a faux antique desk sat Trudi, Dr. Madeline's receptionist, a no-nonsense woman with a steel-gray ponytail and a faint scar on her arm — the latter, compliments of Prozac.

Between answering phone calls, Trudi chatted with the waiting clients — a middle-aged man with a hulking rottweiler, and a young gal with a gorgeous white kitty.

The rottweiler, who just a few minutes ago had come sniffing over to make friends with Prozac, now sat cowering at his owner's feet, still shaken by the wrath of Prozac's fiery hiss.

I smiled apologetically at his owner, but the guy just glowered at me.

"It's never the animal's fault," I heard Trudi say to him in a booming stage whisper. "It's always the owner."

I certainly wasn't winning any popularity contests in this waiting room, was I?

"You're going to be a good girl, aren't you?" I cooed in Prozac's ear. "All we're going to do is check your heart, look in your ears, and give your teeth a teeny little scraping, okay?"

She gazed at me through slitted green eyes.

Go ahead. Make my day.

I could practically see the EMTs wheeling Dr. Madeline off in a gurney.

Ignoring the angry thump of Prozac's tail on my thigh, I forced myself to think about all the good things in my life. Like the two-for-one special on Double Stuf Oreos at my local supermarket. And the Starbucks gift card I'd discovered in a pile of unpaid bills. And, most important, my upcoming vacation in Hawaii.

Yes, in less than a month, I, Jaine Austen, a gal who usually watches her ocean sunsets on Beachfront Bargain Hunt, was about to take off for ten glorious days in Maui. True, I'd be spending those ten glorious days with my parents, not anyone's idea of a romantic getaway. But still, ten days in the sun, with nothing to do but sit back, sipping mai tais, and have my parents fuss over me, sounded quite heavenly.

Who needs romance, I always say, when you've got parents with an unending supply of love and fudge?

I was thinking about how I really needed to get myself a cute pair of strappy sandals for the trip when the door to the waiting room whooshed open and in breezed a hefty gal swathed in layers of crinkly gauze, a mass of bangle bracelets jangling on her arms. Her hair was swept up in a sloppy bun, anchored in place by two bright red enamel chopsticks.

She swept over to Trudi in a cloud of patchouli.

"Trudi, love," she said, bending down to give her an air kiss. "Where's that darling kitty you told me about?"

Trudi pointed to the other cat in the room, the snow-white beauty sitting demurely on her owner's lap.

"Oh, she's precious," Ms. Chopsticks crooned. "But not exactly what I was looking for."

And then she caught sight of Prozac.

"My God!" she cried, her eyes lighting up. "That one's perfect!"

And like a shot, she was jangling across the waiting room.

"What a darling kitty!" Ms. Chopsticks said, plopping down in the chair next to me. "What's her name?"


"Prozac? Just what the doctor ordered! At least mine did. Three times a day," she confided with a jolly wink. "Mind if I pet her?"

"I wouldn't if I were you. She scratches."

"And I've got the scars to prove it," Trudi said, eyeing her arm ruefully.

"Oh, the precious angel would never scratch me!"

And before I could stop her, she was swooping Prozac up in her arms.

Visions of lawsuits danced in my head, but much to my relief, Prozac had suddenly switched to Adorable Mode, all big eyes and loving purrs.

I was soon to discover the reason why.

"Would Prozac like a yum-yum?" Ms. Chopsticks asked, taking a Baggie full of cat treats from her purse.

Was she kidding? When it comes to treats, Prozac's a gal who can't say no. (She takes after me that way.)

Soon Prozac was inhaling kitty treats at the speed of light, making disgusting snorting noises as she sucked up her chow.

"She has quite an appetite, doesn't she?" My companion stared down at Prozac in awe.

"If it's not nailed down, she generally eats it."

"That's wonderful!" Ms. Chopsticks said. "She's going to be perfect for the Skinny Kitty commercial."

