Thirty-something and single, Jaine Austen makes her living as a freelance writer. For the most part, she composes brochures and resumes but new client, Howard Murdoch, presents her with something unusual. The geeky Howard has a crush on aerobics instructor Stacy Lawrence and he wants Jaine to compose a letter, asking her out. Money is money and Jaine agrees to do so.

Much to her surprise, the letter works and Howard gets the first date of his life. Unfortunately, when he gets to Stacy's, he finds she's been bludgeoned with a thighmaster. Worse, the police arrest him and his one phone call is to Jaine. Jaine doesn't know what she can do but she does believe Howard's innocent. Posing alternately (and rather unsuccessfully) as a lawyer and a detective, Jaine mounts an investigation that may cause her own early demise.

Prepare to laugh yourself silly over THIS PEN FOR HIRE, the most uproarious mystery ever. Jaine is a delight, wisecracking and cynical, and the mystery is a real corker. This is definitely the fun read of the season. (Jun., 208 pp., $22.00)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg