Saturday, November 15, 2014

ARC Review: Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger

Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death
Author: Mark Reutlinger
Publication: Alibi (November 18, 2014)

Description: Move over, Miss Marple—Mark Reutlinger’s charming cozy debut introduces readers to the unforgettable amateur sleuth Rose Kaplan and her loyal sidekick, Ida.

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.

My Thoughts: Welcome to the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors! Residents Rose Kaplan and Ida Berkowitz have a mystery to solve when Bertha Finkelstein dies while eating Rose's matzoh ball soup. To clear her name, Rose has to find out what happened to Berth. How did Daisy Goldfarb's diamond earring get into Bertha's throat?

Luckily, Rose is a devoted fan of Sherlock Holmes and Ida is there to be her Jewish Dr. Watson. Ida is the narrator of the story which is filled with Yiddish expressions–each translated on first apprearance–and the sentence structure of someone who learned English as a second language.

This was an excellent and funny cozy mystery. Ida's desire to help her friend mixed with her reluctance to do anything dangerous added to the fun. Ida's colorful asides were also amusing. And wasn't it lucky that Ida's niece Sara just happened to be friends with a cat burglar?

Along the way, the two intrepid detectives also managed to save one of the resident's daughters from a real fershtinkiner who was courting her. With the help of one of the resident's sons who is a police officer, Rose gets the unsuitable suitor's criminal record and uses it to convince his mother to cut off his support. The mother, a former cleaner at the home, had retired after winning a substantial amount in the lottery.

This was a fun story for fans of cozy mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
It's an old joke that every Jewish holiday has the same theme: "They tried to kill us, they failed, now let's eat." Okay, so maybe on Yom Kippur we skip the last part and we fast, but we make up for it on Pesach, a holiday were eating is not only allowed but required.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This sounds fun and different from my normal cozy! I enjoyed the excerpts you posted yesterday so I'll definitely have to check this out!


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