"Skinny Kitty?"

"It's a new diet cat food. She's eating it now. They're shooting a commercial for it next week, and we've been looking all over for a cat to star in it."

In her lap, Prozac inhaled the last of the cat food and belched in content.

"I'm Deedee Walker," Ms. Chopsticks said, handing me a business card. "Agent to the Animal Stars. I know star quality when I see it, and I see it in your darling kitty."

We both looked down to where Prozac was now sniffing her privates.

"We're holding auditions tomorrow at ten a.m. The address is on my business card. Please bring Prozac. I'm sure she'll be wonderful."

Really? The cat who, for as long as we've been together, has refused to sit still for a single Christmas photo?

But before I could voice any objections, Deedee had plopped Prozac back in my lap and was sailing out the door, bangles jangling in her wake.

I sat there, stunned. Was it possible my fractious furball had what it took to be a star?

I gazed down at her now and watched as she plucked an ancient Cheerio from the depths of her tail.

She lobbed me a look of sheer pride.

I think there's a gummy bear in there, too!

So much for stardom.


I'm happy to report that no blood was shed in the course of Prozac's exam. Perhaps Prozac was feeling mellow after her recent snack. Or perhaps it was the Kevlar vest Dr. Madeline had chosen to wear for the occasion.

Back home, Prozac resumed her usual perch on my living room sofa, licking herself free of the evil smells of Dr. Madeline's office.

I checked my phone and saw I had a message from Phil Angelides, proud owner and prop. of Toiletmasters Plumbers, serving the greater Los Angeles area since 1988. And one of my biggest clients. I've been writing ads for Phil ever since I first came up with the slogan In a Rush to Flush? Call Toiletmasters! (Winner of the Los Angeles Plumbers' Association Golden Plunger Award, in case you're interested.)

I pushed the PLAY button and heard Phil saying words that always bring joy to me and my checking account:

"Give me a call, Jaine. I've got an assignment for you."

When I called him back, he was bubbling with excitement about a breakthrough product in the world of commodes, the Touch-Me-Not toilet.

"All you have to do is wave your hand in front of an infrared light, and the toilet flushes itself!"

Phil's one of the few people on the planet who can wax euphoric over a toilet bowl.

"I need you to write a brochure for the Touch-Me-Not," he said. "Stop by the office tomorrow afternoon, so you can see it in person. It's a work of art, Jaine! A work of art!"

I assured him I'd be over the next day to see his miracle commode and hung up, delighted at the prospect of an incoming paycheck. I was just about to head to the kitchen for a celebratory Oreo (or three) when there was a knock on my door.

I opened it to find my neighbor, Lance Venable.

Lance and I share a duplex on a jacaranda-lined street in the slums of Beverly Hills, far from the mega mansions north of Sunset.

"Hey, Jaine." He breezed into my apartment in a designer suit and bow tie, his tight blond curls moussed to perfection.

Accompanying him on a leash was his adorable pooch, Mamie.

"Doesn't Mamie look fab?" Lance said. "I just picked her up on my way home from Neiman's."

For those of you not in the Venable loop, Lance spends his working hours fondling ladies' bunions in the shoe department at Neiman Marcus.

"Lucky Mamie had a luxurious Day of Beauty at the Chow Bella Pet Spa," Lance said, "where she was treated to a 'pawdicure,' a detoxifying thermal wrap, and a soothing lavender/aloe shampoo!"

Prozac looked up from her privates and shot me a baleful glare.

And all I got was a crummy teeth scraping.

Indeed, Mamie looked quite fetching, her white coat gleaming, a dainty pink bow in her hair.

Prozac gazed at her in disdain.

What a weenie.

"You really should bring Prozac in for some grooming," Lance said as my little angel began clawing a throw pillow.

"Are you kidding? I'm happy I made it out alive from her annual checkup. By the way, you'll never guess what happened at the vet's office today. Some gal who reps show biz animals stopped by and fell in love with Prozac. She wants her to star in a commercial."

Lance's eyes widened in disbelief.

"Prozac? Take direction? The cat who can't sit still for a simple Christmas photo?"

"Crazy, right? But the gal swears she can make Prozac a star."

"That's the silliest thing I ever heard," Lance scoffed. "I love Prozac dearly, but we all know she's a whacked-out little maniac."

Prozac glared up from her attack on the throw pillow.

Hey! Who're you calling "little"?

"The very idea of Prozac in a TV commercial is ludicrous," Lance went on, bursting out in a most annoying peal of laughter.

By now I was starting to get ticked off. It's one thing when I doubt my pampered princess's capabilities. But hearing Lance dis her was a whole other story. Frankly, my hackles were more than a tad raised.

"I don't know," I said. "She might do okay."

A derisive snort from Lance.

"If that cat can act, I'll eat my bow tie."

At his feet, Mamie gave a happy yap, thrilled at the prospect of either Prozac acting or Lance eating his own tie.

With dogs, it's hard to tell.

"Well, gotta run," Lance said. "Time to show off Mamie's new look to the neighbors. Everyone loves her so!"

And off he sailed, Mamie trotting in tow.

Up until that moment I hadn't really planned on showing up at the audition. But now I was steamed. I took Deedee's business card out of my purse. On the back she'd written the address where the audition was to take place.

I made up my mind to be there.

"We'll show Uncle Lance just how clever you are. Won't we, Pro?"

But my kitty prodigy was too busy chasing a dust bunny to hear me.

I woke up the next morning to the sweet sounds of Prozac yowling at the top of her lungs, clawing me for her breakfast. Through bleary eyes, I watched her ricochet around the bed in full-throttle Feed Me mode. And suddenly my dreams of showbiz stardom went poof. No way was Prozac ever going to behave herself long enough to land a part in a TV commercial. Why even bother showing up at the audition?

But then I remembered the insufferably smug look on Lance's face when he said Prozac would never make it in advertising.

And just like that, I was angry all over again. So what if Prozac didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting that part? We were going to the audition!

And so at exactly 9:30 a.m. Prozac and I were in my Corolla, heading over to the Mid-Wilshire office building where the audition was scheduled to take place.

Unwilling to risk one of her hissy fits, I left Prozac's cat carrier at home. True, I had to drive with my little darling scampering around the gas pedal, playing havoc with my blood pressure, but that was a small price to pay for her goodwill.

Now with Prozac nestled safely in my arms, I took the elevator up to the third-floor offices of Skinny Kitty, Inc., and headed into a waiting room filled with adorable cats and their fiercely proud owners.

I signed in at a reception desk, where a harried receptionist in dangly cat earrings told me to take a seat until my name was called.

Prozac and I plunked ourselves down next to one of the show biz kitties, a pro by the name of Mr. Jingles. I knew this was his name because it was embroidered on the sash he wore, Miss America–style, across his furry torso.

Mr. Jingles' trainer, a big-boned redhead in a MR. JINGLES FOR PRESIDENT T-shirt, was giving her charge a pep talk.

"Who's the smartest cat ever? Who's gonna beat out all the other cats and get this part? Mr. Jingles, that's who! Now, gimme five!"

She held out her palm, and I watched in awe as Mr. Jingles stood on his hind legs and brushed his owner's palm with his paw.

"Wow!" I said to the redhead. "He's amazing."

"He is, isn't he?" she beamed. "He can roll over, jump through a hoop, and play the piano."

Prozac yawned, clearly unimpressed.

Yeah, but can he cough up a hairball the size of a S'more?

And Mr. Jingles wasn't the only talent in the room. All around me, perfectly groomed cats were doing clever tricks and heeding their owners' every word.

Meanwhile, in my lap, Prozac was busy hissing at a nearby philodendron.

