Freelance writer Jaine Austen is back, along with her finicky Siamese cat, Prozac, and her wacky e-mailing parents in this lively, if uneven, fifth installment of this series.

As Jaine struggles to land a new client, and to keep both herself and Prozac on their respective diets, she's excited to have met some new female friends, who call themselves the PMS Club and gather to commiserate and celebrate their respective woes and triumphs at a weekly margarita party. Never one to turn down homemade guacamole, Jaine is having a ball, until Marybeth, one of the club's least liked members, drops dead -- having been poisoned with peanut oil. It's soon up to Jaine to clear herself and find the real killer before she loses her new job or her old life.

Jaine is both funny and relatable, and it's the humor -- especially in the scenes between Jaine and Prozac -- that elevates this novel beyond the predictable plot. While the subplots involving her parents' e-mails and her geriatric writing class have bits of humor, they interrupt the action of the plot and, ultimately, detract from the suspense of who killed Marybeth. (Jun., 256 pp. $19.95)
Reviewed by: 
Stephanie Schneider