Pampered to Death
Kensington, Aug 1 2011, $22.00
To thank his next door neighbor for proving he did not commit a murder (see Death of a Trophy Wife), Lance Venerable pays for copywriter Jaine Austen and her cat Prozac to stay at the luxurious The Haven spa north of Los Angeles. However, the description of fancy does not quire fit as it is much smaller than Jaine expected and the towels showcase a bit of wear. The worst is a 900 calories a day starvation diet rigidly adhered to by spa owner Nazi Olga though Jaine bribes Delphine the maid into bringing her a pastrami.
The other guests include loquacious Cathy Kane who horded chump change for years to come here; spoiled B-level film star Mallory Francis who drives everyone including the storm-trooper and her staff crazy with her demands; and her unhappy retinue (Mallory's sister Kendra, her hairstylist Harvey, her former costar Clint, and her acrimonious Pekingese Armani) who want to return to civilization. Mango Mallory’s perpetual orders end when someone strangles her with seaweed. However, the homicide police quarantines everyone at the Haven. Going broke at thirty bucks a sandwich and tired of the so-called pampering (not), Jaine who has solved cases (see Killing Bridezilla) investigates before she dies of malnutrition.
The tenth Jaine Austen amateur sleuth is an engaging tongue in cheek (no food in the way) whodunit in which the clues to the homicide are spread like a buffer throughout the story line. The characters are entertainingly eccentric (that is to the armchair reader, but not to starving despondent Jaine). Although the inquisition lacks the subtly of previous cases with it’s in your face technique, fans will enjoy Pampered to Death.