Once again, I felt hope ebbing away. Compared to her competition, Prozac didn't stand a chance.

I was just about to pack it in and go home when Deedee came sailing into the waiting room, bangles jangling and chopsticks poking out from her bun.

Her eyes lit up at the sight of Prozac.

"Jaine, dear! I'm so happy you made it!" she cried, sitting down next to me in a cloud of patchouli. "I just know Prozac's going to run away with this part."

"But, Deedee. All these other cats are trained professionals. Prozac's never performed before in her life."

"Yes, but I doubt any of these other cats can eat like Prozac. Never have I seen a cat suck up food with such gusto. And that's just what they're looking for."

"You really think she stands a chance?"

"Absolutely!" Deedee assured me.

"That cat over there," I said, pointing to Mr. Jingles, "can give his owner a high five."

"Really?" Deedee eyed Mr. Jingles as he struck a few chords on his toy piano.

"Not to worry, hon. I'll take care of him."

"What a darling kitty!" she exclaimed, jumping up and making a beeline for the piano-playing prodigy. "Mind if I pet him?"

"Not at all," Mr. Jingles' trainer replied. "He loves attention."

Deedee crouched down, her back to the redheaded trainer, blocking her view of Mr. Jingles. Then, in a move so fast I almost missed it, I saw her slipping Mr. Jingles a kitty treat. Which he gobbled up eagerly.

Her job done, Deedee got back on her feet.

"Such an angel!" she cooed to the redhead. "Best of luck to you, hon!"

Then she trotted back to me, a sly grin on her face.

"What on earth did you give him?" I whispered

"The teensiest dose of kitty Valium," she whispered back. "He'll be out like a light in minutes."

Indeed, as I looked over at Mr. Jingles, he was curling up into a ball, his eyes narrowed into sleepy slits.

"Mr. Jingles!" the redhead chided. "What's got into you? This is no time to be napping. We need to rehearse your piano routine!"

Next to me, Deedee was smiling smugly.

"See? I told you I'd take care of him."

"But, Deedee —"

"No need to thank me, hon. That's what agents are for!"

I was still reeling over Deedee's duplicity when a door at the far end of the waiting room opened and a pale woman in jeans and a T-shirt consulted a clipboard and called my name.

Gathering Prozac, I hurried to her side.

"Knock 'em dead, hon!" Deedee shouted out after me.

I just prayed she wouldn't be doing the same out in the waiting room.

"Hi," said the clipboard gal as she led me down a short hallway. "I'm Linda Oliver. I'll be producing the commercial."

Wow. She sure had me fooled. With no makeup, unflattering harlequin glasses, and her hair scraped back in a headband, she looked like a secretary on a really tight budget, not an advertising bigwig.

Now she opened the door to a conference room and ushered me inside. A large mahogany table dominated the room, a handful of people sitting at the far side.

"I'd like you to meet my husband, Dean," Linda said, "the inventor of Skinny Kitty."

A handsome guy with jet-black hair and what looked like a freshly sprayed tan, Dean sat at the head of the table, rifling through kitty head shots. He looked up and nodded at me curtly, and I couldn't help wondering what a slick dude like him was doing with a mouse like Linda.


