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Death of A Trophy Wife (A Jaine Austen Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Levine's zany eighth Jaine Austen mystery (after 2009's Killer Cruise), the L.A. freelance writer and snoop extraordinaire accompanies her Neiman Marcus shoe salesman friend, Lance, to a party at the lavish Beverly Hills estate of Marvelous Marv, the Mattress King. Marv's obnoxious trophy wife, Bunny, is one of Lance's best customers. When Bunny dies after drinking a cyanide-laced martini, the LAPD's discovery that Bunny left a $175,000 Maserati to Lance in her will makes him a primo suspect in her murder. Jaine's search for the real killer turns up a host of suspects, including Ellen, Marv's disgruntled first wife; Sarah, Marv's brainy professor daughter, who totally hated her stepmother; and Sarah's unfaithful husband, Owen (aka the Nerdy Son-in-Law). A silly subplot involving Vladimir Ivan Trotsky from Uzbekistan, who's obsessed with marrying Jaine, distracts from the main action, but series fans will find Jaine as funny as ever. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Jaine Austen Mystery (Book 9)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; Reprint edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758238460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758238467
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Levine is a former sitcom writer (The Bob Newhart Show, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Three's Company, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman). As an advertising copywriter, she created Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

She and her husband live in Los Angeles.

Readers are welcome to contact her at Jaineausten@aol.com or on her website at www.lauralevinemysteries.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When Jaine accepts an invitation to brunch from her neighbor Lance, she meets Bunny Cooper, the young, beautiful, and spoiled wife of the Mattress King, a local mattress chain. When Bunny finds out that Jaine is a writer, she offers to recommend her to her husband, who just happens to be looking for a new advertising campaign. Desperate for cash, Jaine agrees, but her pitch meeting keeps getting postponed until Bunny dies at her own party.

Meanwhile, Jaine is fighting off the advances of Vladimir, her e-mail order groom from Uzbekistan, who shows up to win her hand in marriage. And her dad has decided to start cooking everything. Oh yeah, and the police zero in on Lance as their prime suspect. With her neighbor sure he's going to be carted off any day, Jaine begins questioning suspects, hoping to find the killer. Can she clear Lance?

These books are always a blend of the comic and the mystery. I must admit here I found the comedic sub-plots more engaging than the main mystery. While it did have some nice twists, it was a bit on the formulaic side.

But oh the comic sub-plots and scenes. Lance really plays a large part here, and I loved him. I laughed so hard at some of Vladimir's scenes. And Jaine gets a classic of her own as well. Of course, there are the fake conversations Jaine has with her cat as well.

All this humor makes for another fun, fast read. Jaine has yet to disappoint, and her fans will find this book is no exception.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Mundi on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Most of my reading involves historical mysteries and unsolved crimes. Much of history (as well as current events,) is grim and disturbing. That's why every reunion with the funny, intriguing, and intelligent Jaine Austen is an event to celebrate.

For anyone who is lonely, unhappy, or whose brain requires some exercise through complex puzzle solving, or anyone who simply enjoys pleasant, lively company, the whole Jaine Austen mystery series is the perfect solution. Not only does the author create hilarious, interesting situations, she has an uncanny ability to depict the relationship between people and the cats who own them. (This Prozac is an addiction that doesn't even require a prescription.) In any case, the book is worth buying just for the lessons Jaine teaches us all in How Not to Steal a Mattress Sample. (With an extra-credit tutorial: Destroying Bathrooms For Dummies.)

Levine often refers to the late, great P.G. Wodehouse. I can only add that since Plum writes no more, I'm glad we still have this author on the job.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Bolton on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Another very funny Jaine Austen caper

I liked both the comedy parts and the mystery. Especially loved Vladimir Ivan Trotsky, the guy from Uzbekistan who tries to make Jaine fall in love with him with his bad love poems. Thought it was another very funny entry in the series. (And the killer came as a surprise, which is always a plus for me.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must confess that I am a certified mystery novel snob. I had tried several lighter novels written by other authors and had come away very dissatisfied. When I was investigating this book the name Jaine Austen was the first thing that jumped right up and grabbed me. Granted, the spelling of the first name is different, but it certainly made me curious. Plus the information on her biography page stating that Levine had worked on so many of the sitcoms I really enjoyed made my decision easy. I am so very glad that I took a chance on reading this book by Laura Levine. It was humorous, delightful, well written and a real hoot!

Jaine is suffering from that old debilitating malady of not enough bucks in the checking account. She needs an infusion of cash real quick to stop the flow of outgo with no income. The Toiletmaster account has rather dried up. When her duplex neighbor Lance offers to take her to Sunday Brunch at the Four Seasons she accepts eagerly. Make that very eagerly because the most interesting thing in her refrigerator is a jar of martini olives. While they are lunching Lance meets his most extravagant customer from the designer shoe department at Neiman Marcus and Lance and Jaine find themselves invited to a pool party. From there can a shot at the advertising account for Marvin Cooper, the Marvelous Mattress King be far behind? Things are moving along pretty well until murder happens right in the middle of Bunny Cooper's Dirty Martini party.

I liked the lead character here. Jaine is one of those heroines most of us can relate to. She's got to work for a living, she isn't totally tuned in to the latest fashion issues and she loves to eat all the wrong foods. What's not to love?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kndlchic on May 25, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Normally, I don't read books like this (I'm more of a Stephen King kind of gal) but this one was unexpectedly entertaining and the price tag certainly didn't hurt. I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Los Angeles freelance writer Jaine Austen accompanies her friend Neiman Marcus shoe guru Lance to the Beverly Hills estate of "Marvelous Marv, the Mattress King" as the man's wife is his best customer. However, Bunny is nasty to everyone including Jaine, but soon after sipping her martini she falls to the ground dead.

Someone put cyanide in Bunny's martini. Since the queen of mean was universally loathed, there are plenty of suspects. However, the Beverly Hills police hone in on Lance who has an additional motive. He inherits the victim's $175,000 Maserati. Jaine knows Lance would not kill a major customer so having success in solving homicides before (see Killer Cruise); she investigates and finds several viable suspects amidst the extended family members.

This is a wild over the top of the Sierras amateur sleuth who-dome-it as the eccentric cast brings to life Los Angeles with an amusing spin. Jaine dodges the marital demands of Uzbekistani Vladimir Ivan Trotsky, which is amusing but takes the reader away from her investigation. Still fans will enjoy Jaine's latest whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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