Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death
By Mark Reutlinger
Author’s Website: http://www.markreutlinger.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
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.
A delightful cozy mystery. I enjoyed the Yiddish play on words. Bagels to blintzes, etc. Some of the metaphors were so mixed up…to the point of being utterly cute…
”Do not stir up sleeping dogs until the horse is out of the barn, I always say.”
However, I did find the writing style a tad simplistic and that for me detracted from the read. At times the ramblings of the narrator (Ida) were exhausting – I found myself thinking….on with the story already. And then she would redeem herself by saying something funny.
I feel this book is for a more mature, jewish audience. While was a lot of Yiddish words and sayings referenced throughout the book (which were for the most part defined), it was a bit overwhelming for this reader at times…. as well as funny. There are references to “that Columbo person”. Now I remember the show Columbo, but I imagine this reference will mean nothing to a younger reader…so let me enlighten you…Columbo is an American detective mystery television series from the 1960’s and 1970’s (with new episodes in the 1990’s). Columbo is a friendly, verbose, disheveled police detective (of Italian descent) who is consistently underestimated by his suspects, Despite his plain appearance and apparent absentmindedness, he shrewdly solves all of his cases and secures all evidence needed for a conviction.
I got the feeling that our beloved Mrs. Kaplan was written as a mixture of Columbo and her favourite detective, Sherlock Holmes. And I must say, she does pull it off. And that in my mind is what made the book. I found her best friend and assistant in solving the mystery – Ida – a cute little old lady. Ida certainly provided the chuckle factor in her narration of the story. And the assistance the two women received from the burglar was paramount to my enjoyment of the story, providing entertainment and a twist I was not expecting.
The writing was simple and easy to follow for the most part, the plot fun and funny, characters engaging…an easy cozy read.