Excerpted from Murder Has Nine Lives by LAURA LEVINE. Copyright © 2016 Laura Levine. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Murder Has Nine Lives 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
This is a great book; this is the fourteenth book in the A Jaine Austen Mystery series written by Laura Levine. Jaine Austen is a freelance writer. She's signed up for a new job, she's looking forward to a tropical vacation, and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
Author Laura Levine does it again in this latest addition to her Jaine Austen Mysteries! I don’t know how author Levine manages to keep this long running series fresh, but she does just that. After only one chapter into MURDER HAS NINE LIVES and I was laughing so hard I snorted! It’s not surprising since Ms. Levine has been a cause of my laughter since her days as a writer for TV with such shows as Laverne & Shirley, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Love Boat just to name a few. Kitty Prozac and her owner (more like her person), Jaine, are at their hysterical best in this sixteenth installment of the Jaine Austen Mysteries. As with the other books in this series, MURDER HAS NINE LIVES is a superbly written tail . . . I mean, tale that is packed full of mystery, hilarity, and feline hijinx. Every time I tried to sit this book down, I read on last sentence, and was pulled back in again. As I wiped away tears of laughter, I tried to solve the whodunit in this story, only to be foiled at the reveal. Wow! Catnip for humans, MURDER HAS NINE LIVES gets five paws up from me!
Bookworm2Bookworm More than 1 year ago
Jaine Austen’s cat, Prozac, is a holy terror to examine or treat at the vet. Dr. Madeline is Prozac’s vet and today is a checkup and teeth cleaning for Prozac. While waiting, a young woman comes in and zeros in on Prozac saying she is a perfect for their commercial for Skinny Kitty Cat food. At the audition for the commercial, Prozac performs well and is offered the part for the commercial which pays $5,000. During the filming of the commercial, Prozac decides to not eat the cat food which causes a ruckus. That’s when everyone decides to take a break and try again later. The maker of the food has no sense of smell so he always eats the cat food. When another attempt is made to get Prozac to eat the food, the maker tastes it first and dies from poisoning. Since Jaine was the only person there when people took a break, she is now a suspect in the murder. Jaine has had experience of sorts as a so-called investigator so she calls upon her talents to help find the murderer. With all of the people involved in the planning and backing of this commercial, she has a number of people to investigate. In the meantime, we meet her friends, neighbors, parents, and a crazy guy who wants to date her. Prepare to sit back and have some really good laughs. This story is so funny. It is the first Jaine Austen murder mystery I have read and it certainly won’t be the last. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another delightful romp through Jaine’s fun filled life. Really good quick reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love Jaine and Prozac! When Prozac is chosen for a cat food commercial Jaine is seeing dollar signs, but when someone kills the director Jaine is a suspect and back to her semiprofessional PI "job" to clear her name. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good mystery along with some laughs
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Murder Has Nine Lives- Jaine Austen Mystery Book 14 Author: Laura Levine Published: 6-28-2016 Publisher: Kensington Books Pages: 309 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuths; Humor ISBN: 13: 9780758285096 ASIN: B0165HUV96 Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.75 I received a copy of "Murder Has Nine Lives" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher: The future is looking bright for freelance writer Jaine Austen. She's signed up for a new job, she's looking forward to a tropical vacation, and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about. . . A writer's life is far from glamorous. Still, Jaine's new gig to write an ad campaign for Toiletmasters' new line of self-flushing toilets comes with a few perks--including a date with the president's dreamy nephew. And with a much-needed trip to Maui on the horizon, it seems life couldn't get any better--until her cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial. But Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be quite so catty. . . Jaine is nervous that Prozac won't be able to take direction, but the finicky furball ditches her diva behavior for the camera, eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty's inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect--including Jaine. And she'll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim. . . My Review: I have never thought of the word effervescent as a descriptive word for a person, but then I picked up a Jaine Austen mystery and there it was. A character that embodies what the word means to me. Jaine is bubbly and funny. She lights up the day for any reader. With her commentaries on other's actions and words to her acceptance of her diva fur companion, Prozac, who is aptly named because those round her need the medication to keep their sanity. These two characters (Yes, Prozac is an important character in the mysteries.) are the main reason I keep coming back for more. Ms. Levine manages to write stories that are suspenseful and so full of humor that the reader will find themselves laughing out loud often. The plots are always sound and well thought out. "Murder Has Nine Lives" is no exception. Laura Levine continues to amaze me that she can keep her series fresh and entertaining. If you have not read her work before then do so now. You will be glad that you did. "Murder Has Nine Lives" is a great read that will leave you feeling good and smiling as you look for more books in the series to devour. Prozac might leave you exhausted and bewildered at times, but you would gladly take the lovable feline into your home. Just be prepared to turn control of said home over to the little Diva and wait on her hand and paw. My rating is 4.75 out of 5 stars.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Diet Cat Food is Murder After thirteen books, I’ve come to rely on Jaine Austen. The books in this series are always light, funny, and a pleasure to read. Murder Has Nine Lives is the fourteenth book, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. This book opens in the vet’s office. Jaine has brought Prozac in for her annual checkup, but before they even get to the appointment, an animal agent spots Prozac and is convinced that Jaine’s cat is perfect for a new commercial for diet cat food. All Prozac has to do is eat and sleep – the two activity she excels at. The trick is she has to do it on command, but Prozac behaves well enough at the audition to land the part. The day of the shoot, things are going along well until it comes time to shoot Prozac’s final scene, when she starts becoming her usual temperamental self. The creator of Skinny Kitty, Dean Oliver, calls for a half hour break. When everyone returns, Dean films his big scene, where he announces the cat food is so good he will eat it himself and takes a big bite. Only after he does, he keels over dead. Jaine had already witnessed that Dean wasn’t a very nice man, but it seems that just about everyone on set had a motive for murder. The police include Jaine in that number, and tell her not to leave town. But with a vacation to Hawaii on the horizon, Jaine needs to make sure she is cleared of suspicion, so she begins digging into the suspects and motives. Can she find the killer in time to go on her trip? The mysteries in these books are always good. We’ve got a nice collection of suspects, and as Jaine talks to them, we learn more about motives and opportunity. It always seems like the top suspect is changing as Jaine talks to everyone until we reach the logical solution. The books are filled with sub-plots as well. In one, Jaine agrees to go on a blind date with the nephew of her biggest client. As always, we are also treated to the latest in her parent’s retirement community in Florida thanks to a string of e-mail exchanges. This time around, her father has decided to enter the annual Scrabble tournament and defeat the reigning champion Lydia Pinkus, his arch nemesis and Jaine’s mother’s best friend. The results are completely hilarious, which was no surprise to me. At times, these sub-plots take over the story. However, I really don’t mind because they are so much fun. If you haven’t figured it out by now, these books are a little over the top, which is much of their fun. The characters are likewise outrageous in a fun way. They are real enough for us to care about the outcome, but they are not the complex people I might praise in another series. Still they fit the series perfectly and anything different would feel odd. Author Laura Levine has a background in comedy writing, and it really shows. In fact, I often describe these books as sitcoms with murder, and the description really does fit. Fans of Jaine’s adventures have nothing to worry about, she is still going strong in Murder Has Nine Lives. And if you have yet to start the series, I’ll say it again – drop everything and do so today. You’ll be binge reading these books and laughing through them all.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is the first Jaine Austin Mystery I have read and right now I am on the fence with this series. As the other reviewers have all said, it is funny and very light-reading. I found it a little too silly for my taste, or perhaps it was just unexpected. In this book, Jaine sets out to find the killer of the inventor of a diet cat food called Skinny Kitty. There is a lot going on in this book and in Jaine's life. Her cat, Prozac, was hired to be in the Skinny Kitty Food commercial where the murder actually occurred on the set. Jaine has been hired to write a commercial for a No-Touch Flush toilet and ends up dating the nephew of the man who hired her. This is one of the weird parts of the book, when their date goes off the normal path. Prozac begins to have some depression and she hires a Reiki expert to heal him. The emails from her parents in Florida keeping her up to date on their life and activities are definitely a hoot and I can not imagine what growing up with them was like. If you’re looking for a light read with some laughs and a mystery to solve, this is your book. I did not have any problem following the story even though I had not read any of the previous books in this series. I am sure that many cozy mystery lovers and those that enjoy off-beat humour would enjoy this book and probably the entire series. It was just not my cup of tea. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.