Combining the classic charms of Agatha Christie with the delightful humor of M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels, Mark Reutlinger’s Mrs. Kaplan mystery series returns as a notorious crank meets an untimely fate.
Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and soul searching. But at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors, Vera Gold misses this opportunity to atone for her many sins when she up and dies. Indeed, Vera was such a pain in the tuchis to all those around her that when her sister claims Vera was deliberately poisoned, the tough question isn’t who would want to kill her—but who wouldn’t?
Having already solved one murder with her dear friend Ida, Rose Kaplan has a sleuthing reputation that precedes her. It’s only natural that Vera’s sister turns to Mrs. K for help. So do the police, but when her conclusions conflict with theirs, they tell her to butt out! This case has more twists than a loaf of challah. And with a homicidal scoundrel on the loose, Mrs. K has to act fast—or she might be the guest of honor at the Home’s next memorial service.
I read this hearing voices similar to Dr. Ruth and Judge Judy in my head.
Sort of a New York Jewish accent, wisdom mixed with humor. Normally, the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors was a routine place for elderly folks to live. There was a consistent pattern and rhythm to each day. Seeing as the population consists of elderly people with medical problems and no place else to live, the occasional death was expected. As in any setting where people coexist, now and then there will be conflict and drama. Sometimes a death came about by means of unnatural cause. Mrs. K. seemed to find herself in the middle of those odd deaths. Not long ago she even found herself a suspect in a murder investigation.
The story is narrated by Ida, best friend of Rose Kaplan, the aforementioned Mrs. K. Now, gossip and the spreading thereof, is seriously frowned upon by the Jewish religion. Ida does her best to stick to facts but as she tells us, it gets complicated.
Vera Gold was not well liked within the community. She often stuck her nose in where it didn't belong and she seemed to enjoy getting others in trouble. When she became ill, it would not have been strange if people stayed away, yet her sister and her son made sure to take extra care of Vera. As it seemed she was recovering, suddenly she died. The senior home and doctor all took it in stride. As with Jewish custom, burial was swift.
It wasn't until someone close to Vera insisted her death had been helped along, and requested Mrs. I'd help, that there were any doubts. Out of her past unfortunate dealings with the police, Mrs. K. made some valuable contacts. Once they were convinced the death was not from natural cause, they set their eyes on a suspect whom Mrs. K could not accept. She could not rest without her own full investigation.
I think my favorite part of the book was when the ladies discovered a new restaurant. Between the drama and investigation, the book is full of informational passages.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
About This Author
Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novels Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death and Made in China. A professor of law emeritus at Seattle University, Reutlinger was born in San Francisco, graduated from UC Berkeley, and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.