Everyone knows that Rose Kaplan makes the best matzoh ball soup around—she’s a regular matzoh ball maven—so it’s no surprise at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors when, once again, Mrs. K wins the honor of preparing the beloved dish for the Home’s seder on the first night of Passover.
But when Bertha Finkelstein is discovered facedown in her bowl of soup, her death puts a bit of a pall on the rest of the seder. And things go really meshugge when it comes out that Bertha choked on a diamond earring earlier stolen from resident Daisy Goldfarb. Suddenly Mrs. K is the prime suspect in the police investigation of both theft and murder. Oy vey—it’s a recipe for disaster, unless Rose and her dear friend Ida can summon up the chutzpah to face down the police and solve the mystery themselves.
What a hoot! Rose and Ida are like the two Jewish aunts that I never had. There are a lot of Yiddish-isms, but with a title that includes "Matzoh Ball of Death", you kind of have to expect that.
I love that Mr. Reutlinger's book is a cozy mystery, and not like many of the others that I've read. (I love them too.) The only thing I think that could make it more different would be to have a male main character. It's great that "Mrs. Kaplan" features senior citizens and has a strong faith element.
If this were made into a play (I adore live theatre), I'd have a hard time figuring out whether or not I'd audition for Rose or Ida. Ida is the narrator and her snarky sense of humor is like mine.
This is a light, quick and very enjoyable read. The action is fast-paced, and can be enjoyed by all ages. I don't know if there are plans for future installments of the Rose and Ida partnership, but I would be interested in reading them!
Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novel Made in China and a professor of law emeritus at Seattle University. Born in San Francisco, Mark graduated from UC Berkeley and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.
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(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the author and publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)