Pampered to Death by Laura Levine is the 10th book in the “Jaine Austen” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2011

Jaine Austen is looking forward to an indulgent spa getaway—until she learns it’s more about deprivation than relaxation. Between miniscule meals and a deadly brush with fame, surviving this vacation will be no piece of cake.

When Jaine’s friend Lance surprises her with a trip to The Haven, an uber-luxe health spa on the California coast, she and her feline pal Prozac are eager to hit the road and bask in a week of pampering and pedicures. But upon their arrival, she discovers that this oasis in the hills is merely a fat farm in disguise, complete with celery-juice cocktails, humiliating weigh-ins, and a zero-tolerance position on carbs. And as she gets to know her fellow inmates, she realizes 300-calorie dinners aren’t the craziest thing she’ll be dealing with.

Among her bulge-battling companions is Mallory Francis, a B-list movie star with a knack for making frenemies with everyone she meets. When she’s found strangled during a seaweed wrap gone awry, Jaine is hard-pressed to think of anyone who couldn’t have done it. Perhaps it was Kendra, Mallory’s bitter sister-slash-personal assistant. Or maybe Clint, a macho former co-star whose dirtiest secret is in danger of being undressed in the drama queen’s upcoming memoir. Or was it The Havens’ pretty young masseuse, driven to commit a crime of passion when Mallory seduced her aerobics instructor husband Sven?

With the suspects mounting faster than her hunger pangs, Jaine doesn’t know who to believe. And when her search for truth, justice, and contraband calories leads her straight to the cold-blooded killer, it seems murder may be on the menu once again.

I love this series. Jaine is such a hoot as she fantasized about being pampered and eating fat-laden meals at the spa Lance gifted her when the reality is that Lance sent her to a fat-farm eating 900 calories per day. Her main goal become finding food but when one of the guest is murdered, Jaine who has appointed herself a part-time semi-professional P.I. starts investigating and the antics that she gets into is so hilarious. You really can’t help but laugh at the internal dialogue that she has with her feline room-mate is such a joy. The bonus is of course the email transmissions that she gets from her parents. This book is too darn funny.

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