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This Pen for Hire (A Jaine Austen Mystery #1)
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This Pen for Hire

(A Jaine Austen Mystery #1)

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,322 ratings  ·  385 reviews
In the first novel in her wickedly witty new mystery series, Laura Levine introduces Jaine Austen, a hip, jack-of-all trades writer who spends her days penning smarmy personal ads and daring declarations of passion--and her nights looking for Mr. Right in Hollywood's swinging singles scene.
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Kensington
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Jennie
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I weren't sitting here writing a review of this book, I probably wouldn't even remember I read it this time next year. This piece of fluff is a book I found in the kitchen at my office and when I read Laura Levine's biography notes, I was immediately curious. Ms. Levine's t.v. credits including writing for The Bob Newhart Show, Three's Company and Laverne and Shirley, to name a few. Wondering how a sitcom writer would fare as a mystery novelist, I read this book over the course of four lunch ...more
Philip
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading on the train is not usually a problem, except when you are chuckling out loud and people are wondering what's wrong with you. Laura Levine's book is a most amusing mystery filled with lots of funny one-liners. The mystery is good and the book just lets you delve into Jaine's world. It is worth the read.
Jacob Proffitt
I was sad to find myself unable to enjoy this. As protagonists go, I was kind of looking forward to a gun for hire writer type who stumbled into mystery situations. Sadly, I just wasn't engaged by this story.

Most of that is on Jane (the protagonist). She's kind of prickly, more obsequious than nice, and kind of an idiot. She came off as a caricature of her premise and that just didn't do it for me.

It didn't help that Levine took the stereotype as an easy out every chance she got (well, in the fi
...more
Marguerite Kaye
I really enjoyed this. It was fun, fast and witty. I had never heard of Jaine Austen, the PI/writer in it, until I saw a review of a later book on SuperWendy's blog, and I'm really pleased to have discovered a whole new series. I read this in two gulps. It doesn't matter that I guessed whodunit, that wasn't the point. Fave line - 'He claimed he was writing the great America novel, it turned out to be the great American paragraph.' So pleased to have found Jaine, and I know it won't be long befor ...more
Denise Rodgers
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading this book for the second time---the advantage of having all my books on my Nook! The voice of the main character is engaging and self-deprecating, but not to the point of being annoying. This is the book where we meet Jaine Austin, freelance writer-for-hire. She becomes involved in a murder mystery when one of her particularly pathetic clients is accused of murder. He hired Jaine to write a letter to get him a date---and said date is found bludgeoned to death with her thig ...more
Veronica
A screwball, humorous, and light cozy mystery.
Tina
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


First time reader of this author. I enjoyed it. Prozac reminds me so much of my cat. I'm going to read the other books!
Trina (aNovelReader)
A murder happens at Melrose Place and Rhoda from the Mary Tyler Moore show solves the case. Definitely written by a sitcom writer but it was very entertaining. A few odd/poor word descriptions of the female body that didn't fit in at all turning this mystery from PG to PG-13 thus the 3-star rating.
Nairabell
Jaine Austen (no relation) is a freelance writer who spends most of her time writing promotional mailers and leaflets for various companies. When geeky Howard Murdoch approaches her to write a love letter, and then admits he's never even spoken to the object of his affections, Jaine relucantantly agrees to help. To Jaine's surprise her letter works and wins Howard a date with the gorgeous aerobics instructor Stacy Lawrence. But the next thing she knows Stacy is found bludgeoned to death with a T ...more
Brie
Cute, fluffy and funny. Somewhat on par with Stephanie Plum, but so far without the romance or even fictional eye-candy to ogle. Hopefully within the next couple of books or I'll probably push these all to the backburner.
Jonathan
A very good book, but I lost interest. I literally set this book down when I was half way through and read another books, but I picked it back up this morning and I enjoyed the ending. So, because I lost interest, I'm only giving this 3 stars.
FangirlNation
Jaine Austen makes a living ghost-writing anything from company brochures and personal ads to radio jingles and love letters in This Pen for Hire by Laura Levine. One day she gets a client, Howard Murdoch, who begs her to write a love letter for him to Stacy Lawrence, a girl he has worshipped from afar but always been too afraid to approach . Will Jaine write a letter in which she gets him a date with the lovely Stacy? Reluctantly, Jaine agrees, and Howard has what is probably the first date in ...more
Luffy
From the very start to the last sentence, This Pen For Hire kept me on my toes. It was flawless overall. I cannot praise this book highly enough. I'm usually very careful with my rating system and all the books that get a perfect score need to go that extra mile to get 5 stars. The pacing was wonderful in This Pen For Hire. There was no surplus padding, only lean muscle through and through. I could understand most of the jokes. The latter dried up after halfway through but by then things were g ...more
Maureen DeLuca
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as 'cozies' go- this was a good read- when I'm tired of the psycho, insane, stalker, killer books and need a break... will most definitely pick up the second book in this series!
Patty
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Pen For Hire, was laugh out loud funny.I can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series.
Susan
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that started it all! I read book #12 of this series first by accident, picking it up at the library without realizing that it was part of a series. Then I went back and tried to find the others, as much in order as I could, to catch up. While the Jaine Austen mystery books can certainly be read in any order, it was interesting to see the "roots" of the characters by finally reading the very first book.

