Wordsmith Jaine Austen's ship has finally come in. Her new teaching gig on a fancy cruise line nabs her a free vacation--and access to a 24-hour buffet! But sooner than you can say "bon voyage," Jaine's all-expenses-paid trip to the Mexican Riviera seems destined to be a wreck. . .
Things are already off to a rocky start when Jaine discovers a stowaway amidst her luggage--her persnickety cat Prozac. Jaine's sinking sensation grows stronger at dinner, where she meets chatty Emily Pritchard, a wealthy seventy-year-old who's traveling with her two nephews. Jaine can't help noticing the tension among them, especially when the cruise's charming--and sleazy--British dancer, Graham, whisks Emily out onto the dance floor.
Soon Emily is accepting Graham's invitations to every social event on the ship. Two nights later the bubbly couple announces their engagement, but the news is quickly overshadowed the next morning by the discovery of Graham's body with an ice pick protruding from his chest. . .
Between hiding a furry fugitive, flirting with Emily's nephew Robbie, and baiting the hook for a clever murderer, Jaine is about to dive into her most dangerous case yet. . .
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In Levine's highly amusing if rather breathless eighth Jaine Austen mystery (after 2008's Killing Bridezilla), freelance writer Jaine gets a gig conducting a writing course on a seven-day cruise from L.A. to Mexico. The trouble begins when Jaine realizes her sneaky cat, Prozac, has stowed away in her luggage. Jaine bargains with Samoa, her eccentric steward, to keep Prozac's presence a secret by promising to read and edit Do Not Distub (sic), his 900-page thriller about a swashbuckling steward. Levine's lively wit keeps the familiar Love Boat–esque shenanigans afloat as Emily Pritchard, an elderly wealthy singleton, falls for Graham Palmer III, a botoxed gentleman escort and gold digger, who's engaged to Cookie Esposito, the ship's lounge singer. Emily's engagement to Graham throws her family in a tizzy, ditto the spurned Cookie, who's later suspected of the gigolo's ice-pick murder. In the delicious denouement, Samoa's bulky manuscript serves a useful nonliterary purpose. (May)
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