“Exemplary . . . a thoroughly enjoyable cozy with just the right balance of crime, humor, and holiday spirit” by the author of Death of a Bachelorette (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Freelance writer Jaine Austen is feeling festive about spending Christmas house-sitting at a posh Bel Air mansion, accompanied by her friend Lance and her cat, Prozac. But when a grumpy neighbor gets himself iced, she’ll have to find the culprit or she may spend the New Year in jail . . .
Scotty Parker is a former child star who once played Tiny Tim, but now he’s grown up into the role of neighborhood Scrooge. He cuts the wires on his neighbors’ Christmas lights and tells local kids that Santa had a stroke. And his miserly, bah-humbug attitude lasts year-round—a fact known all too well by his current wife, his ex-wife, his maid, and many more.
Scotty thinks he can stage a comeback with the screenplay he’s working on (The Return of Tiny Tim: Vengeance Is Mine!), and Jaine’s been reluctantly helping him edit it. So when Scotty is bludgeoned with a frozen chocolate yule log and the police start making a list of suspects and checking it twice, Jaine’s name is unfortunately included. True, she’s been under some stress, with Lance trying to set her up on dates and her fickle feline taking a sudden liking to someone else—but she’s not guilty of murder. Now she just has to prove it . . .
Praise for the Jaine Austen mysteries
“So outrageously funny.” —Joanne Fluke, New York Times bestselling author
“Jaine can really dish it out.” —The New York Times Book Review
At the start of Levine's exemplary 16th Jaine Austen mystery (after 2017's Death of a Bachelorette), Jaine, the freelance writer with a big appetite, agrees to house-sit a Bel Air mansion with her shoe salesman friend, Lance, during the Christmas season. When her cat, Prozac, manages to escape to the house next door, Jaine meets Scotty Parker, a former child actor who has grown into an unlikable cheapskate with a knack for blackmailing. On Christmas Day, Scotty is found bludgeoned with a frozen chocolate yule log, and Jaine is a suspect. Determined to prove her innocence, she does some sleuthing on her own. The long list of suspects, including the victim's money-hungry ex-wife and a neighbor with extreme anger management issues, will keep readers guessing as Jaine attempts to identify the killer. Meanwhile, Lance creates an online dating profile for Jaine, which results in several laugh-out-loud incidents and nicely fleshes out Jaine's character. This is a thoroughly enjoyable cozy with just the right balance of crime, humor, and holiday spirit.