My review of cozy mystery Oy Vey, Maria! by Mark Reutlinger
Rose Kaplan and her sidekick Ida are at it again. It’s the holiday of Purim, and almost everyone at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors is in costume for the Purim play. All except one, who will instead have to be fitted for a shroud. Once again, “Mrs. K” and Ida are called upon to solve the puzzle of a mysterious death at the Home. Described by Chanticleer Book Reviews as “at times more Lucy and Ethel than Holmes and Watson, with a soupcon of Miss Jane Marple,” these geriatric amateur sleuths will keep you laughing, guessing, and maybe even learning a bissel Yiddish!
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Excerpt from Oy Vey, Maria!
I was the first to reach the car, which was making a low rumbling sound, I imagined something like a very large lion or tiger makes when getting ready to leap on an unsuspecting gazelle. I gingerly turned the handle of the rear door and pulled. Nothing happened. I pulled harder. Nothing happened. Finally Mrs. K grasped the handle with me and we both pulled. Even a growling tiger was no match for the combined weight of two determined ladies. The door swung open and it was all Mrs. K and I could do to keep from ending up head over tuchis in an undignified heap on the ground.
When we had finally climbed into the back seat, the car took off with a jerk and a roar.
That poor gazelle didn’t have a chance!
The first thing we noticed when the car was moving was that we could not see anyone driving it. Looking over the high back of the front seat, we saw little Sophie peering over the top of the big steering wheel, the seat being pulled as far forward as possible so she could reach the pedals.
“Sophie,” Mrs. K said, loud enough to be heard over the engine roar, “are you sure you can drive this … this vehicle?”
Sophie looked back, meaning she was not looking where the car was going, and said with a smile, “Oh, yes, Rose. Isn’t it fun?”
If you define fun as having a heart attack, I suppose the answer was “yes.”
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My Review of Oy Vey, Maria!
This was so much fun. I got a very strong Holmes and Watson vibe, especially with the Watson being the narrator while the Holmes was quietly brilliant. Except Holmes and Watson didn’t make this many jokes or be so entertaining in two languages. The Yiddish added a lot to this.
I love the older women solving a mystery. This is a great book for representation. My grandmother never really liked assisted living, so I didn’t get this lively feel when I’d go visit her, but this book reminded me that there are people who thrive in that environment and love the freedom it offers. Can’t say enough good things there.
The actual mystery itself seemed to start late and then get wrapped up kind of quickly. The killer also surprised me in a curious way. I don’t want to spoil, but something just didn’t feel built enough in the right direction for the ending. All in all, though, I recommend this for some great laughs and a good time.
About Mark Reutlinger
Mark Reutlinger, professor of law emeritus at Seattle University, is the author of the “Mrs. Kaplan” cozy mystery series (of which Oy Vey, Maria! is the third installment) and the caper mystery Murder with Strings Attached, as well as the political thrillers Made in China and Sister-in-Law: Violation, Seduction, and the President of the United States. Mark and his wife, Analee, live in University Place, Washington.
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Mark Reutlinger will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.