I know you have been waiting on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what I would comment on next. Wonder no more! I have just read “This Pen For Hire,” by Laura Levine. It is the first in a series featuring wordsmith Jaine Austen, a thirty something gal who writes letters, brochures, and even an occasional newspaper ad for a living. (Her mother loved classic literature, but, ironically, couldn’t spell.) It is because of her profession that our heroine meets Howard Murdoch, who wants to declare his love for Stacey, a beautiful aerobics instructor he has never even had the courage to speak to. That is why he employs Jaine, who feels he is in way over his head, but, needing the money, she reluctantly agrees to craft a note for him. The good news? He gets a date. The bad news? When he goes to pick her up, he discovers she has been murdered, and when the police arrive, he is found next to the body covered in the victim’s blood. When Ms. Austen hears of his arrest, she sets out to uncover the real killer, much to the chagrin of the detective in charge of the case. Can this scribbler turned sleuth find answers before it is too late, or will she find her own name added to the list of decedents?
I was pleasantly surprised by this cozy puzzle. I found the characters quirky and just flawed enough to seem real, and the plot had enough twists and turns to keep me captivated to the conclusion, and there were some laugh out loud funny moments. My one reservation? I warn you that the some of the humor is of a VERY adult nature. My recommendation is that this story be read by those over eighteen who are prepared for it. Overall, it is a good mainstream mystery. I would rate it four out of five stars. Until we meet again…