Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Oy Vey, Maria! (Mrs. Kaplan Mysteries, #3)

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Oy Vey, Maria! is the third cozy mystery by Mark Reutlinger featuring octogenarian sleuth Mrs. Kaplan and her own Dr. Watson, Ida Berkowitz. Released 27th Oct 2021, it's 256 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

The Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is once again the site of a murder. This time a companion/carer for one of the residents has been shot in the kitchen of the home during a Purim play and refreshments evening. Although the home's own manager is standing over the murder victim with the murder weapon clutched in his hand, he insists that he's innocent of the crime and only picked up the gun in a panic. Mrs. Kaplan and her friend Ida are on the scene and are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is warm and compassionate humor throughout, the language is squeaky clean, and there's very (very) little nudity involved. 

I'm not sure at all about the author's background, but he managed a pitch perfect tone and vernacular for the most part with the characters. It would have been -very- easy for an author to fall on the wrong side of caricature and/or respectfulness. The humor is warm and the tone is cozy. Throughout most of the book I could literally *hear* my grandfather and aunties' voices. For readers who are unfamiliar with Jewish and Yiddish slang, there's quite a lot of both sprinkled throughout. The author is diligent about explaining potentially unfamiliar language in context or quickly translating in the text.

The scene descriptions verge on slapstick sometimes but even those bring a nostalgia more reminiscent of an episode of "I Love Lucy" or "The Golden Girls". I really loved most everything about the book. It was a comfort read - but it did leave me with a serious craving for my grandmother's chicken matzo soup. 

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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