Laura Levine's heroine, Jaine Austen (not relation!) is a writer who keeps stumbling i
...more
Star
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a funny mystery! I was laughing out loud several times. I had fun reading the crazy adventure that makes up Jaine Austen's life. I love when people tell her that they have read her books. Pick this up if you want a good, belly laugh.
C.
Only made it to page 98. Unlikeable characters, and not engaging.
Connie N.
#1 in the Jaine Austen Mystery series

This was totally fun! I've been putting it off, but I shouldn't have because it was much different from what I had expected, lighter and more entertaining. Jaine is a professional writer, creating brochures, resumes, letters, etc. for small business and individuals (that actually sounds like fun). But she gets involved in a murder investigation because one of her clients is accused of killing a woman he had wanted to date. When the police seem to be zeroing i
...more
Shiela
Cozy set in LA
#1 in the Jaine Austen series

Free lance writer Jaine Austen makes a living penning resumes, personal ads, brochures and love letters for other people. Imagine her surprise when her latest client, geeky and bashful Howard Murdoch becomes the police’s only suspect when his love interest is found bludgeoned to death with a Thighmaster.

I really enjoyed this light, fluffy but completely hilarious cozy. The situations Jaine found herself in made me laugh out loud on several occasions w
...more
Leigh
I love a mystery and if there is humour in it even better. With the author Laura Levine's past history of writing sitcoms I had high hopes that this would be a funny book and I was right. This Pen for Hire is a fun, easy read. It is short and doesn't dwell on too many details. I like mysteries that are short mainly because I don't have to read as long to find out who the killer is. Jaine is a fun and relatable character, like everyone else out there terribly insecure about her looks and I couldn ...more
Jenni
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a cute and cozy mystery.

One thing that drew me into this book wasn't the plot (although the plot was pretty good) was the fact that the character, Jaine Austen is life-like.

This isn't a mystery where the main character is oh-so-awesome at everything and knows everything. She admits it that she has a good number of suspects for the murder, that she happens to be some-what connected to.

Some of the jokes are cheesy and over-used, but again, that's lifelike. If your name is Jaine Aust
...more
Senator
A fun and witty novel that is as entertaining as it is quick to read. Set in trendy, plastic LA Levine dances the line between outrageous and down to earth magnificently. Readers will instantly fall in love with Jaine's best friend and her cat, Prozac. Perfect for an afternoon pleasure lounging on the beach or just snuggled on the couch on a rainy day. Either way, This Pen for Hire blends mystery and chick-lit with ease for our enjoyment.

Austen fans, beware. The only thing linking the two is the
...more
Sheila
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 STARS
Toni ~married to a hunk~
I borrowed this from Sheryl and loved it. It was clever and cute.
LadyTechie
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, fun read. Just what I needed to break up all of the darker reads in which I usually am engrossed.
*b*l*u*e*m*o*o*n*
3.5
I really enjoyed this book! it was hilarious and nicely written. The mystery was mediocre, but still interesting. Hated the outcome but I still want to continue on with the series!
Cathy Daniel
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in one evening. Simply HILARIOUS! I laughed until I cried! I can't wait to inhale...I mean read more of this series :)
Ed
#1 in the Jaine Austin series. Finalist 2003 Lefty Award. Humor is the key here, it keeps the story moving along at a good clip. The self-deprecating humor, though, wears thin - there are too many asides to the reader about her ample waist and tush and her inability to turn down offered food. I found author Levine (The Danger of Candy Canes - 2007) in a trio of novellas and although I wasn't overly impressed, I thought I'd give her award nominated debut novel a shot. My verdict is that the novel ...more
Katherine
Before I begin reviewing this I do want to say that I have just read this now in 2018 and it was written in 2002 so many things in this book have not aged well. I am old enough to clearly remember 2002 so I understood all the dated references but for newer, younger readers I am not sure they would get much of the pop culture referenced.

There are some good moments in this - a few one liners and the twist - which was a little surprising but not really shocking - however, aside from the main chara
...more
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A Million More Pages: Cozy BR - This Pen For Hire (Jaine Austen Mystery#1) OCT 23 8 16 Oct 27, 2015 02:09PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: This Pen for Hire 1 1 Aug 10, 2013 07:55PM  
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830 followers
Grew up in Brooklyn, New York, back when mastodons (and Edsels) still roamed the earth.

Education: Barnard College

First job: Reporter/photographer at a newspaper so small, we had our photos developed in the local camera shop.

Advertising claim to fame: I created Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills.

TV gets invented, and I get a job as a sitcom writer, turning out scripts for show
...more

Other books in the series

A Jaine Austen Mystery (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Last Writes (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #2)
  • Killer Blonde (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #3)
  • Shoes To Die For (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #4)
  • The PMS Murder (A Jaine Austen Mystery #5)
  • Death by Pantyhose (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #6)
  • Killing Bridezilla (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #7)
  • Killer Cruise (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #8)
  • Death of a Trophy Wife (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #9)
  • Pampered to Death (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #10)
  • Death of a Neighborhood Witch (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #11)
“A famous philosopher (either Aristotle or Judith Krantz, I forget who) once said about being a woman in Los Angeles: If you're blonde and beautiful, you're interchangeable. If you're not, you're invisible.” 5 likes
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