Rose Kaplan is back in Mark Reutlinger’s A Pain in the Tuchis. I had enjoyed reading Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death, mostly because it was so different. We are slightly more familiar with the inhabitants of the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors. And also with their different rituals and pecking order.
Yom Kippur is the day of atonement and this is the time when Vera Gold takes her last breath. Vera was a pain in the tuchis, so no one really misses her. Some people are crass enough to express their pleasure at seeing her gone. Then one day, Vera’s sister Fannie plants an idea in Rose Kaplan’s mind. She thinks Vera did not die naturally. She was helped along. Rose and Ida jump the hoops and eventually get the body exhumed. It is finally clear that Vera Gold did not indeed die a natural death.
Need I say what happens next? Our senior sleuths totter along to do their sleuthing and find the culprit. Rose, with her sharp mind, calls the shots, and Ida is the trusted foot soldier. We go through a veritable education in Jewish customs and phrases through the length of the book. At some points, the narrative can get too convoluted. So OK, it is supposed to be about how a senior person thinks or acts. But Ida can and does get long winded once too many times. It is a trial of sorts for the reader. Frankly, I am blessed with friends who are over seventy years old, and they certainly do not talk this way.
The author has woven in a piece about gay rights too, via a funny (supposedly) scene starring Ida and Rose. The investigation continues, but at most times, we are not privy to how Rose Kaplan’s brain works. We only travel through the meandering paths that Ida’s mind takes.
A pain in the Tuchis is suitably peppered with red herrings and humorous side stories. Rose might just have a beau she likes. Ida definitely has a beau she doesn’t.
Summing up, this book has a different setting, and it is a murder mystery after all. A good read for cozy mystery lovers, and those who want to take a stab at the senior sleuth genre.