Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death Review
Where to begin? The premise of the book was interesting- possible murder in an old folk's home; not something you hear of every day. And who doesn't love a good yenta now and again? I mean, in Fiddler on the Roof, yenta is an annoyingly endearing character. This has promise, right? Of course right!
However, the execution was lacking. The two main characters spoke like the gamblers in the original Guys and Dolls movie with Brando and Sinatra. Stilted speech with awkward, overly-proper grammar. Yes these are older Jewish women, and some of them were born outside the US, but the ones we get to know have been in the States for at least 50 years. Their lack of knowledge of the simplest things of modern technology was unbelievable to me. If they had been living in a little village in Israel, and then come to the US recently I could understand. But to have lived here 50 years or more...far-fetched.
And I'm sorry to say the mystery plodded along. I found myself skimming just to get through the rest of the book. There were times when the phraseology of the characters made me chuckle, but most of the time I was trying to avoid reading the name of the retirement home over and over.
I felt like some characters were just thrown in to flesh out the book a bit, but really added nothing to the story. The whole involvement of Florence seemed to be thrown in for no apparent reason. The law officials were inept and didn't take into account important information that could have solved the mystery in much less time.
I did find the usage of all the Yiddish phrases cumbersome. This is definitely a book written for someone who is interested in all things Jewish, or has that as a cultural background. I am all for ethnic characters, but the story has to be able to support the effort of wading through unfamiliar words. Unfortunately in this book it was not.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.