Jaine Austen is alive and writing advertising copy in Los Angeles. She also teaches memoir writing to senior citizens. Aside from the name, neither Jane Austen nor anything to do with her classic literary works plays a part in this story. Readers unfamiliar with this series who are expecting another Jane Austen Book Club or a mystery involving the historical Jane will have to look elsewhere.

Meanwhile, contemporary Jaine cracks wise, wearing elastic-waist pants and solving mysteries on the side. Her latest case begins when she comes across a prospective ad client with a high heel stuck in her lifeless neck. It seems everyone hated the victim, and as Jaine begins to gather clues, even more suspects appear.

While Jaine is sure to disarm readers with her cranky charm, the mystery plot drags just when the tension should start to rise. An e-mail subplot further slows the action. Still, self-deprecating Jaine is a treasure. Maybe that's her real claim to the other Austen's legacy. (Jun., 240 pp., $22.00)
Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison