This Pen for Hire is the first installment in the Jaine Austen murder mystery series by Laura Levine. These books are not your typical murder mysteries - they are really funny. Sure there is some suspense and action, but with tons of wit, humor, and sarcasm.
In This Pen for Hire, freelance writer Jaine Austen becomes an amateur detective. Jaine is a humorous character who lives in L.A. She likes to mention her generous thighs, her inability to stop eating, and her struggles to make enough money as a freelance writer.
Jaine takes on a new and particularly desperate client named Howard Murdoch. Howard is a nerd. He still lives with his mom. What does he want Jaine to do? Write a love letter to a particularly attractive aerobics instructor. At first, Jaine knows this is a helpless cause. She refuses to help him due to her sense of integrity. But, the bills are piling up and she decides to give it a shot.
In the love letter, she mentions that Howard is actually related to Rupert Murdoch (the media mogul). This, of course, is not true, but Jaine thinks the only shot Howard will have with a gorgeous woman is to pretend he's rich.
To Jaine's shock, the letter works. Howard gets his date. The only problem is that she ends up dead right at the time he arrives to pick her up. He gets arrested for it. Jaine is convinced there is no way Howard could even kill a fly, so she decides it's up to her to prove he's not the real murderer.
Throughout the remainder of the book, we see Jaine go from her boring life to living the dangerous life of an amateur detective. We learn about her former husband ("The Blob"), her best friend (Kandi), and her cat (Prozac).
This is a fun and quick story that offers several laugh-out-loud moments thrown in with the occasional moment of suspense or fear. I am looking forward to reading the next installment, Last Writes. I definitely recommend this book for people who like their suspense filled with comedy.